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Programs Physics PhD in USA with a Master's Degree?

  1. Jun 29, 2012 #1
    Normally students in America start a PhD degree after their undergrad, since there the so-called "Master level education" is glued together to the "Doctorate" (correct me if I'm wrong!).

    So what is the usual track for students from Europe who have done their Master degrees in Europe but would like to do a PhD in America? Do they apply to the usual programmes? If so, what do they do about the (two year) overlap?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 30, 2012 #2
    As far as I can tell, that is right. Foreigners with msc degrees may even have an edge against foreigners without msc's as far as admissions go.

    You'll probably still be required to take some courses, but on some grad school pages I've seen you can be exempted from taking compulsory courses if you can show you've taken them before with a decent enough grade. If there's a qual you'll still be required to take it though, and the pGRE is still required if the department requires it.
  4. Jun 30, 2012 #3
    If I recall correctly, certain schools allow one to attempt to pass the quals right off the bat. If your preparation is good enough to let you do that, then why not try look into such options?

    Also, ask around at your institute (PITP, yeah?) and see what people who went on for PhDs did.
  5. Jun 30, 2012 #4
    I got a Diplom (~Master equivalent) in Germany and went on to the US to get a PhD.

    There was some paperwork to get credits for courses taken in Germany (which of course were not 100% equivalent), and I had to take maybe 3 classes to complete the compulsory coursework. For 2 out of 3 I got a deal that I could take a more advanced class instead. If I complete that successfully, then I have shown that I know the (required) basic stuff. Completing the PhD took almost exactly 3 years from the time I arrived in the US.

    I had direct contact via e-mail with my future PhD adviser before leaving Germany. Getting things sorted out, incl. visa etc. took something like 4 months.

    I had to take the qual. The qual took about a 2 months of serious preparation working through copies of old exams. I squeezed through the classical part with a good portion of luck but had no trouble with the modern part.

    My advice: If you have done practical work for your masters, try to make contact with profs at conferences and workshops. Ask them directly if they need grad students.
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