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Physics Subject Test

  1. Oct 27, 2007 #1
    Currently I am preparing to take the GRE and I have seen the states for the average physics student score on the quantitative, and I believe I can reach it. I also took a look at the Subject test, the score were pretty high.

    My question is what is the minimum score you need to get in order to get into a decent masters program. I am not shooting for an MIT, Michigan, or CalTech, but a school in the mid range. I only have a GPA 2.5 in my physics classes and 2.6 in my math classes so I am fairly realistic of what my options are but I am dedicated and determined to learn physics. Fields of interest are applied , Solid State, or High Energy (atomic, plasma) physics.

    What score do I need with my GPA?
    Any advice on study strategys and prep work in general?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 27, 2007 #2
    I don't think a 2.5 is necessarily a bad gpa depending on what school you go to. At some schools an A in some math courses happens once in five years. I also know someone, one of my teachers, who got a chemistry degree at Cornell. He said that his ugpa was somewhere around 2.5 when he graduated (maybe lower than that). He got a job working in a lab at cornell and went to school part-time (took one class a semester) all the way up to Ph.D. and graduated with a 4.0. The difference was that he only had to handle one class. Thats a pretty good option because it was all paid for. I say this because getting support for your first year will be hard.

    I would imagine that, and I am pretty much guessing, that 90% and up would make a strong case to many great schools that they should admit you with support. Also, consider apply to schools that not many people talk about such as in missouri (columbia). I know they are strong in math/physics and geometry. Finally, you could go to a school close to you via an extension program for a year. take two courses per semester do really good work (top student in class). then ask your teachers for help in getting into the program at that school. You could work part time to pay for that. Also since you haven't graduated yet try to do well this semester. An upperward spike is always better than the inverse.
  4. Oct 28, 2007 #3
    I am currently finishing up a Major in Molecular Biology and Minoring in Physics for University of Washington (seattlle). I plan on going to a masters in Physics program similar to U.Memphis (Tennessee).

    thanks for the input.
  5. Oct 28, 2007 #4
    What will be most difficult for you is to convince a graduate school that you would be able to handle graduate level physics courses. You say you have a minor in physics, with a 2.5GPA in it, and also a low math GPA. Did you take a lot of physics courses or only the fundamentals plus a few others? Your preparation simply might not be good enough to start out at the level that is expected for incoming physics graduate students.

    I think to get attention you would need to score pretty high on the physics GRE, I would say at least 80th percentile. It would also be to your benefit to have a personal statement including a good explanation of why you want to do physics (not even biophysics) after coming from a molecular biology background.

    One thing that might happen is that you would get an offer of admission, but no assistantship. You would essentially be given the chance to prove yourself to the department, but on your own dime.
  6. Oct 28, 2007 #5
    I have taken all the fundamentals and plus four more upper division physics classes. (Modern, Thermo, 2 math phyics courses) I also plan on taking EM II, Relativity, and Quantum mechanics before I graduate. The minor is more rigerous than it sounds, I already have finished my math requirements. I am prepared to pay for school, that is why I want to go through the masters program first. Hopefully I will do well and then possibly apply to the PH.D program.
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