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Physics (Theoretical)

  1. May 7, 2010 #1
    Hello,

    I was wondering, to gain admission to decent programs in Theoretical Physics (PhD), should you have done theoretical physics research in undergrad?

    The reason I am asking is because theoretical physics research has lots of prerequisites, and I might not be able to finish all those prereqs before I apply to grad school (as in, I won't be able to take String Theory/QFT until my senior year, or at max, my junior spring).

    For the moment, I am involved in experimental physics research, and although I like it, I'm not sure if top graduate theoretical physics program will give consideration (my ultimate goal is theory though).

    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 8, 2010 #2
    No, grad schools know that it is difficult to find any opportunities to do research in theoretical physics as an undergrad. That being said, depending on the field, there aren't as many pre-requisites as you think. I know several undergraduates working in computational astrophysics at my school who started during sophomore year. Something like that mostly just requires programming ability. Analytical stuff might require more, possibly a lot more, depending on the field. But, in general, most undergrads I know who want to/went to grad school for theory ended up finding something computational to do as an undergraduate. The only way you can find out is by asking around. However, if you're not interested in computational stuff, then you should still ask professors doing analytical stuff. You never know what you might find - I'm a lucky undergrad that has been working in mathematical physics for a semester now just because I felt that it didn't hurt to ask and I didn't want to do computational stuff.
     
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