Physics undergrad for international student

  • Thread starter zaphod17
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  • #1
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Can you guys suggest me some universities/colleges (preferably in the US) that have great physics undergrad programs.
By great I mean places where there is a lot of faculty-student interaction, small class size, rigorous curriculum and some undergrad research opportunities.
In short, places where I’ll be able to learn much more than what I can just learn just by reading the standard books available on the subject.
I don't really care about the rankings of the colleges which are available on the web.

I asked my question here because there are many experienced physicists or people who have pursued physics with great interest at some point in their life here on the forum.

The main hindrance for me is that I’m an international student whose annual family income is about $15-16k. So I will need substantial (almost full) financial aid.

Thanks
Zaphod


P.S. – I am looking forward to a career in physics with HEP as my main interest. I have learned some multivariable, vector calculus and plan to study quantum mechanics in the coming months on my own.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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ok i think should mention some schools first:

how are schools like amherst, williams, reed, colgate, MIT, caltech, columbia and U chicago with respect to the criteria that i've mentioned.

also please mention if there are schools outside the US which are great (faculty-student interaction, small class size, rigorous curriculum and some undergrad research opportunities) for physics and also give aid to intls.
 
  • #3
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I'm not American but U of Chicago, Caltech, Columbia and MIT are amongst the best schools in the country and tuition I believe is approximately $40,000 for international students. So yes, you will need full scholarships and these universities don't regularly give out financial aid, this is what I've observed. But yes, these schools are academically excellent but many people say that what you learn doesn't differ extremely from top tier schools to public universities. I'd suggest that you broaden your choices, look at universities in your own country or possibly look at Canada, we have amazing universities especially for physics. I'd reckon that the tuition is just as much for international students though.
 
  • #4
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But the fees for public universities is almost same as that of the one's that i've mentioned.
And yes, I'm ready to broaden my choices.

I did look at some univs in canada.
out of the major ones only waterloo provides scholarship/aid to intl students.
finances are really a big problem for me right now....i can pay atmost $4000 a year

BTW how are the univs in europe?
 
  • #5
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I'd suggest that you broaden your choices, look at universities in your own country or possibly look at Canada, we have amazing universities especially for physics. I'd reckon that the tuition is just as much for international students though.
Actually, it is a bit less, roughly $15,000 to $25,000 per year, depending on the university.
I did look at some univs in canada.
out of the major ones only waterloo provides scholarship/aid to intl students.
finances are really a big problem for me right now....i can pay atmost $4000 a year
Well, from first hand experience I can tell you the University of Alberta is quite generous with providing scholarships to foreign students, so maybe you should look at that, as well. I think it also satisfies your "major one" criteria.
BTW how are the univs in europe?
Excellent, but from what I could gather, it's going to be much harder to secure a good scholarship there than, say, in the US or even Canada, and even then the scholarships are much lower. The majority of universities across Europe is namely funded by the state and don't give out scholarships on their own terms, apart from perhaps some in the UK. I think some of the latter ones do have special schemes for students coming from particular countries, so you could always research that a bit, as well.

Perhaps you could research around a bit and see if your country offers scholarship for study abroad via governmental funds or other means.
 
  • #6
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by "major one" do you mean:
""places where there is a lot of faculty-student interaction, small class size, rigorous curriculum and some undergrad research opportunities.""
or
""out of the major ones ""

because i don't really care about the second statement and the first one is a must.
And to the best of my knowledge there are no such scholarships or funds available in my country to study abroad.
 
  • #7
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by "major one" do you mean:
""places where there is a lot of faculty-student interaction, small class size, rigorous curriculum and some undergrad research opportunities.""
or
""out of the major ones ""

because i don't really care about the second statement and the first one is a must.
And to the best of my knowledge there are no such scholarships or funds available in my country to study abroad.
Well, I thought you meant the second one, so that's the one I was going for with that statement. As for the first one, I'm only a first year here, so I can't say that much about the first set of criteria you have. I'm taking five classes, three of them being pretty large, since a lot of first-year students, not only those going into Physics, take them, but say for the two honours maths courses, there is only about 40 people in the class, and the atmosphere is pretty relaxed and there's a lot more questions than there is in other classes. I presume class sizes are only going to get smaller from now on. Faculty-student interaction is good, thus far I've received prompt reply to all of my e-mails, and the professors don't seem to be bothered by questions after, during or prior to class, and are glad to help. Rigorous curriculum? I'd say it's as rigorous as at any other Canadian university, since from what I hear, undergrad programs are roughly the same everywhere. If there's one thing, though, there isn't as many options for courses as, say, at UBC or University of Toronto. And lastly, I obviously have no undergrad research experience yet, but just looking at the physics faculty websites, some do say that they accept undergrad applications for research, and I know a guy who's done research during summer, so there are definitely opportunities.
 
  • #8
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I'm not American but U of Chicago, Caltech, Columbia and MIT are amongst the best schools in the country and tuition I believe is approximately $40,000 for international students. So yes, you will need full scholarships and these universities don't regularly give out financial aid.
Baloney. (Sorry, but that's what it is)

90% of MIT undergraduates get financial aid of some sort. 62% of MIT undergraduates are awarded a need-based MIT scholarship that doesn’t have to be repaid, and the average award is $31,928.

This took approximately two minutes to find on MIT's web site.
 
  • #9
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I have a friend that went to study business in Indiana (don't know the name of the university), and from what I gathered what Vanadium is saying is indeed the case at most US universities, but the problem still remains it is very likely you'd have to pay your first year, as a lot of scholarships are given out after that. Perhaps this is not the case, but that is what I've been told, and maybe someone (best an international student) that's currently studying at a US university could give more assistance.
 
  • #10
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I'm an international student studying at a university in Chicago. I wanted to get a scholarship or financial aid, but they're not available to int. students at the university I attend. From the research I've made, most universities here will charge international students 30k-40k a year before financial aid or scholarships. To be honest, I don't know that much about financial aid, but I think that even after financial aid/scholarship you'll end up paying more than $4000 a year for tuition.

What are your reasons for studying in the states? I think I can give you some insight about making such a big step as someone who has recently done it.
 
  • #11
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I have to agree with eliya, I don't think international students can avail of federal or institutional financial aid. In fact (in my cousin's case), admission is offered only when the international student provides evidence that he/she has sufficient resources to pay the $30000-$40000 per annum tuition fees. It is even more difficult to get financial aid for Graduate courses (i.e. MS not PhD :smile:) and I doubt the F1 visa norms permit international students to get employed in any off-campus jobs. Perhaps, some private sources can offer financial aid (not sure of it though).
 
  • #12
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Oh yes, I forgot about this part.
When applying to a school in the states you have to show that you have enough funds to pay the tuition and all other expenses (living expenses, etc.) for at least one year. You will not be granted a visa if you don't have enough funds. I think you won't even get an I-20 if you don't have enough money.

I was wondering, do international students get their tuition waived when they do a PhD?
 

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