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Physics undergrad question

  1. Feb 13, 2013 #1
    What do you think about attending physics undergrad program at a school that does not have a grad school program? I am considering a school like this and I see two main things that distinguish it from colleges with grad schools. I think it would be easier for me to get research because there would be no grad students to compete with me, but there would also be no chance for me to take graduate-level classes during my undergrad years. Do you think that this would adversely affect my grad school applications? Thanks in advance for any responses.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 13, 2013 #2
    My thought was almost the opposite. It may be hard for you to get meaningful research. Schools with no graduate students often have less active and less publishing researchers. They also have more faculty that are just teachers who dont even pretend to do research. The way most university research is done is with actively publishing professors and their team of grads and undergrads. There are probably exceptions, especially in theory and computation. Without active teams of grad students headed by a professor your research experience will not be as indicative of grad school as your peers/competitors.

    Big whoop. :tongue: Sure, taking grad classes cant hurt and should often help. But classes are not what grad school is about, research is. I would suggest spending extra time on research rather than to spending extra time in classes. Presentations and publications are more important than classes.

    edit - Im talking about physics PhD grad school of course
  4. Feb 13, 2013 #3
    So would you say that I should go to a school that has a graduate physics program so that the research is more meaningful?
  5. Feb 13, 2013 #4
    Well, I would suggest checking out the research in either case. Look through the physics faculty on the web site at your prospective undergrad. If they are active researchers they should have a link to a site describing their research and recent publications. Do the same thing for a potential undergrad program that has grad students around. This might give you a better feel for what is going on in each department.
  6. Feb 14, 2013 #5


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  7. Feb 14, 2013 #6


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    Simply having or not having a graduate program is not likely to have much of an influence on the quality of your education. Some schools that don't have a graduate program will be excellent with great professors who challenge you, while others will be filled with faculty who don't really care about the students or whose teaching styles conflict with your personal learning style.

    And just because a school has a graduate program doesn't necessarily imply that it's a better fit for you. The same positives and negatives apply.

    If you're strongly considering a particular school visit the campus and see if you can talk to some current students. Find out what they like, don't like and what opportunites are available to them. Ask the physics department where their graduates end up.
  8. Feb 14, 2013 #7
    Thanks for the advice
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