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Physics vs. Applied physics *departments*

  1. Nov 18, 2008 #1
    I'm looking for graduate schools now, and noticing that some schools have separate applied physics departments. If I want to apply to the school, do I only apply for physics or applied physics, or should I apply for both to have a better chance of getting in?

    This is of course assuming that both departments have research I'm interested in, and so far yes, that has been the case.

    I already have 10 places I'd be applying to, which is a lot of time and money to invest. If it doesn't help me at all to apply to both departments, then I'd just do 1 per school.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2008 #2


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    For schools such as Stanford, I don't think it makes that much of a difference. But I think you do need to look at what each department focuses in. If we go by with the Stanford example, if you intend to do condensed matter physics, then it should be from the Applied Physics Dept. But if you are going to go into high energy physics, then it should be from the Physics Dept. I believe the department description lists quite clearly which area of physics each one covers.

  4. Nov 18, 2008 #3
    Yes, but in my case I'm not sure what I want to specialize in, but I have fields I'd like to work in. So I'll basically have to find for each school the most interesting project they have and just apply to that. The thing with Applied vs. Regular physics is that both departments have things I'd like, even if they are different, so I wouldn't mind either.
  5. Nov 18, 2008 #4
    I know that there isn't a hard rule across all universities, or even programs. If you're interested in both, then contact the departments and ask!
  6. Nov 18, 2008 #5
    ...that's a good idea. Thanks. :)
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