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Planning to study Physics/Math in USA or UK

  1. Oct 18, 2006 #1


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    Hi, Im currently 12th grade in India. Im planning to go to USA or UK to study Physics and Maths (undergraduate.) I need some help with deciding which universities to apply to. I've taken the SAT and my (highest out of two tests) scores are

    critical reading : 730 (97th Percentile)
    math : 720 (94th percentile)

    Im also going to take the Math and Physics subject tests and the TOEFL(Test of English as a Foreign Language) soon. Which universities have strong undergrad physics/math departments and what are my chances of getting in? I've already looked at some university ranking lists. All of the lists I've seen base their rankings on research/citations etc. None of them say anything direct about the undergraduate course.

    I would appreciate it if some of you could share your personal experience and/or opinions. What I'm looking for is a good course, fairly good faculty, good library, and fair chances of getting in.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2006 #2
    In the UK, the best ranking systems for undergraduate teaching come from the various newspapers. The most authoritive of these is probably the Times Educational Supplement.

    There are also ranking systems employed by the UK funding body, HEFCE. This ranks universities on a scale of 24 for their teaching - but it's quite mediocre, 24/24 is basically 'satisfactory in all areas'. Most good departments get 24.
  4. Oct 18, 2006 #3
    well for physics and math, there are a few top notch schools in the US you might want to look at

    MIT (massachusettes institute of technology)
    Caltech (california institute of technology)
    Harvey Mudd

    those are probably the canonical best schools in america for physics and math, and judging by your sat scores you might want to go to one.

    also I've heard harvard has a very good math program, and in the UK I know cambridge is a very good school for physics
  5. Oct 18, 2006 #4


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    Do I have a chance with those? Also, can some of you who have already studied physics and/or maths tell me about your undergrad school? Personal experience/opinions will be appreciated.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2006
  6. Oct 19, 2006 #5
    Please be aware that the best private schools in the U.S. are hideously expensive. If you or your parents are wealthy, no problem. But while aid, loans and scholarships are certainly available, I suspect that they are difficult for foreign students to obtain.

    Graduate school, is a different matter. While tuition is still high, tuition waivers and small stipends for being a TA or RA are common.
  7. Oct 22, 2006 #6


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    Sorry for reviving the thread, but i didnt get what i wanted. Maybe I wasnt specific enough.

    - Which schools are good for science (in your opinion)?

    - With my SAT score (1440 / 1600), do I have a chance of getting into top schools?

    - Can you tell me someting about your undergrad school? (this question is aimed at undergrads, or people who have recently completed their undergrad studies)

    Assume that I'm not applying for financial assistance and that I dont need any.
  8. Oct 22, 2006 #7


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    I'm not really an expert on this, but for American students, American schools want to see the 2400 SAT score with the writing section..... it might be different for international students, but it's definitely something to look into.
  9. Oct 22, 2006 #8


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    My SAT score including writing is 2050
  10. Oct 22, 2006 #9


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    It's fine to try for the very best (e.g. Harvard, Princeton, Cal Tech,...) but the USA has dozens of other schools where you can get a good undergraduate education in physics, ranging from large state universities (Berkeley, Michigan, Illinois...) to small private colleges (Harvey Mudd, Swarthmore, Davidson, Oberlin...).

    One well-known annual ranking of undergraduate schools is the one by the weekly newsmagazine "US News and World Report":


    They're general rankings rather than physics/math specific rankings, and they're obviously sensitive to the specific criteria used and how they're weighted. Nevertheless, they should give you an idea of the range of options that are available here.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
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