I'm a Physics student in the UK planning to apply for a PhD in Plasma Physics this autumn, in the area of Magnetic Confinement Fusion (MCF) specifically. The UK has a rather limited MCF university network, with only 3 universities playing a significant part. Two of these, Oxford and Imperial, probably won't be offering relevant PhDs for the 2015 year, but I'll apply anyway. York is the other option (and an excellent one at that). In order to keep my options open I'm considering applying to American universities, with Princeton and MIT the main two I've considered so far. I have extensive Plasma Physics research experience so good letters of recommendation shouldn't be a problem. I have top grades and I will have at least two publications (one as main author) in standard Plasma Physics journals by the time I apply. I do have a few questions regarding study in the USA: Since I will have studied more Plasma Physics and general Physics than most US students, will the PhD still take 5-6 years? If not, how long will it take? Standardised tests - are these considered important in the application process? They don't look too hard from my quick look, but what is considered a good score? Could you please recommend any other good Plasma Physics departments? In your opinion, what are the significant benefits and/or negatives of studying in the US instead of the UK? Thanks for your time.