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Prepare for HEP-th graduate application

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http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/195538/prepare-for-hep-th-graduate-application-books-research-opportunities-etc [Broken]
I want to specialise in high-energy physics theory. I feel quiet unconfident because the I just knew that the field is insanely competitive, so I really need your advice to guide me a bit, and any help will be greatly appreciated.

Next year, I would be starting my undergraduate eduaction in a UK institution, and I want to ask something that can make me stand out four years later.

1.What books would you recommend?

2.What type of research opportunities should I search for?(Are there undergraduate researches available in UK?

3.How high a GPA and PGRE should I aim at?

4.How many graduate courses should I take?

I am an international student, so perhaps comtition would be even more fierce for me. My background is A-level maths and further maths, multi-variable calculus, linear algebra, introductory Newtonian Mechanics, a bit of Lagrangian mechanics. I am currently studying more linear algebra and will study Electricity&Magnetism by Edward Purcell one month later. Could you give me some suggestions please?

 
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If you are not even an undergrad and are already familiar with linear algebra and Lagrangian Mechanics, something tells me you're on the right track. As far as what kind of research you should do, the obvious answer is HEP. Or are you looking for something more specific? I know the University of Cambridge has an HEP group. Internships and research opportunities in HEP will be difficult to come by your first few years since you will not have the mathematics background necessary, however if you have a superior work ethic and are okay with not getting paid it is possible.

As far as a GPA and pGRE goes... a 4.0 and 990. Unfortunately this is what a lot of HEP applicants have, and competition will be very fierce as an international student.
 

radium

Science Advisor
Education Advisor
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Everyone from the UK I know doing HET did a master's in their 4th year. At Cambridge that will be part III and will prepare you very well academically for grad school. It will allow you to take QFT (you should really take it again even though you will have taken it in part III) and courses like string theory right. Try to get the best grades possible and be at the top of the class. Coursework matters a lot for HET obviously for research in grad school but also it is hard to do research in it as an undergrad. Some quantum gravity/string theory professors won't even talk to you until you have taken a string theory course. It doesn't matter if you will work for free, the issue is the time commitment on their part.

It's much harder to get undergrad research in the UK. I think you can do summer work in Europe, but I would imagine it's hard to do it during the year. A guy I know did do work in cosmology as an undergrad though. So I would start as soon as possible in a field of theory where you can get a good project, but before that I think you can apply to internships at places like the Max Planck institute. It's helpful to start with computational or even experimental work, you will still learn a lot you can apply to future research.
 

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