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Question about getting into a Master's program for physics

  1. Jan 2, 2009 #1
    Generally , I know being admitted into Masters physics programs is less competitive than a PHd physics program. I know for virtually most universities, whether they are a top 30 school or not , typical admit tees have a GPA of 3.5 or higher. What do you think the GPA range for physics masters programs of all universities, i.e would there being a GPA rank from 2.0-3.0 or 3.5<onward, or 2.5-3.5 , etc.. Do you need letters of recommendations for from professors, research experience.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2009 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    I am not sure that being admitted into Masters physics programs is less competitive than a PHd physics program. Many schools that offer the PhD do not offer a terminal masters, and many of those that do do not admit students to it - it's there to give students who leave the PhD program without finishing.

    A quick check indicates that there are 64 schools that offer only a MS - and about 15% as many MS's are granted through those programs as PhDs are granrted. So since the (MS+PhD) pool has around 80% (maybe as high as 85%) overlap with the PhD pool, it can't be that much less competitive.

    If you're borderline, you might get in an MS program but not a PhD program. But if you aren't even close to admission to a PhD program, you're probably not going to get into an MS either.
  4. Jan 3, 2009 #3


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    In my school the practice was generally to admit students to an M.Sc. program and based on their performance in the first year or so, they could then jump immediately into a Ph.D. program (with that first year already counted) or finish the M.Sc. first and then apply to the Ph.D. program.

    In general, for an M.Sc. or Ph.D. it's a competative process. First you need to meet the minimum qualifications for entrance into the program, then you need to be competative against the other applicants. So yes, you will need letters of reference. And research experience will certainly help you.

    My advice would be not to think of the M.Sc. as an "easier" option to a Ph.D., rather, to think of it just as a different path.
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