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Reagrding Transfer to another grad school

  1. May 5, 2008 #1
    I have accepted an admit for fall 2008 at a certain university for phd in physics. even though this is a fairly good university, it was not my first choice (I didnt get admitted to my first choice). My problem was that i did not have phsyics gre score and i was solely admitted based on my profile. My undergrad background is also of engineering. can anyone tell me if it is possible to take a transfer to one of the top universities once you've already started your graduate studies at an other university? also, will it help much if physics gre score and some of the physics grad courses are added to my profile?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2008 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    There is no such thing as a transfer in graduate school. You apply for admission, same as anyone else. Which classes you have taken you have to retake and which you don't are between you and the university.

    As for whether this will help you get in, the only piece of evidence I can offer are that top tier graduate schools are not jam packed with people who spent a year or two in graduate school elsewhere.
  4. May 5, 2008 #3
    It is possible to change universities once you've started a graduate program - but you need to be a very good student to pull this off.

    I know one individual who have transferred between Stanford and Harvard and another who transferred to Duke. There are also quite a few people with foreign MScs who transfer into US PhD programs.

    It might be useful to contact a prospective supervisor at the school you were hoping to get into to see if they might still be interested in having you as a student.
  5. May 5, 2008 #4
    I have a classmate in my school who transferred to a different graduate school (which happens to be my old undergrad), because there wasn't any cosmology research going on in our department. So yes, it is possible. She even got them to accept the coursework from our department. I'm told this is rare, since most of the masters students who come into our department have to retake all the first year grad courses. Having done my undergrad at the place where my friend is transferring, I happen to know that the teaching style is extremely similar. This might have something to do with it, I'm not really sure.

    In any case, make sure this is really what you want to do before you transfer. If you passed your qualifier at your old school, you'll still have to take another qual at your new school. You may also have to retake a lot of courses. I too would like to do cosmology, or perhaps space plasma physics, neither of which is offered at my current school (unfortunately I have rather esoteric research tastes). But after passing one of my department's two written qualifiers and taking a full year of couses, there's no way I'll be leaving now. Having my "dream job" in terms of research just isn't worth studying for more qualifiers and retaking courses like Jackson E&M. After all, I figure that I can always go into cosmology for my postdoc.

    Those are my thoughts anyway, just one grad student to another...
  6. May 6, 2008 #5
    I have heard this is extremely rare. i had even mailed schools like Stanford asking about transfers, and they said they absolutely did not encourage transfers. i dont have much physics background, as i am an engineering student so i guess if ido get a transfer around 3rd sem, i wont mind taking courses again. theres an other option for me as well. to do a masters in ee (i ve gotten into columbia u ee) and then apply for phsyics phd(thats what i ultimately want to do). but i am afraid that that might prove to be a much longer route.
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