Requirements for Grad School

In summary, to get into a physics grad school, you need a bachelors in physics with a GPA of at least 3.0 and usually the GRE and physics GRE. To have a shot at some good programs, you'll need a higher GPA and some research experience. Look into working for someone at your school over the summer, and after that, other schools or national labs. It doesn't matter if it's not in the field you think you want to specialize in; any research experience helps. Top grad schools want students who have shown a great deal of skill or potential when it comes to doing original work. Remember, theoretical physics is a way of approaching physics, not a field of physics itself. Depending
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Hey guys,

I'm a physics major and in my freshman years. One of the things I keep hearing is how competitive grad schools can get. So, I ask you lot "What are the requirements to get into a grad school for physics"? Well, I mostly want to hear things other than a good GPA (which is obvious).

Also, to study theoretical physics, which math courses are a MUST? In my university, physics majors take Calculus, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, Complex Analysis, Numerical Analysis and Fourier Analysis. Moreover, we get Group Theory, Tensor Analysis and Mathematical Physics in electives. (On contrary, can these topics be covered by merely self-study?).
 
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  • #2
I'm curious: what do you cover in "mathematical physics"?
 
  • #3
The requirements are a bachelors in physics with a GPA of at least 3.0 and usually the GRE and physics GRE. To have a shot at some good programs, you'll need a higher GPA and some research experience. Look into working for someone at your school over the summer, and after that, other schools or national labs. It doesn't matter if it's not in the field you think you want to specialize in; any research experience helps. Top grad schools want students who have shown a great deal of skill or potential when it comes to doing original work. Remember, theoretical physics is a way of approaching physics, not a field of physics itself. Depending on the specific field you're interested in, taking computer science/programming classes might be more useful than a lot of math courses.
 
  • #4
I disagree somewhat with eri on the importance of research.

If you are at a small teaching school with no research to speak of, that's not the end of the world. Grad schools understand this. That isn't to say it isn't a good idea to try and get some experience, perhaps during the summer, but it's not a deal-breaker. Where it becomes more problematic is at the big research universities: there the question will pop into everyone's mind "If he wants to get a research degree from us, why didn't he take advantage of his opportunities as an undergrad?"

Second, I would say that a 3.0 knocks you out of the running pretty much everywhere. A B is for all intents and purposes the minimum passing grade in grad classes, which are harder than undergrad classes. You see the problem?

Finally, letters of recommendation are extremely important. Obviously, research is a good source of letters. The deal-breakers are the ones that say "He got a B+ in my class" and little else. I can tell that; I have the transcript. If your professor could find nothing else positive to say, that is not good at all.
 
  • #5
It's certainly true research isn't required to get into programs. But you're talking about earning a research degree - the biggest thing they'll be wondering is whether or not you're going to be able to do research, and if you'll be interested enough in it to bother. That's something you really should determine before heading off to earn a PhD, even in you're at a school where professors aren't doing much or any research themselves (which is hard to find these days - research is expected pretty much everywhere).
 
  • #6
Where I live and study (certainly not in USA and Europe), there isn't much to talk about when it comes to research. I'm quite sure about maintaining a very good GPA, I don't think that's a problem. Moreover, I've also heard that publications in journals helps a lot getting into grad schools. And thanks for your help guys. I'll definitely look into finding some scopes for research.
 

What are the general requirements for grad school?

The specific requirements for grad school may vary depending on the program and institution, but generally, applicants are expected to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, a strong academic record, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and satisfactory scores on standardized tests such as the GRE.

Do I need to have a specific major or background to apply for grad school?

Many grad school programs do not have specific major or background requirements, but it is important to have a strong foundation in the field you are applying for. Some programs may require prerequisite courses in certain subjects, so it is best to research the specific requirements of each program you are interested in.

Are there any additional requirements for international students?

Yes, international students may be required to submit additional materials such as proof of English proficiency, a statement of financial support, and a copy of their passport. It is important to check with the specific program and institution for their requirements for international applicants.

Is work experience necessary for grad school admissions?

Work experience is not always required for grad school admissions, but it can be beneficial for certain programs. For example, some business schools may prefer applicants with prior work experience. However, relevant research experience or internships can also be valuable for admissions in many fields.

What other factors besides requirements are considered in the grad school admissions process?

In addition to meeting the requirements, grad school admissions committees may also consider factors such as research experience, publications, relevant work experience, extracurricular activities, and personal qualities and characteristics. It is important to have a well-rounded application that showcases your strengths and potential for success in graduate studies.

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