Research and Grad School

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  • Thread starter QuarkCharmer
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  • #1
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I am starting my third year of Phy. undergrad and have been looking over some resources to better prepare myself for grad school. In another thread "The_Duck" posted a link to a site where people have posted their GRE, GPA's, and research experience (and whatever else) and listed what schools accepted them. This has really got me thinking about research. I have essentially done nothing in terms of research, and aside from the obvious outlets (Undergrad Research Programs etc) I really have no idea how to go about setting myself up for this.

How important is the field of research you take? I really have no idea what specifically I hope to accomplish in physics, I essentially attend because I find the subject matter interesting. What sort of advice could you offer for someone looking for relevant research? I was originally thinking that I wanted to work in photonics/optics, but the more I learn about physics in general, the more I think I chose that topic based on convenience (A good school in my area). Now I am more open to the idea of traveling wherever, and I want to make sure that my CV is postured in such a way as to allow me many options.
 

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  • #2
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Research, including field, is important to someone considering grad school. Not to say that breadth is a problem - any research is a plus on the application. However, it sounds like you aren't sure of a career. I wouldn't apply to grad school just because you like physics. One part of the application is a statement about why you wish to pursue graduate studies. As a third years student, perhaps it is time to sit down and figure out a career, as opposed to an interest. Then picking an area of research becomes quite simplified.
 
  • #3
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It's not so much that "I am unsure of a career" as much as it is "I narrowed it down to either Physics or Mathematics and now I cant decide on what specifically because both are awesome to me, and both encompass such a vast set of awesome sub-catagories that I cannot decide".

What sort of general-field research should I be looking for that would benefit me the most? Obviously this is different for each school and major, but there has to be some good advice out there.
 
  • #4
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What do you mean by "narrowed it down to either Physics or Mathematics"? Do you want to do research? Do you want to teach? Or do you mean that both are huge branches of science that you just generally enjoy and you haven't decided anything but that?

If you really can't figure out a career, then perhaps computational research in some subfield will benefit the most, as that is usually applicable to a wide range of careers.
 

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