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Safety School for Quantum Computing/Atomic Physics

  1. Jul 28, 2014 #1
    Hello, Physics Forums. I am a recent graduate from UCLA with a bachelors in chemistry. I would like to pursue a graduate degree in physics in (in order of preference) quantum computing, atomic physics, or nuclear physics. Right now I have four schools that I think are fairly safe but, my degree being in chemistry rather than physics, I am a bit worried about getting in somewhere. So can anyone recommend some lower tier schools with decent atomic physics programs? It's easy enough to research the more famous schools, but there's probably some decent schools out there that I haven't even heard of. Do my current safety schools seem safe enough (I know safe does mean as much as in undergraduate, but I don't think anyone would argue that Oregon State isn't safer than CalTech)?

    U. Washington (first choice)
    USC (tied for first)
    U. Boulder (third choice)
    U. Oregon (fourth choice, fairly safe?)
    Oregon State (safety)
    UC Merced (safety)
    South Dakota School of Mines (safety)

    To give a little more information about myself, I think I have a fairly strong application (electives in linear algebra, ode, nonlinear de, mathematical methods, e&m, and classical mechanics; all As and A+s in upper division physics, math, and physical chemistry, except for an A- in nonlinear de and a B in thermodynamics; strong letters; research experience with publications, although in geochemistry), my main shortcoming being that my degree, nor my research experience, are in physics. Although, overall, physical chemistry research groups haven't sparked my interest as much as the physics ones, I will likely be applying for a few chemistry departments as well.

    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 28, 2014 #2
    I would look into University of Rochester, University of Arizona, and University of New Mexico for atomic physics and quantum computing. Arizona has a chemical physics program that will allow you the option to work with some faculty in either physics or chemistry. New Mexico has the Center for Quantum Information and Control that is ran by people from Arizona and New Mexico. Rochester has good groups in these areas as well. These universities are not highly ranked, but they are well known in these areas.

    Try looking into other chemical physics programs and see what their requirements, admission criteria, and opportunities are - each one is different.
  4. Jul 28, 2014 #3
    New Mexico looks like a good choice, thank you. Interesting how they state that scoring 800+ on the physics GRE exempts students from taking the preliminary exams.
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