Theoretical Physics in the US?

In summary, ZapperZ recommends that if you want to study theoretical physics in the US, you should have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, excellent research experience, and a title of "Licenciado en Fisica" or equivalent. He also recommends asking your project director for a letter of recommendation.
  • #1
Ayfel
8
0
Hello I'm a spanish student, I'm finishing my 5th year in physics here in Madrid at UAM. I was planning on following the usual path here and start the Master in theoretical physics that we have here in Madrid at the same university, which is pretty good(2 year) and then it gives you access to a Phd after the 1st year. But now I'm really considering the idea of going to study to the US because of personal reasons. The problem is I have no idea on how to do this, could anyone give some orientation about good theoretical physics programs in the US? No matter where, just good stuff. Do they have these type of masters over there or does it go some other way? For example I know that the major in physics it's usually 4 years there, so here we take 5 years and cover more subjects. So maybe it's different to study theoretical physics.

Any help will be appreciated, thank you.
 
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  • #3
We don't offer masters or PhDs in theoretical physics by name, just physics. You can study any topic and physics and either apply theory, or experimentation, or observation, or computation, or any combination of those to that topic. It's more a matter of what you do and who you work with than where you go to school.

You'd probably apply to PhD programs here; you can earn the masters en route to the PhD, and most people do that instead of separate programs. Your GPA, GRE scores, and research experience will determine where you should apply as well as your research interests.
 
  • #4
Ok I read through all the " So you want to be a Physicist" thing and got some ideas. Now this is my status right now. I'm finishing school probably on April/May, my grades have improved drastically this last two years, just because I got mre interested on the subjects, more difficulty means more interest for me and that means better grades. Anyway the total of my grades isn't going to be astonishing but I'm more than certain that I can get a astonishing GRE grade if I decide to take the test. So with that in mind, also knowing that I'm publishing an article(either a letter or a PRB, we are still on it) in the are of condensed matter physics, and also that I've given a couple talks on my work to Phd students(I'm doing pretty good this year). Ops almost forgot, I want to focus my future in theoretical physics, probably quantum theory of gravitation, but I still haven't decided completely. What schools would you recommend?

Also there is something worth mentioning, my title here in Spain will be "Licenciado en Fisica" and we take more subjects so when we are done with it we've taken(well at least I have) some QED, Advanced QM and EM(although I could get a little more of this last one), including complex systems in the field of condesed matter(DFT, etc), gravitation etc. So I'm not sure what those two first years I would be doing(from what I read in Zapper's paper you are supossed to study similar things to this in your first 2 years as a graduate student...)

Thank you.
 
  • #5
By the way do you think I should ask my project director(from the research I have done) for a letter of recomendation??
 
  • #6
Yes, I think your project director is the best authority to write the letter since he had seen how well you do research.
 
  • #7
I know some peole who just told their advisors about their plans to get a PhD in the States. They usually know someone over there which has three advantages:
- You get into that school easier
- You can keep working in your field, since that other professor usually works on similar areas
- You get to skip the coursework(if you have a Master's of Sc.) and can start immediately with the research, thus being able to fnish in 3 instead of 5-6 years.
 

Related to Theoretical Physics in the US?

What is theoretical physics?

Theoretical physics is a branch of physics that uses mathematical models and principles to explain and predict the behavior of physical systems. It seeks to understand the fundamental laws of nature and the underlying principles that govern the universe.

What are the major research areas in theoretical physics in the US?

The major research areas in theoretical physics in the US include quantum mechanics, relativity, particle physics, cosmology, condensed matter physics, and string theory. These areas cover a wide range of topics, from the behavior of subatomic particles to the structure and evolution of the universe.

What are some notable theoretical physicists in the US?

Some notable theoretical physicists in the US include Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, Lisa Randall, and Edward Witten. These scientists have made significant contributions to the field and have helped shape our understanding of the universe.

What are some practical applications of theoretical physics?

Theoretical physics has many practical applications, such as the development of new technologies and advancements in medicine and engineering. For example, quantum mechanics has led to the development of computer and communication technologies, while relativity has played a crucial role in the development of GPS systems.

What are the educational requirements for becoming a theoretical physicist in the US?

Most theoretical physicists in the US hold a PhD in Physics or a related field. This typically requires completing a bachelor's degree in physics or a related discipline, followed by several years of graduate study and research. A strong background in mathematics and computer science is also essential for pursuing a career in theoretical physics.

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