[Theoretical] Physics Ph.D. application

  • #1
I hope to apply for a Ph.D. place in 2012; is it possible to send off written papers [as if to write extended articles] as part of the application, to demonstrate competence? I am worried that otherwise the grades for the various modules of my Physics degree that won't end up as my intended specialisation [f(R) gravities etc.] will reduce my appeal as a candidate. I am under the impression that other "extra-curricular" qualities would be of lesser priority than academic aptitude, and I would be very grateful for advice with regard to this intended course of action.
 

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  • #2
Vanadium 50
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Do you mean papers you have published? I would send them the reference.

If you mean papers you have written and not published, I would not sedn these.
 
  • #3
Do you mean papers you have published? I would send them the reference.

If you mean papers you have written and not published, I would not send these.

Many thanks for your response, Vanadium 50. I have not published anything as of yet; my intention is to have things ready by the end of September this year. In fact, I do not know much of the publishing process; how easy is it to do this? Apart from issues of plagiarism, why would you not advise against sending any written articles that are unpublished?
 
  • #4
@Hyper: Published papers are peer-reviewed and conforms to high academic and research standards. Thus if your paper is unpublished, do you think the admission committee will take their time to review your paper?

You can read ZapperZ's sticky https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=df5w5j9q_5gj6wmt
Part XIII: Publishing in a Physics Journal.
 
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  • #5
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Apart from issues of plagiarism, why would you not advise against sending any written articles that are unpublished?

Because unless it is peer-reviewed there is a good chance that you'll say something that will make you look bad. Getting to a peer-reviewed journal article is an annoyingly difficult process, and one important part of the process is to have people try to tear the article to shreds. Once you've got it into a journal, it's likely that someone has caught anything that's really stupid in it.

If you send off what is basically a draft paper (i.e. something that hasn't gone through the meat grinder), then it's very likely that there is something silly in it.

You are better off if you mention it in your statement of purpose. Better yet would be to work with one of your recommenders, and if they think that it's a good draft, they can mention it in the letter of recommendation.

One other thing that you have to be aware of is that a formal paper may be unreadable by the people on the admissions committee. Formal papers are intended for other experts in the field, and if you write something in astrophysics, and the person on the committee is someone in condensed matter, there is a good chance that they won't understand what you have written (and vice versa).
 
  • #6
... You are better off if you mention it in your statement of purpose. Better yet would be to work with one of your recommenders, and if they think that it's a good draft, they can mention it in the letter of recommendation ...

That's a very good idea, twofish-quant; one of those who I hope to be a recommender is quite active in what I want to write about, and [at this point in time at least] I get along reasonably well with. Assuming of course that the article survives peer-reviewing; would it make much of a difference to the overall impression I give? Indeed; if the admissions committee will have differing specialisations, I am tempted to think that the fact it's in a journal would be more crucial a factor than the content [which as you point out may be mentioned by the recommender, that would hopefully catch the eye of a member of the admissions committee with a related specialisation more effectively than having the article sent itself].
 

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