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Transfers, Research, and Recommendations Difficulties

  1. Jun 26, 2011 #1
    So at the moment I'm getting ready to begin directed studies with a professor who is a bit impressive compared to the rest of the schools faculty (at least on paper! I do not know if he is a great teacher yet) with his B.S. in Physics (w/Honors) from Caltech and his Master from Oxford and even his Stony Brook PhD is good (at least in my opinion....).

    I will be doing directed study with him for between one and three semesters but I will need to transfer to another school afterwards because my present university is tiny and does not have a full Physics major (yet). Assuming everything goes well he says he'd like to take me through some basic QFT and maybe get me doing some sort of research in the Spring.

    If this all pans out I'll be leaving someone who I would think would be able to write me a great recommendation to move to a school where I'm going to have to acquaint myself with new professors and hope to find research among the much larger body of Physics majors. Not only will I have to search just to find research, the school I'm transferring to has no graduate work in Particle Physics what-so-ever and only offers one senior level course on the topic so I would not be able to progress any further.

    Another problem will be the amount of my degree complete upon arrival. At the time of my transfer (assuming again that things work out nicely) I'll be transferring a boat-load of hours (yes, I have checked with their Transfer Admissions and I will receive credit for everything I'll be moving over) and I will be entering with only core Physics classes left (Electrodynamics [at the level of Griffith's], Quantum Mechanics II[I think they use Shankar for this?], Classical Mechanics [at the level of Goldstein] and a few others) since I've completed all my Humanities, all my Social Science, all my General Ed. requirements and all of my Math for the Physics major...

    So basically I'm going to transfer over after a year of college and be stuck with only a handful of (apparently) difficult courses at a university with a 2.6 average for the Physics Dept. grades without knowing any of the professors (Okay, that's a lie I know two but they can't help me much) and with my best known professor at another school where I did the only research I'll likely have....

    And I want to go to a decent graduate school....sigh...

    Is my case hopeless? I feel like if I had more time I'd be able to find research at my new school or maybe apply to a DOE summer program or something to get research done but I'm going to be pushing the limit by stretching things out over too many semesters....I don't know if Grad Schools will think I'm weak if I spread my course load out. Will I be able to ask my professor for a recommendation still or is that just a stupid question? It would seem that a recommendation from anyone you've studied under would be of value but I don't know as I've never needed one before.

    Any thoughts about my situation would be greatly appreciated and I'd like to thank anyone with advice in advanced.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2011 #2
    Since there does not appear to be anything specifically against bumping a thread(I scanned through the guidelines just in case), I would like to push this up a bit so that maybe someone will see it and respond.

    I suppose I might have put too much information out in a manner that is too disorganized for people to bother reading so I'll post the tl;dr version below:

    If I have someone who would write a good recommendation for me from a previous UG school would it be acceptable to ask for a recommendation and would it be advisable to send one in addition to whatever recommendations I am hoping to receive?

    Is starting research in an area that I will not be able to continue until grad school after the transfer a good idea?
  4. Jul 2, 2011 #3
    I'm not a physics major but I'll offer my best advice.

    Just do the best with what you're handed.
  5. Jul 2, 2011 #4
    I'm trying to do just that. I'm working my way up as best as I can by working classes ahead of the material I'm covering (I'm still maintaining a 4.0 so I'm not worried about additional material) and research graduate schools etc. I'm just not sure if I'll be allowed to use the recommendation from my first undergraduate school or if I'd want to is all.

    Thanks for your response,
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