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Schools University for Master's Degree in Theoretical Physics (GB)

  1. Jun 6, 2010 #1
    Dear all,

    I'm a German physicist in his second year and I'm going to finish my bachelor thesis in summer 2011. To make international experiences I tend to do my Master's degree abroad and I think Great Britain would be a good choice. After some discussions with friend who are studying in Cambridge I'm inclined to apply for Cambridge "Part III" and Imperial College "Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces" (for the courses which will begin in autumn 2011). But I'm not sure how my chance of success will be and that's why I come here to this board. At the moment I would prefer the course at Imperial College (on one hand because of the great city London and on the other hand because I hope that it is easier for me to get into that course). My main interests are General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics - I like the mathematical part of physics with its proofs and abstract structure. At present my marks are good but not perfect: 1,3 on average (marks: 1,0=A* - 4,0=D) and I'm among the best 5% of my year (at my University). In the next semester break I'm doing an internship in a research group which deals with GR and I'm going to take part in a summer school with a corresponding topic. All in all I hope to see clearer after this what my real interests and possibilities are (in addition I'm looking forward to improve my language skill during this internship because English is the working language there ^^).
    After this introduction I'd like to ask you, which approach you could recommend: Can you estimate how my chance of success will be (if I maintain my marks on the same level)? Do you think that Imperial college is a good choice for my interests? Do you have any other tip for me (other University I should think about etc.)? What is the best procedure to apply (I've already created an application account at Imperial college - but should I also contact responsible teacher / course director to get more information)? Does somebody know how the selection procedure works: I coundn't find information about additional interviews or entrance tests!?

    I want to thank you in advance for any information you are able to share with me!

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2010 #2
    Manchester Uni are good for theoretical physics.


    I'm not sure whether they do any specific subjects you area interested in though. It might be worth looking at UCL(if you want to live in London) and Oxford as well.

  4. Jun 7, 2010 #3

    I was more or less in the same position you're in. I'm nearly finished with my BSc physics in Amsterdam and wanted to do a MSc theoretical physics abroad.

    After browsing around on the web, I found the MSc QFFF at imperial and chose to apply for that. About two months later I got accepted. On other people's advice, I actually wanted to also start my application to Cambridge part III as a 'backup', but that didn't turn out to be needed.

    As for your chances of succes: my GPA is about 8,3 out of 10, in the Dutch system, which was sufficient to be admitted to Imperial, although I did apply quite early. I think Cam pt III maybe has slightly higher criteria, but actually that doesn't really matter since applications for part III are closed for 2010/2011 as far as I know.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the application: just have a good motivation letter and some good recommendations and you'll most likely be accepted, but I would start your app as soon as possible.

    About the application procedure: everything is done online and you'll only need to submit certain documents, such as your cv, grade list, recommendation letters and motivation. There is no interview. However, if you do have questions, you can contact Arttu Rajantie, who is in charge of admissions for the course and is really helpful. I had to travel to London and back in a single day and called him up one day before, to ask if I could drop by the university and ask him a couple of questions about the course and it was ok! He's really helpful, so if you want to know anything more, I suggest you give him a call.

    Hope this helps and I hope to see you there next year ;)
  5. Jun 10, 2010 #4
    Hi hansie,

    your Reply was quite useful and motivating: In my case there should be enough time - I won't finish my courses until next year. Therefor I'm going to try both: An application for ICL "Quantum Field and Fundamental Fources" as well as Cambridge Part III (both for 2011/2012 - hoping for success in my favourite place London).

    I have already started my application using this online tool you mentioned - but when I did so, the application for 2011/2012 wasn't possible yet - when did you apply for (what does early mean)?
    I will get my final marks as recently as autumn 2011 (shortly before the course would start) - is this a problem or common? When shall send my application if I don't have my final results?

    Thank you very much and with best wishes
  6. Jun 10, 2010 #5
    I would apply as soon as you have this years results, and if you get an offer it will usually be dependant on you getting certain results next year.

  7. Jun 10, 2010 #6
    I don't know about part III, but for Imperial, I believe they accepted applications from november onwards or something like that.

    I personally sent in my application in the middle of december, which can be seen as a very early apply, because they take applications anywhere up to summer (they recommend you apply before june, so you have a lot of time). Like I said, the deadline for part III is somewhere in may.

    You can just sent in your grade list of all grade you've received up to now, as long as you can provide a final grade list before you start. Also, after you've been given a conditional offer, you will have to provide them with an english test score, so be sure to do an IELTS test somewhere next year. They should be no problem at all.
  8. Jun 14, 2010 #7

    I am looking for exactly the same thing as you, and I have found the following other universities that do Master's level Theoretical Physics courses (albeit at less 'prestigious' institutions):

    MSc Elementary Particle Theory at Durham University
    MSc Theoretical Physics at King's College London
    MSc Theoretical Physics at University of Sussex

    also consider the EuroMasters run by SEPnet (google SEPnet) - Royal Holloway, Queen Mary University London and University of Sussex all do excellent Quantum Field Theory/General Relativity style courses as part of this 2 year masters degree, and you get to do a year long research project in the second year.

    Another thing you may wish to consider is the Masters course run by the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Not GB, I realise, but I would imagine it is one of, if not the best Theoretical Physics Masters degree in the work.

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