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Urban Graduate Schools in Physics

  1. Aug 13, 2007 #1
    'Lo all,

    I am wondering what are some good physics graduate schools that are in very urban areas. And by urban, I mean has a population density high enough for a frequently used rail system (ie, New York, Chicago, London), and preferably > 500,000 people. Only exception is LA and San Diego. I want to get away from Southern California.

    I want schools that are famous and hard to get into, but also I want solid schools that offer good graduate programs but are more possible for humans to get into.

    I am interested in condensed matter physics, both experimental and theoretical.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 13, 2007 #2


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    Er... University of Chicago, Columbia University, Georgia Tech, University of Washington... etc... etc. There are tons of them!

  4. Aug 13, 2007 #3


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    ....and to complete the list (in the US): MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Stanford, UMd (all locations are connected by commuter rail systems).
  5. Aug 13, 2007 #4


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    If you want to live without a car, I think you might find Georgia Tech frustrating. Atlanta does have a rail system, but it doesn't serve nearly as many destinations as say Chicago's or New York's, and most bus routes don't run very often. I think there only a couple of bus routes in the whole city that run as often as every fifteen minutes. I can't speak to Georgia Tech itself, but I've visited Atlanta and used its rail and bus system.
  6. Aug 13, 2007 #5
    Alright. But those are all top 20 or so schools. I also want to know of some schools that are not as difficult to get into, but would nevertheless provide a solid education.

    What do you people think of NYU and CUNY grad programs? Would they fit the bill as being easier to get into but still providing a great education in the city?
  7. Aug 13, 2007 #6


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  8. Aug 13, 2007 #7
    Binghamton University Physics Department
  9. Aug 13, 2007 #8


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    Again assuming that living without a car is important, I'd like to point out that in many smaller university towns/cities, it's quite possible to do without a car, at least for local transportation, provided that you're able and willing to walk or bicycle a lot.

    I went to grad school at the University of Michigan and lived for eight years in Ann Arbor. I owned a car for only about a year and a half there, at the end of my stay. I lived close enough to campus that I could either walk or ride a free university shuttle bus to get to class and work. But usually I rode my bike, which also provided most of my transportation around town. The city is small enough physically that I could easily bicycle most everywhere I wanted to go. When the weather was bad, or I didn't want to take my bike for some reason, I rode the buses; Ann Arbor has a very good bus system for a city its size.

    The main problem with not having a car was not having many options for going out of town, except for Detroit and Chicago which I could reach easily by train or bus. I think a couple of times I did rent a car for weekend trips.
  10. Aug 13, 2007 #9
    Rely on public transportation. I'm in Kansas for an internship, WITHOUT a car. Yes, WITHOUT a car... I'm still managing. It takes 1hr 10min to travel via bus, for a 5.7 mile route. You will have to make some sacrifices.
  11. Aug 13, 2007 #10

    maybe wayne state university? You'll get a solid graduate education there. Only problem is it's in Detroit. Otherwise, the faculty and people there are very friendly and supportive.
  12. Aug 13, 2007 #11
    Hmm, WSU for physics...
  13. Aug 13, 2007 #12
    :rolleyes: It's not a bad school. Some solid research is going on there. It is actually quite underrated due to its location.

    And he said he wanted schools that were a bit more feasible to get accepted to.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2007
  14. Aug 13, 2007 #13
    Yea WSU is a good suggestion. I don't think it "sucks" at all. Thanks leright, that is interesting.

    But does Detroit have a good mass transit system?
  15. Aug 13, 2007 #14
    No. Not at all. This is a major downside. :tongue:

    But what field of physics are you interested in? If you're interested in Elementary particle physics experiment or theory then WSU has a lot going on. Thgey are alsl doing a lot of nuclear and condensed matter stuff.

    BTW, I'm just an REU there. I don't go to school there.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2007
  16. Aug 27, 2007 #15
    UPenn has a very good condensed matter program, but isn't quite as impossible to get into as the other big name schools listed above. Philadelphia has a pathetic mass transit system, but it's a great walking city, and it has a new car sharing program that is pretty cheap and convenient for occasional trips out of the city. Most grad students I know here don't own cars.
  17. Aug 27, 2007 #16
    I don't know if he's just planning on living without a car or wants to live in a city or maybe both?

    umass amherst has a good physics department (very good in condensed matter), and has a very good bus system. When I'm up at school my car sits in the parking lot and only gets used if I have to make a road trip, its far easier to use the bus system to get around. Also because the town is essentially built around the local colleges everything is very compact.

    But I won't kid you there isn't much of a city in amherst, allthough about 6 miles from Amherst is Northhampton which could qualify as a city.
  18. Aug 27, 2007 #17
    Why not Mcgill in Montreal city ?
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