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Programs Urgent: frm elect eng 2 phd physics, any chance?

  1. Mar 26, 2007 #1
    well guys, i just found this forum and am hoping you can help me here.

    i am intl student with bs in elect eng. but i realized when i entered that program that it wasnt for me n that shd have stuck with my math/physics. i ended up with some sloppy gpa, probably just above 3.0:mad:

    but now i want to get back to physics n have already applied to wesleyan university phd physics( yes, they have a phd in physics, pure math, comp sci, etc), (can any of you make suggestions here) and am considering applying to some math/applied math programs too. i am interested in computional physics, chaos theory, etc, and have some experience in programming and high performance computing.

    my gre general are: 770q, 680v, 4.0aw. how do u guys evaluate me? i stand a chance w/out the gre physics subject test vis a vis my low gpa?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 26, 2007 #2
    In general, the switch from anything to physics can be done for grad school. BUT, it is difficult. I have seen people flourish and people fail at it. The people who flourished had to put a lot more time in to studying than the other grad students because they were behind in material. Some of them had to take a year and take undergrad classes to help prepare them for the graduate coursework.
  4. Mar 29, 2007 #3
    Can be done... in general your application would be more competitive for a program if you HAD taken the physics GRE, and especially if you had/have some research experience (in engineering internships or research/independent study with a professor).

    I agree with Norman in that you may fnd the coursework difficult, especially depending on the university and the background of the other students at the university. But if you can get through core courses, preliminary exams, comprehensive exams... you might then find some of your previous (non-traditional) experience becomes an asset when it come to doing your PhD project.
  5. Mar 29, 2007 #4
    In case it helps, here's what I had for my grad school applications:

    3.3 GPA (last two years of coursework)
    General GRE: Reading Comprehension 530; Math 740; Writings 4.5
    Physics GRE: 620
    Research: My junior year I designed and carried out a one semester research project on NMR analysis of epoxy cures, and I did a senior thesis on numerical analysis of electromagnetic waves inside a resonance cavity.

    I applied to six physics graduate programs; I got accepted into two of them, one MS program and one PhD program. I got rejected by two others, and I haven't heard back from the last two (guessing I'm on a wait list, but I got into the one I wanted so I don't really care).

    Hope this helps you assess your own possibilities.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2007
  6. Mar 29, 2007 #5

    arunma, could you list the schools you applied to, and the ones you were admitted to? Yoru stats seem similar to mine...I'm a double major in EE and physics, I will have a 3.49 GPA overall (by the time I apply...so one year before I finish school), 1.71 engineering gpa and 1.92 physics gpa. I will have a little over a full summer (~14 weeks) of full time industry experience (I was in an office environment working for an automotive safety engineering firm), and 3 semesters of research experience (one full time semester and 2 part time semesters). I also plan on having a decent senior project. I am not sure what my GRE scores will look like.

    for my senior project I want to build a rocket with a stability feedback control system, GPA tracking, and altimeter parachute deployment system.
  7. Mar 29, 2007 #6
    And chadat, you may have to take a substantial amount of ugrad physics courses before you take grad courses. If you have solid letters of recommendation (perhaps from physics professors) and a convincing letter you have a chance.
  8. Mar 30, 2007 #7
    No problem.

    Here are the schools I got accepted to:

    University of Minnesota - Duluth (MS)
    Iowa State University (PhD)

    Here's where I got rejected:

    University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
    University of Wisconsin - Madison

    And here's where I haven't heard back from:

    University of Iowa
    Ohio State University

    Hope that helps.
  9. Mar 31, 2007 #8
    Wow, how can you have you a 3.49 GPA when you have such low GPA's for your majors?? 3.94 with 1.71 and 1.92 doesn't make sense...
  10. Mar 31, 2007 #9
    haha, oops....I meant 3.71 and 3.92 for my majors. :D
  11. Apr 2, 2007 #10

    i don't have recommendations from physics profs, just 3 recs from 3 electrical engineering profs. one was my project supervisor. as for research, the only research i did was my project on RF circuit design, i built a circuit for field strength meter. .the supervisor for this project wrote 1 of my recs, my project was okay so i dont think he'll diss me in the recmy degree is also from a school in west africa--where opportunities for research even in your own major a few and far between.

    well, i guess i'm resigned to the fact that i've got pretty slim chance of physics graduate school admissions.
  12. Apr 3, 2007 #11


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    I sense indecision. The holy grail of achievement is interfering with your true interests. It is more important to understand adversity than defeat it.
  13. Apr 3, 2007 #12
    chronos, thanx for your chastisement. it's now or never. wesleyan has received my other documents thru postal mail although somehow they didnt receive the online application and so i must resend it. the decision, could be ready this week or latest next week. maybe this is God's will, so i can have the opportunity to state that i'm ready to take as many undergrad courses as possible to make up--something i failed to state previously

    but how do you sense indecision. i'm only afraid that adcom will see my application differently, pehraps accentuate the negatives instead of the positives. which will be bad for me. i want to highlight the +ves as much as possible. but i'm not withdrawing or anything. neither is my interest in physics diminished
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