1. PF Contest - Win "Conquering the Physics GRE" book! Click Here to Enter
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Want to do a masters - having trouble finding someone who works in area of interest

  1. Nov 9, 2014 #1
    I want to do a masters. Currently I am doing my undergrad(4th year) in southern Ontario; my marks in math/physics are around A-. I enjoy quantum and atomic physics and am looking for a project, ideally in computational physics applying it to the former topics. I have emailed some professors, but unfortunately have only gotten a few replies with the advice "apply to the graduate program and see if you get in". I was under the impression that most of the time for graduate work you were supposed to basically already have a professor interested in taking you on before applying to school. Also I only found a few researchers in this area. So basically at this point in time I am at a loss of what to do and a little bit discouraged. Any advice would be great.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 14, 2014 #2
    Hey I'm from the U.S so my experience was a little different than yours. During our undergraduate, we are encouraged to get research experience and we apply straight to PhD programs in graduate school ( I am still in the process of applying).

    If you are interested in research and possibly getting a PhD, look into U.S graduate schools! The fact that you have an A- average is great! What you will need also is to take the physics gre and general gre. Do you have any research experience at all? Are you interested in experimental or theoretical? Some physics departments will care about research experience because that's what it is very important for PhD. I suggest that you apply for masters in Canada and get some research experience! Study for the physics gre and do well and look into U.S programs!

    If you are interested in theoretical take lots of advanced courses, but trust me having experimental background will be great! You will have more options and the skills you develop will always be useful. If you like experimental, then go for that.

    *The next physics gre is available in April*

    Also University of Waterloo is very well known for its Quantum Computing/Information program. Maybe you'll look into Masters there? IDK about Canadian University ranking ( but I know UBC, Toronto, and Mcgill are top) Waterloo is good in my opinion too.
  4. Nov 14, 2014 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    In Canada the general process is to enter an MSc program after a BSc. Some students complete the MSc program first then proceed into a PhD. Others, with the approval of their supervisory committee, can enter the PhD program about a year into the PhD.

    You don't necessarily have to have a professor and a project already lined up when applying to graduate school. It's important that you've talked with people in the program and that you understand work that's currently going on there so that your interested align with the interests that exist in the department. But professors can't agree to take you on if you haven't been admitted to the department.

    In Canada students typically spend their first year doing course work and chosing a supervisor and project. The research often doesn't start until the first summer.

    One thing that you can, and probably should, do is look into NSERC scholarships. From what I remember, these involve a project proposal and this gives potential supervisors a reason to discuss projects in detail with you. When I was a student I remember filling them out in the fall of the first year as an MSc student, but I think you could do this as a senior undergraduate as well.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook