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Admissions Waterloo vs. Minnesota Duluth for physics M.Sc.

  1. May 28, 2016 #1
    I received acceptances from the University of Minnesota, Duluth (not Twin Cities) and the University of Waterloo for their physics M.Sc. programs. I am interested in string theory - not exactly sure about the subfield.

    At Duluth, there is only one professor working in string cosmology who I think was open to me joining his group during email conversations - he didn't explicitly say this but he mentioned something about a reading course as preparation.

    On the other hand, at Waterloo I will be working in an experimental field (not high energy physics) - the supervisor is decided at the time of admission. I am not sure what are the chances of changing advisors but I'm not banking on it. I do however feel that the close proximity to Perimeter Institute might offer a chance to do a summer project or some project on the side alongside my experimental thesis.

    I know the decision is mine in the end but I wanted your opinion on a few things. Would graduating from Waterloo (better department) offset the lack of a full thesis in string theory (I might have a smaller project at Perimeter) when I apply for PhD programs in the US or Canada in the future? If I decide to go to Waterloo and do a small project at Perimeter, are my chances of getting a PhD admit with that same group considerable (assuming I do good work)? If you believe I should consider other factors when I'm deciding, please do let me know. I have till Wednesday June 1st to decide. Any help is very appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2016 #2


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    I think being near the Perimeter is a huge plus. There are wonderful people there and also a lot of very famous professors regularly visit for a few months over the summer (they have visiting research chairs).

    I also think that if you are planning on getting a PhD in the US, having research experience in HEP Ex rather than in theory may not be a bad thing. It seems that people in HEP ex do need to know a lot of QFT, so if you took those classes during your masters, you would would be able to come into grad school and take strings right away:
  4. May 28, 2016 #3
    Thanks very much for shedding some light on Perimeter.
    My experimental research project will be in quantum information and foundations in quantum theory.
  5. May 28, 2016 #4


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    Oh ok, I think that should be fine too.
  6. Jun 5, 2016 #5
    Just a clarification. I emailed the professor at Minnesota and he said that he specifically works in cosmic strings which according to him are not directly related to string theory - they're more like topological solutions to field theories.

    Guess this info slightly favors choosing Waterloo (although understanding QFT now will help in string theory research later)
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