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Programs What are my chances at getting accepted to a PhD program in Astrophysics?

  1. Jun 9, 2008 #1
    So rather than give my life's story, I'll make it relatively short. I got my BS in Physics last year, and am currently working on my MS in Astronautical Engineering at a top 10 engineering school. I will be done in December, and lately I have been thinking about getting my PhD in Astrophysics. I was wondering what my chances are of being accepted to such a program. My undergrad GPA was a 3.0 (about a 3.2 in physics courses), and I anticipate having a 3.3 or 3.4 from my master's program when I am done. I am not looking to get into an elite school or anything, but I do want to find a school that has research interests in cosmology. Being that my GPA isn't stellar, what are my chances at being accepted to a decent school for PhD? Also, do all PhD's usually get fully funded? I have 100K in student loans so if I have to dish out any more $$ the whole idea is out the window. Would I have to get my masters in physics first, and would I be funded during this time, or only when the actual PhD work started? Lastly, can anyone recommend any schools that have cosmology focused research, and rank where it stands in terms of difficulty of admission? THanks for any help you can give me guys!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2008 #2
    52 views and no input yet?
  4. Jun 9, 2008 #3
    100K of loans and you're thinking about astrophysics research which I don't think will help you pay your loans?
  5. Jun 9, 2008 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    "It's been almost four hours and you people haven't finished doing my research for me yet!" is not an attitude common to successful physics PhD students. Your question about whether physics PhD's are fully funded could easily have been found by you spending the intervening time doing a search of the forum. The answer is "in almost all cases, yes", but again, an attitude of letting other people doing your research for you is not one common to successful PhD students.

    We can't predict your prospects for graduate school - even with a complete application package in front of us, this would be hard, and we certainly don't have that. A 3.0 is quite poor for undergrad grades, and pulling it up to only a 3.3 in graduate school doesn't really overcome that. It also matters how the 3.3 was achieved: a C in graduate school is essentially an F as an undergrad, so if there are C's in the 3.3, this will hurt your application.

    I think you also have to consider what your career prospects would be with a PhD from a lower tier school trying to do cosmology.
  6. Jun 10, 2008 #5
    anyone else?
  7. Jun 10, 2008 #6


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    A couple of questions: why are you doing a masters in astronautical engineering if you want to do a PhD in Cosmology? You also appear to be confused as to what you actually want to study: at the beginning of your thread you say Astrophysics, whereas at the end you ask for recommendations for schools with a good Cosmology department. These are distinctly different research subjects, although could have some overlap, if you know a specific area of one of the fields in which you want to work.

    I know nothing about GPA's or other American specific things, but from what Vanadium says, it seems that your grades are not really outstanding. Perhaps you may want to ask yourself whether grad school is really for you, or why you want to go. Another piece of advice would be to go and talk to your advisor and see what he/she has to say regarding grad school.
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