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What should I focus on to get admitted to a good masters program?

  1. Oct 12, 2012 #1
    I'm fresh out of highschool, studying physics on Charles University in Prague. It's not a bad school, but my ambitions are bigger. I'd like to continue with my master's or phd degree somewhere like ETH Zurich (I've read about the excellence scholarship - covers tution and living costs) or another top school. I'd like to know what should I focus on if I want to get admitted? Are grades the most important or should I rather do some research? Is it better to take a broader spectrum of classes or just a few and excell in those?
    I'm also thinking of doing the mathematics program on my uni simultaneously from the following year on. Do you think this would be a good step (in physics I'd like to focus on things like theory or mathematical/computer modelling...)?
    I can also take the classes without officially being mathematics student, but I thought that being mathematics student officially could look good on my applications (or am I wrong)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2012 #2


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    Hey Tom83B.

    One recommendation I have is for graduate work, (especially for a PhD), check out the faculties and departments of a particular school and look at their research interests and projects that are going on.

    Also if you see something interesting going on at school you don't consider the "upper echelons", then I wouldn't put it out of the picture too quickly.

    This is a bit of general advice for these endeavors and not a physics specific one.
  4. Oct 12, 2012 #3
    Getting research experience is definitely a big plus these days when it comes to making yourself stand out. For a lot of top grad schools, I believe having research experience during undergrad is the new standard.

    For courses, I think getting great marks in the fundamental courses is important. Show you master the essentials.

    Also I really recommend taking some courses outside your main focus of study. Not only to show a potential admissions committee that your diverse, but it also opens doors for what kinds of grad programs you can apply into later (I know some phys grad programs I looked at require some chemistry background). Also, you might find you happen to really enjoy subject x like computational biology.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
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