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Schools Which University in America

  1. Aug 8, 2010 #1
    Which University in America will have a theoretical physics program? I'm going to obtain my A.A. degree this year(fall semester). I tried looking at my state, Florida, and it was no good. I checked UCF(University of Central Florida) and it was a sure fail. I want to major in physics and have a P.H.D. in that major. Theoretical physics is my choice because I love math.

    Please, I need some guidance and I went to my guidance counselor. Of course, she told me to be an engineer because Florida does not go deeper in the Physics programs.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2010 #2


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    Theoretical physics is not a major; you'd just major in physics generically, and you can do that at pretty much any 4-year college or universities in the states. Schools in FL would include UF, FIT, FIU, and many more. You'd do your PhD at a different school anyway, and theoretical physics at the PhD level is a way of approaching any particular subject, not a subject itself. Hopefully by the time you're looking at PhD programs you'll be able to narrow down what field you're interested in.
  4. Aug 8, 2010 #3
    Do guidance conselours seriously give out such advice?!
  5. Aug 8, 2010 #4
    No matter what 'path' you choose (experimental or theoretical), you'll probably major in physics and then go on to specialize later. User 'eri' hit the nail on the head above.

    There are plenty of fine schools in Florida. I start at Florida State in a couple of weeks, but I also know a fair bit about some of Florida's other schools.

    Florida State University has a ton of research going on, including participation in the CMS experiment (http://www.fsu.com/Videos/News/FSU-physicists-have-front-row-seat-for-massive-collider-experiment [Broken]). It also has the main branch of the world's highest powered magnet laboratory located right on campus (http://www.magnet.fsu.edu/). There is a branch location of the MagLab at another Florida school-the University of Florida.

    Also check out the University of South Florida. I've talked to undergraduates whom seem to really like the physics department there. I'm not sure what sort of research goes on there though.

    There's also the University of Miami, which is private, and I know very little about. You also mentioned UCF. I was turned off by UCF's general lack of research activity, but I may have been misinformed. I've heard great things about their engineering school though.

    Do some research on your own, because your guidance counselor isn't being very helpful with statements like the one you posted. You can always go out-of-state if nothing in Florida suits you, which would be surprising.

    Edit: There are quite a few physics-related videos within this link if you're interested: http://www.fsu.com/Videos/Research [Broken] I'm trying to find a similar page for UF, will report back if I do.

    Edit2: Here's another: http://www.phys.ufl.edu/research/index.shtml
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Aug 8, 2010 #5
    Thanks for the help! I did some research and I decided to check out Columbia University. Its out of state(its in New York city) and I may be in debt once i finish the four year school. I may have to depend on student loans and financial aid. What I fear the most is leaving my home and starting a new chapter in my life.

    I may want to live in a dorm room(hopefully alone) and find a job because I cannot find one here in Florida. I hope I'm making the right choice to leave the south and herd up north for a good career in Physics.

    Any advice for living in dorm rooms and going out of state?
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  7. Aug 8, 2010 #6
    Yup, they love to crush hopes and dreams. I also made a mistake about calling them "guidance counselors" They are mainly "Academic Adviser".
  8. Aug 8, 2010 #7
    Are you still in high school?

    Edit: Never mind, read your profile.
  9. Aug 8, 2010 #8
    I checked out UF and it looks like they have that football pride. UCF is the same thing and I just think its annoying. Maybe I just hate college football, lol.
  10. Aug 8, 2010 #9
    Don't let that make your decision. You'll find similar environments at nearly every big state university. It doesn't necessarily detract academic quality. Just a friendly fyi: the competitiveness of Columbia admissions is many magnitudes higher than any school previously mentioned in this thread. You should also know that aside from research opportunities, most undergraduate physics programs are quite similar. If a school's 'big name' outweighs its cost to you then by all means, go for it.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  11. Aug 11, 2010 #10
    Darn it! I need a 3.5 GPA! I have a 3.0 GPA and I'm taking three classes this fall semester:

    Calculus. 2 - credit: 5.00
    Gen Chem. - credit: 4.00
    Stats. - credit: 3.00

    I'm trying to get a 3.5 GPA this year If I want to get into Columbia university in 2011.
    I need more advice and guidance to handle these tough classes.
  12. Aug 11, 2010 #11
    What matters is who your classmates will be. If you go into a more prestigious school your classmates will usually be more motivated/smarter than at normal schools which creates an entirely different atmosphere.
  13. Aug 11, 2010 #12
    I understand that you specified American Universities but have you ever considered Canadian Universities. Here are many globally recognized universities that have Physics Programs constructed for students interested in pursuing Theoretical Physics research:
    University of British Columbia:
    University of Alberta:
    http://www.phys.ualberta.ca/ [Broken]
    University of Toronto:
    http://www.utoronto.ca/programs/undergraduate-programs.htm [Broken]
    University of McGill:
    University of Waterloo:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  14. Aug 11, 2010 #13
    That's the big problem. Going into a school with people that have more experience then me.
    In high school, I was a goof ball. I had to get my GED if I wanted to enroll in a community college.

    I know that I will face tough and competitive people in that university. However, my love for math and science is the real passion NOT being competitive.

    The only reason why I want to attend Columbia University is the excellent offer they have in the Physics department.
  15. Aug 11, 2010 #14
    Hmmmmm, Sounds like another interesting choice for me. Dammit!! What should I do? I thought it would not matter if I get a p.h.d.in physics from America.

    I'm just confused...
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  16. Aug 11, 2010 #15
  17. Aug 11, 2010 #16
    This is interesting. If Columbia University wont accept me, then I can try the universities at Canada. Thanks for opening my options.
  18. Aug 12, 2010 #17
    UCF and UF both have solid physics programs. UCF was actually created to supply physics/engineering training to supply workers to Kenedy Space Center.

    Find a new guidance counselor.
  19. Aug 12, 2010 #18
    True, however; the Kennedy Space Center will close down soon. By the time I get my PH.D. in physics, there will be no Kennedy Space Center.

    The government said they will save it from being closed, but for some reason I think they cannot keep that promise because of the bad economy.
  20. Aug 12, 2010 #19


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    Gold Member

    kaos86, I think that you might have your sights set unrealistically high. While there's nothing wrong with applying to Columbia (which you should realize is one of the most competitive universities in the US), you shouldn't expect to get in. In fact, since Columbia typically admits roughly 10% of applicants (for both first-years and transfers), it's more likely that you won't be admitted. If you really want to transfer to another school, I would (at the very least) apply somewhere where you're essentially guaranteed admission.

    Finally, contrary to what you seem to think, there are many universities in the US which can serve your needs. You just have to do your research first.

    Edit: If you're really hell-bent on Columbia, you might want to make sure that you've thoroughly researched the University. For example, Columbia is famed for it's extensive core curriculum, and even as physics major/transfer student you won't be able to avoid taking several courses in the humanities, arts, etc. You should make sure that you're up for everything enrolling in that University entails.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2010
  21. Aug 12, 2010 #20
    So, I might have to take some classes that I don't have to take in that university? If that's true, then maybe University of Toronto is my best option. Of course, there's the university of New York as another option.

    Edit: I also forgot to mention that I will have my A.A. Degree this year, but I will take three more classes to boost my GPA. I also understand the "challenge" to get into this university. I did some research and I will receive more info from them. (they will send a brochure)
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2010
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