Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

  • Build school profiles for prospective graduate students.
  • Everyone is welcome to share their knowledge of schools.

NY
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:46 pm

Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby NY » Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:31 am

Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)
http://www.physics.cornell.edu
Ithaca, NY


User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby grae313 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:31 pm

If you have any questions related to Cornell's PhD program in physics, feel free to ask them here.

I absolutely love this place and find it a fantastically supportive, stimulating, and challenging environment.

arfken
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:41 am

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby arfken » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:13 am

I am currently from a third world tropical country.

I would like to ask about the weather.

How cold does it get during winter?

Cornell is one of my dream schools. I hope I can study there someday. :)

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby grae313 » Thu Feb 05, 2009 5:10 pm

arfken wrote:I would like to ask about the weather.


Aaah, the weather. If you go to this link, the average daytime highs are in yellow, and the average nighttime lows are in blue.

You can see that the average high temperature dips down below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Today it is 10 degrees Fahrenheit which is about as cold as daytime temps get here. It started snowing in late November, and we should have snow on the ground until late March. It's January, and most days are overcast, with light to medium snowfall about 30-40% of the days, maybe one out of three or four days is bright and sunny (and cold!).

That said, I am from a warm, dry climate (California) and I really don't think it's that bad. With the right clothes, I stay warm outside, and honestly I'm indoors most of the time anyways. The snow is really beautiful, and fun to play in!

I haven't been here for the spring or early summer yet, but I hear it is spectacular. I arrived late last summer to one of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever seen and wonderful weather. It can be a bit humid in the summer, but not nearly as bad as other places in the US and probably a lot less humid than you are used to. It is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Watching the leaves turn in the fall was also amazing. Some pictures my boyfriend and I took:

Image
Image
Image

So it will be a long, cold winter for you, but remember you can always put on more warm clothes! Unless you think you'd be miserable seeing snow on the ground for four+ months out of the year, I wouldn't let the weather be the deciding factor.

arfken
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:41 am

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby arfken » Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:48 pm

Wow the landscape is really spectacular.

I totally agree that the weather should not be a deciding factor. I guess it's one sacrifice that must be made to pursue one's dreams. Besides, I think I can get used to the weather after some time.

Some follow up questions:
1. Is Ithaca a safe place?
2. Is the cost of living expensive?

Thanks for the reply. I appreciate your posting of pictures. :D

excel
Posts: 257
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:33 am

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby excel » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:01 pm

right hand=gloved, left hand=not gloved,
left hand: :cry: , right hand: :twisted:
:mrgreen:

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby grae313 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:25 pm

arfken wrote:1. Is Ithaca a safe place?
2. Is the cost of living expensive?


It is very safe. The university police sends out emails to all of the students whenever there is any incident, and there have only been two emails, both at the beginning of the semester, both describing occurrences on frat row where people were caught sneaking into someone's home to try and steal furniture! :D The emails reminded people to lock their doors and windows. Ithaca is a small town.

You can look up the cost of living for any city in the US by googleing "cost of living." Here is a site. If the national average is scaled to 100, Ithaca is a 95. Housing is the cheapest part of living in Ithaca.

arfken
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:41 am

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby arfken » Sat Feb 07, 2009 2:23 pm

Thanks for the information. Really helped a lot. Right now, Cornell is definitely my first choice. =)

User avatar
valentino
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:29 am

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby valentino » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:08 pm

arfken, what country are you from?

grae313, how about CM theory and HEP theory in cornell?

arfken
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:41 am

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby arfken » Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:01 am

@ valentino
I'm from nowhere you know. :D
Anyway, congrats on your acceptance to cornell.
Last edited by arfken on Sat Feb 14, 2009 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby grae313 » Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:04 pm

valentino wrote:arfken, what country are you from?

grae313, how about CM theory and HEP theory in cornell?


I've been meaning to get back to you on this with some links to what other people have said on this board about CMT and HEPT, because I'm in no position to compare Cornell's theory department to other schools'. I'm an experimentalist and never looked in to this! I know we have a large number of aspiring theorists in my first-year class... I would take a look at the department's website and read about the different theory research going on (I'm sure you already have).

User avatar
valentino
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:29 am

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby valentino » Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:55 pm

Yes, I have. I was hoping you could tell me things I couldn't read off there, i.e. insider information. Anyway, it's still a long way to go before 04/15 and I only have one admit at the moment. I should just wait for the other schools to get back to me and then do the comparative scouting afterwards. I plan to email Cornell theory students (maybe fliptomato), shouldn't be a bad idea since you said people there are friendly!

I'm mainly concerned with the quality of training more than anything. My current interest is quantum field theory, and a bit of gravity. I would like to ask how strings research is in Cornell, just in case anyone else gets to read this (aside from grae313).

One thing I also like about Cornell is that incoming graduate students are not committed to any area of research, whether theory or experiment, or so the site says. Does this mean there's some kind of lab rotation for the students to get exposure?

Anything else you could share? Many have told me that Ithaca is a nice place to live except for the weather and unless you are accustomed to big city living.

Thanks

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby grae313 » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:17 pm

valentino wrote: Does this mean there's some kind of lab rotation for the students to get exposure?


There is no formal lab rotation, however students are encouraged to seek out research positions as soon as possible and are encouraged to try several out if they so choose. It's really just between you and the research group though--the department doesn't manage any of it.

User avatar
noojens
Posts: 187
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:59 pm

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby noojens » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:20 pm

Just thought I'd chip in my two cents:

Cornell's Applied and Engineering Physics department also has a one-year Master of Engineering degree in Engineering Physics. Students who are rejected from the PhD program in Applied Physics are occasionally admitted to the M.Eng. program instead. You'll probably have to pay tuition for the year, but you come out with an engineering master's (from an extremely flexible curriculum - you can take physics core PhD courses or any math/engineering courses you like, and do research with any applied physics/physics/engineering faculty) and a good feel for grad school life at Cornell. Generally 2-3 of the 8-10 students who graduate with AEP M.Eng. degrees stay on for their PhD, either in Applied Physics or Physics. It's a good way to get a foot in the door - as long as you can get A's in the grad physics courses you take.

I actually applied directly to the M.Eng. program, since I was kind of ambivalent about the prospect of spending five years on a physics PhD. I'm glad I did - having taken a mix of physics and engineering grad courses, I've come to realize that I enjoy engineering a lot more. So next year I'll be applying for engineering PhD programs, with a focus on energy and the environment. My applications should be a lot stronger with the Ivy degree, a year of solid research (publication pending!), and a track record in grad classes.

So if you're not 100% sure you want to do a physics PhD, or want to explore the option of transitioning to an engineering field, or just feel like another year of grad classes and research would help you get into your dream school, then Cornell's M.Eng. program might be right for you. Feel free to PM me if you'd like any details.

luv_juice
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:29 am

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby luv_juice » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:39 am

Hi
I just got admitted to MS in applied physics, and I just want to know how much it costs.
Here in Canada we all get paid in grad school even thought the tuition is around 6000.
The tuition for my program is 29,500 So I'm wondering if I take the offer I will have horrible debt for the next five years

Anyways
Thanks in advance
Cheers

User avatar
noojens
Posts: 187
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:59 pm

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby noojens » Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:52 am

I'm an alum of the AEP MEng.

Expect to pay about 50k USD total for the year in Ithaca (tuition, rent, books, food, beer, coffee, and a plane ticket home for winter break).

You can maybe do better than that if you work as a TA, but MEng students only make a few thousand a semester as TAs and you'll be pretty damn busy with a heavy course load plus your research project.

I didn't work during my degree, but it's been a year and my debts are just about paid off. This degree can significantly increase your earning power (at least it did for me, but it's probably field- and research-dependent). If you're planning to go straight to a PhD program after the MEng, however, then yes - you'll be saddled with debt for a while.

It's a tough decision, but for what it's worth, I would definitely do it again.

Good luck.

deathinacan
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:19 pm

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby deathinacan » Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:50 pm

Is there a minimum GPA cutoff for admission here? I thought I heard it was 3.5 somewhere but then I heard somewhere else they don't have one.

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby grae313 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:58 am

3.0, just like most places.

User avatar
midwestphysics
Posts: 444
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:37 am

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby midwestphysics » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:51 am

deathinacan wrote:Is there a minimum GPA cutoff for admission here? I thought I heard it was 3.5 somewhere but then I heard somewhere else they don't have one.


While 3.0 is the cut-off given, it's probably true that 3.5 is the competitive GPA bottom. A lot of schools have guidelines like that. For instance, I think Notre Dame also has the 3.0 cut-off but I've seen them explicitly say a minimum of 3.3-3.4 to be competitive. So while you still have a chance at 3.0, it's not a good chance.

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby grae313 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:24 am

midwestphysics wrote:
deathinacan wrote:Is there a minimum GPA cutoff for admission here? I thought I heard it was 3.5 somewhere but then I heard somewhere else they don't have one.


While 3.0 is the cut-off given, it's probably true that 3.5 is the competitive GPA bottom. A lot of schools have guidelines like that. For instance, I think Notre Dame also has the 3.0 cut-off but I've seen them explicitly say a minimum of 3.3-3.4 to be competitive. So while you still have a chance at 3.0, it's not a good chance.


That's going to be essentially true at any top 20 school and has nothing to do with Cornell in particular.

deathinacan
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:19 pm

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby deathinacan » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:00 pm

midwestphysics wrote:
deathinacan wrote:Is there a minimum GPA cutoff for admission here? I thought I heard it was 3.5 somewhere but then I heard somewhere else they don't have one.


While 3.0 is the cut-off given, it's probably true that 3.5 is the competitive GPA bottom. A lot of schools have guidelines like that. For instance, I think Notre Dame also has the 3.0 cut-off but I've seen them explicitly say a minimum of 3.3-3.4 to be competitive. So while you still have a chance at 3.0, it's not a good chance.


Well, I should be at about a 3.4 overall and 3.6 physics by the end of the semester, and my advanced physics courses, research, and recommendations should be strong. I kind of coasted through my first 2 years with 3.25 gpa, but I've done better this year with good grades in advanced classes, so maybe with a good GRE score I can have a chance of getting into a top program.

yg9
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:52 am

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby yg9 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:00 am

deathinacan, you can check out my profile, in the Applicant Profile and Admission Results. Incidentally I'm visiting Cornell right now.

Sure, a low GPA is going to be somewhat of a stigma, but, you know, the process is holistic, and the other parts of your application are capable of offsetting a weaker GPA. I would think that in general admissions committees tend to be risk-adverse, by which I mean that the rest of the application has to more than make up for the deficit represented by a low GPA, assuming these things were quantifiable (which is arguably what the admission committee is trying to do). That being said, there's clearly a lot of variance in the weight different schools give to different parts of your application, so perhaps the optimal strategy for someone with a lower GPA is to apply to a relatively larger number of schools. But of course, you should choose schools that fit your research interests well, or else you're probably wasting your money.

deathinacan
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:19 pm

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby deathinacan » Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:48 am

Thank you for all of the replies. They are very helpful.

yg9 wrote:deathinacan, you can check out my profile, in the Applicant Profile and Admission Results. Incidentally I'm visiting Cornell right now.

Sure, a low GPA is going to be somewhat of a stigma, but, you know, the process is holistic, and the other parts of your application are capable of offsetting a weaker GPA. I would think that in general admissions committees tend to be risk-adverse, by which I mean that the rest of the application has to more than make up for the deficit represented by a low GPA, assuming these things were quantifiable (which is arguably what the admission committee is trying to do). That being said, there's clearly a lot of variance in the weight different schools give to different parts of your application, so perhaps the optimal strategy for someone with a lower GPA is to apply to a relatively larger number of schools. But of course, you should choose schools that fit your research interests well, or else you're probably wasting your money.


I just looked at your profile and found it very reassuring. Looks like you really don't need a great gpa to get into a good school, as long as the rest of the application is strong.

goingnuclear
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:12 pm

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby goingnuclear » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:35 pm

deathinacan wrote:Well, I should be at about a 3.4 overall and 3.6 physics by the end of the semester, and my advanced physics courses, research, and recommendations should be strong. I kind of coasted through my first 2 years with 3.25 gpa, but I've done better this year with good grades in advanced classes, so maybe with a good GRE score I can have a chance of getting into a top program.

I realize this post is almost a year old, but I just thought I would give my two cents. My overall GPA is about the same as yours, and my physics GPA a bit higher. I got into Cornell's PhD program this year, and had a phone interview with another ivy.

The reason, like others said, is because the rest of my application was strong. I had a high PGRE (950+), very strong letters, and research exp. which was very closely related to the research I wanted to do at Cornell.

A lot of departments, including top 10, take notice of "interesting" applications that at a glance might be considered mediocre. For example, you slacked off in your first two years and then turned it around. Maybe in your SOP you could put a sentence or two about how you didn't really find your passion until junior year. Some (not all) schools will take this into serious consideration and be more forgiving of your lower GPA. Other examples include if your overall GPA is so-so but your physics GPA is a lot higher, or if your grades are less-than-stellar but you have a rocking PGRE (I'm talking 950-990).

If your grades aren't up to snuff, then own the rest of the application. Write a killer SOP, and have it proofread by like a dozen people. Get awesome letters. Do research pertaining to your field of choice - and if your undergrad department doesn't have said research, start/propose your own. Destroy the PGRE. I think an application like this, to some schools, is actually stronger than the run of the mill "4.0/990" portfolio, as it shows genuine passion for the subject.

I sort of got carried away, the point is - some schools will throw away apps purely based on a superficial GPA cutoff, but some schools will look deeper into the "mediocre" applications, and try to find something that makes that applicant special or different (if something exists). Cornell is one of those schools.

Aikya1
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2016 3:28 pm

Re: Cornell University (MS/PhD - Physics)

Postby Aikya1 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:16 am

Hi,
I have graduated in Computer Science from India. I wish to switch to Astrophysics and I intend to earn a Masters Degree in the same from a good US University like Cornell.
My grades convert to a GPA of about 3.2 in 4.0 credit system.
I have no research experience in physics. I graduated in 2014. Since then I have worked as a Software developer (am still working) in a prestigious Multi National Software Company in India.

Physics GRE is a must for admissions in Astrophysics for any university. PGREs are conducted here in October every year, and I intend to give them this year. I have about 6 months to prepare.

With no background in physics, (just industry experience in computer science) is there any chance that I can get into such a high ranked University like Cornell (in Astrophysics program)? What should be my minimum score in PGRE so as to have a little chance of getting an acceptance? Will my normal GRE score matter more than PGRE? What more can I do to build up a good profile?

Thanks in advance..
Aikya




Return to “Building Physics Graduate School Profiles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest