Hello there. I'm an international student (asian male) trying to apply to US grad schools. Here's my background:
Undergraduate degree: "Undergraduate" Master degree in Theoretical Physics from a UK uni (Top 5 in Physics, not Oxbridge)
Grades: We don't have GPA. I was however, top in the cohort overall last year and my average mark is well beyond the first class threshold.
Research experience: Haha
. Besides my current master thesis on topological phases, I only did one or two physics numerical projects. No publications obviously.
GRE: P:990 V:162 Q:164 AW:4
I'm currently looking to apply to schools relatively good at condensed matter theory (topological phases, fractionalized phases, phase transitions, high Tc superconductors, etc) and/or particle theory (Strings, LQG, Black holes etc) and here are my tentative choices (I have a few potential advisors in mind for each of them) :
Okay (I think)
UIUC (got a reply from a professor who says he would consider my application more closely, if that helps)
(Texas at Austin)
Am I being too ambitious? Looking at the previous applicants profile and results, my academic record may look okay, but it's certainly no guarantee to admission, since a lot may still depend on LOR and SOP, or even the reputation of my university. I'm also slightly concerned that my lack of research experience, since apparently the discrepency in opportunities between US and UK is sometimes taken into consideration. What other schools could I consider for safety choices (PhD)?