Overseas Universities

theoretical_phys
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Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 4:16 am

Overseas Universities

Postby theoretical_phys » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:35 pm

I am almost certain that applying to overseas universities has been discussed previously on this forum, but I am unable to locate a thread. I am interested in applying to a few overseas universities that possibly include Durham, Oxford, and Cambridge. However, I only have a B.S. in Physics. I know that most overseas universities require the US equivalent of a Masters degree. I was wondering if anyone on this board could give insight on the pros and cons of a US student entering an overseas university. How exactly would a US student with only a B.S. degree go about applying to a non US graduate school? Would he/she only apply for a Masters degree first and then reapply into a PhD program? Also, I hear funding is quite stingy for foreign students. Is that accurate according to past experience?

I am also in the process of sending out informal emails to different overseas universities with similar questions. I am thinking about including a resume so they can give me advice based on my qualifications and experience.

Thanks! (And I hope this isn't a repetition of a past thread. If so, then just direct me to it!)


Emily/theoretical_phys (who actually wants to be an experimentalist)

shouravv
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Re: Overseas Universities

Postby shouravv » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:51 pm

AB or BA or BS in the US is kind of equivalent to MS in most of Europe. But you need to look into the specific, as "overseas" is pretty "big". Generally speaking, and based on my limited familiarity with European graduate programs, in UK a US 4-year Bachelors is equivalent to a UK Bachelors+Masters (3+1 years). In Germany, through, it is more similar to the US system and some say their college grads (phys/astro) are better prepared than their US counterparts. France and Italy have a mix of many systems in their country alone, you have to ask each school. For example, in France, the polytechnic grads (Diploma holders) get preference over university grads (regular Bachelors holders) etc.

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grae313
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Re: Overseas Universities

Postby grae313 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 2:19 am

shouravv wrote:AB or BA or BS in the US is kind of equivalent to MS in most of Europe.


This is not at all what I've heard. From what I've read and been told, most European schools do not require as many "general education" classes in college and students spend more time taking core physics classes. Consequently, incoming international grad students usually have already had the equivalent of first year graduate classes and are typically a fair bit ahead of their American peers.

schwiss
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Re: Overseas Universities

Postby schwiss » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:09 am

grae313 wrote:
shouravv wrote:AB or BA or BS in the US is kind of equivalent to MS in most of Europe.


This is not at all what I've heard. From what I've read and been told, most European schools do not require as many "general education" classes in college and students spend more time taking core physics classes. Consequently, incoming international grad students usually have already had the equivalent of first year graduate classes and are typically a fair bit ahead of their American peers.


I am from an European country. I don't want to specify which, but we have the Bologna process. We study three years for Bachelor's degree and two years for Master's. We indeed have very few mandatory true general education classes such as history or literature. It is possible to have for about 10% of your courses whatever you want. Some study things like economy, other popular choices include programming, computational methods, languages and more physics.

I think we have quite a heavy mandatory math load for physics students, for example half a year of PDE's during our second year. For the physics materials some examples includes statistical physics during the third year, Fetter's & Walecka's Theoretical Mechanics during the second year and Griffith's QM and EM during the the second and third year, respectively.

For Master's level physics courses we seem to have more width than depth, concentrating on the tools of real (non-theoretical) physics research, which means either some special subject such as nanomaterials or optics, or computational and/or experimental courses. Of course we have the obvious advanced QM, advanced EM, advanced Stat. Phys., etc courses mandatory.

One aspect I really like is that you get training for writing theses. You are required to write a (approximately) 20-page thesis for Bachelor's Degree, usually done after a summer research project, and two 20-page long theses and one maybe 60-page thesis for Master's degree. The page amounts are a stupid measure of the work required, but I couldn't come up with a better one.

I'm not sure how long it usually takes to complete the Doctoral degree, but it's something like four to six years. You have about one year's worth of courses, the rest is research and the thesis. To my knowledge all the students in physics are funded.

Edit:
I should add that we have a dual system similar to France's. The ones of the type I'm attending to are more difficult to get into and the dropout rate is greater, but we are slightly favored by employers.

theoretical_phys
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Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 4:16 am

Re: Overseas Universities

Postby theoretical_phys » Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:47 am

So, I am assuming that it would be best to apply to Masters programs at overseas universities if I only have a BS degree in physics? I can always reapply to a PhD program once I obtain my Masters. Also, I'm mainly looking at universities in England (Durham, Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial, and Queen Mary). Any incite (pros and cons) is greatly appreciated.


Thanks.


Emily (who actually wants to be an experimentalist)

schwiss
Posts: 108
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:49 am

Re: Overseas Universities

Postby schwiss » Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:42 pm

I tried looking for an answer but it seems to be hidden well. I tried http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgrad ... _reqs.html without luck, but you might be more successful. I am by no means an expert of UK education, but I one pro is that you get to research more quickly (immediately) and you also graduate faster. A big con is that, as you said, the funding situation for foreigners is not a good one. This blog might be helpful.




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