kroner wrote:I was wondering if anyone could help me gauge what level of school I have a shot of getting into, particularly if I have a chance at getting into a top school, because I really don't have a clue.
I graduated in 2008 from an ivy league with a very good reputation in math and physics, majoring in pure math (and a minor in CS for whatever that's worth). My GPA and math GPA are only about 3.4, but I tried to be ambitious in the courses I took. I focused mainly on algebra, as well as some analysis, but I didn't take much physics (I stopped just before QM). In the intervening year I've had a change of heart and have decided that theoretical physics is what I really want to be doing. I'm particularly interested in string theory, and I'm hoping my algebra background will be a boon. During that time I've been studying QM on my own and I'll finally get into the thick of GR and hopefully QFT once I'm done with studying for the PGRE. I don't have any research experience. By the numbers:
GRE math: 800 (94%)
GRE verbal: 710 (98%)
GRE writing: 4.5 (54%)
mathematics GRE: 860 (95%)
physics GRE: TBA
I'm shooting for ~900 on the PGRE, so taking that as my hypothetical score, do I have any shot at getting into one of the top schools, like MIT, Cornell, Stanford, etc? Should I bother?
How about these:
Does that seem like a good range? Too wide, too narrow? What on that list (if any) is at a reasonable level? This is still very much a work in progress and everything on it is subject to change. If anyone has any other suggestions for schools to look into that have good programs for string theory, or can direct me toward any good resources for finding schools like that, I'd very much appreciate it. Thanks for your help.
kroner wrote:I was talking to someone at the physics department at my school to get some guidance on this, and some of the schools on my list are there because she recommended them based on my background. They're ones that have someone there she knows of that does good work in mathematical physics or string theory. Some of the others are there because research I've done has shown they have some notable people working on string theory. But I'm sure there are a lot of other possibilities out there, and some or all of these may prove not to be the best options. That's why I'm soliciting advice here on broadening my search.
I'm also trying to get a gauge on how strong my application is, and what tier of school I have a shot of getting into.
twistor wrote:Don't take this the wrong way, but if you only got a 800 on the math GRE after majoring in math, what makes you think you can pull a 900 on the physics GRE?
grae313 wrote:I think you guys are being a bit ridiculous. His test scores are great, 95th percentile on the math GRE is a very good score, he owned the general GRE, and if he's self-studied through GR and QFT before grad school he seems like a strong theory candidate to me except for the lack of theoretical research, which is pretty tough to get anyways. Phys_auth, he wants to go into physics theory, for which a math background is much preferable to an engineering background. He doesn't want to do optics or nuclear physics or atomic physics, he wants to do theory. Why suggest to him experimental physics fields that would be better with an engineering background when he has a math background and wants to do mathematical physics? All good PhD programs are going to require the physics GRE, so no, his math GRE score will not suffice.
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