Question about Cornell applied physics program

zandertirade
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Question about Cornell applied physics program

Postby zandertirade » Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:09 am

In a previous post someone mentioned that only 2-3 students out of 10, move on from the MS to Phd program at Cornell (applied physics). Now is that all that is accepted from the MS program or is something going on?

I was declined from the Phd program but got accepted to the MS. My goal is to get into the Phd program. How likely is it to get into the Phd program after doing the MS? It is really a risk to bank on getting into the Phd program. The MS is a two year program but it appears that I can knock out some of the course load.

I have only been accepted to one other school. Would the Cornell option set me back?

kroner
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Re: Question about Cornell applied physics program

Postby kroner » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:14 pm

I don't know anything about Cornell's program, but the fact that only 2/10 masters students go to the PhD program could in part be because a lot of masters students don't intend to go on to a PhD.

What's the other offer you got? Is Cornell going to make you pay them?

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grae313
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Re: Question about Cornell applied physics program

Postby grae313 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:19 pm

Noojens should probably be along with his input, but if not I'd PM him. He is an alumni of the master's AEP program at Cornell and can answer a lot of questions about it.

The masters program is not funded and is quite costly, but I agree with kroner that you cannot assume that even the majority of AEP masters students are aiming ultimately for a PhD.

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noojens
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Re: Question about Cornell applied physics program

Postby noojens » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:34 pm

Yep, as Grae mentioned, I'm a Cornell AEP MEng alum. I would've responded to this sooner, but it's been a couple of weeks since I've had time to check out these forums. I hope this information still proves useful.

zandertirade wrote:In a previous post someone mentioned that only 2-3 students out of 10, move on from the MS to Phd program at Cornell (applied physics). Now is that all that is accepted from the MS program or is something going on?

In my year one student out of either 8 or 9 (can't remember exactly) stayed on for the PhD at Cornell. One went on to another Ivy League PhD program, and the others are all working in industry (I'm at a national lab currently).

I don't think there's a hard-and-fast rule about how many MEng students are admitted to the PhD. If you can demonstrate that you're qualified for the PhD program, I think you have a great chance at getting in. My informal understanding of how you demonstrate your qualifications, is that you do an excellent MEng research project and get an A in at least one of the AEP PhD core classes (applied E&M, applied QM, etc). This doesn't sound too bad, but I wouldn't underestimate how tough it is. The MEng program is intense -- you take a heavy course load and spend a lot of time on your research project. Bear in mind that you'll also be doing another round of PhD applications in the fall, which as you know is very time consuming. The Cornell courses were also significantly harder (or at least a lot more time consuming) than the undergrad classes I took.

The MS is a two year program but it appears that I can knock out some of the course load.

I have only been accepted to one other school. Would the Cornell option set me back?

I don't know if the program has changed in the last year, but historically (for the last 30 years or so) it's been a one year program. I did it in 9 months, but some people stay on for the summer. It's fast and it's intense.

Expect to spend $50k +/- 5k for tuition and living for a year in Ithaca. It ain't cheap, but for me it paid off. Nine months and $50k took me from having a bachelors in physics/math from a third-tier state school (not particularly employable!) to having a masters in engineering from the top program in the country (ranked #1 out of about 10 engineering physics programs :P ). Commensurate jump in earning power, marketability, blah blah.

Those are the basics; hope you read this before you make your decision. PM me if you have other questions and I'll try to get back to you today.

-nooj

Noved742
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Re: Question about Cornell applied physics program

Postby Noved742 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:10 pm

I got a similar offer as zandertirade. They offered me the 1 year MEng program, as well as a two year, thesis required, MS program. Do any of you know much about this MS program, or is it relatively new? Being interested in further education I am of course much more inclined toward the MS; however, I wonder how this would look if I went straight into industry. Would the MS be more highly regarded, or would the MEng have the same weight and be only one year (hence cheaper)?

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noojens
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Re: Question about Cornell applied physics program

Postby noojens » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:10 pm

Noved742 wrote:I got a similar offer as zandertirade. They offered me the 1 year MEng program, as well as a two year, thesis required, MS program. Do any of you know much about this MS program, or is it relatively new? Being interested in further education I am of course much more inclined toward the MS; however, I wonder how this would look if I went straight into industry. Would the MS be more highly regarded, or would the MEng have the same weight and be only one year (hence cheaper)?

Interesting, the 2-year MS option is news to me. I didn't think any engineering or science departments at Cornell offered MS degrees, except en route to PhD.

Do they give you any information about funding opportunities for MS students?

zandertirade
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Re: Question about Cornell applied physics program

Postby zandertirade » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:03 pm

There is no funding for the MS program. The website doesn't have much on the difference between the two programs which is why I assume its just a masters thesis. At most schools the difference between the MEng and MS is a master's thesis. I was hoping to learn if it was the norm for most people trying to get into the Phd program. I heard at some schools it is easier to get accepted for Phd program if you are doing a masters there. Its more of a switchover then reapplying. If this is not true for Cornell, then I might want to consider my other option.

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noojens
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Re: Question about Cornell applied physics program

Postby noojens » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:04 pm

Oh, you definitely have an advantage in that you get to meet and take classes with the professors who'll be sitting on your admissions committee. It's not a guarantee, though - you still have to prove your merit by doing well in grad classes and putting together an impressive MEng project (or MS thesis).

I don't really see how a self-funded, two-year MS in physics makes sense for anyone who's planning to hunker down in a PhD program making <$30k/yr for 3-6 years after the MS. Can't imagine how long it would take to pay off $100k in debt for a physics grad student/postdoc/assistant professor, heh. But that's just me.




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