Mathematical Physics Programs and Can I get In?

PrinOfLeastAction
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:35 pm

Mathematical Physics Programs and Can I get In?

Postby PrinOfLeastAction » Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:15 pm

After just completing my PGRE and seemingly not getting the definitive victory I had hoped, I seem to be at a loss to where I should bother applying for grad school.
My primary disadvantage is that I went to a very mediocre school and underachieved first 3 semesters (for reasons that are personal but somewhat excusable). Since then I have had only one B in any class (a 4.0 in physics). By the end of this semester I will have taken 2 grad courses for a grade and audited a general relativity class. Also I will take a grad QFT class and differential geometry course in my last semester. I will graduate with two degrees a BS in Physics and a BS in Mathematics. I have only one year of research, but with that research I am currently the sole author on a paper currently in review at Journal of Mathematical Physics. Like many people I am interested in QFT and gravity, but I would prefer to approach them from a more formal standpoint. I would love to get into the most rigorous programs but I feel my undergraduate education is slightly lacking in some areas (I have not taken a topology or a functional analysis course; my math credits basically cover a year of real analysis and algebra, PDE, basic complex, and a bunch of peripheral courses).

Let's suppose the paper goes through and I get very good recommendations from some respectable physicists
my general GRE scores are: quant-800, verbal-680
my overall GPA is 3.7+ and Physics is 4.0
Also I am a Sigma Pi Sigma inductee
Lets suppose my PGRE percentiles are anywhere from 70-95 (don't feel too confident about my PGRE)

What is the best Mathematical or high energy theory program I stand a fair chance at getting into?

CarlBrannen
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 11:34 pm

Re: Mathematical Physics Programs and Can I get In?

Postby CarlBrannen » Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:46 pm

PrinOfLeastAction wrote:What is the best Mathematical or high energy theory program I stand a fair chance at getting into?


Of course they're going to tell you to look at the "results" from prior years. But I'll tell you straight up that if I were you, I'd be applying at maybe 6 of the best and another 6 of the medium.

And I'd apply to those schools in mathematical physics rather than high energy; it should be easier to get in, it's exactly what your bachelor's are about, and what you choose really doesn't matter much.

By the way, the PGRE seems mostly to be about physics trivia. For example:

A snark is:
a) three quarks,
b) a quark and an anti-quark,
c) a composite particle made of two binons,
d) a particle found only in leptons.




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