Astro harder than Physics, for int'l students?

transparent_silvery
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Astro harder than Physics, for int'l students?

Postby transparent_silvery » Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:34 am

I'm considering the Astronomy programs of a few schools. I heard that because the size of Astronomy department is usually small, it's harder than Physics for international students to get into due to funding problem. Can anyone confirm that for me?

Also, I heard that Berkeley's Astro has not been taking international students for a few years already. There's a professor that I want to work with... Can anyone confirm with me about this too?

Many thanks.

bfollinprm
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Re: Astro harder than Physics, for int'l students?

Postby bfollinprm » Sat Aug 27, 2011 4:35 pm

Yes, the professor you want to work with can confirm this, though I can't be positive he checks this forum. You should probably email him just in case.

I imagine though that if they accept applications from internationals, they don't have a policy explicitly forbidding international applicants. It is hard to get into top 10 schools for internationals No Matter What, so I don't know how much harder it is to get into astro programs. I imagine this depends on the school. Several schools (Chicago in particular) allow you to apply to multiple departments; in these cases applying to Astro + Phys only really costs you an extra application fee. In other cases, check to see if the professor has appointments in both departments, and if so which department his office is located in. He's more likely to have pull in that department, and your application will look less silly going to that department.


To summarize, you should apply to whichever one the professor(s) of interest is/are (physically) located in, or both Astro and Physics if possible.

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InquilineKea
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Re: Astro harder than Physics, for int'l students?

Postby InquilineKea » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:12 am

I'm just wondering - does the funding problem for internationals relate to TAships, RAships, or both?

Not an international applicant myself, but it is useful information when I'm reading applicant profiles.

TakeruK
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Re: Astro harder than Physics, for int'l students?

Postby TakeruK » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:31 pm

I am also an international student applying to Berkeley Astro. I guess this thread is pretty old now, but maybe it can be useful archival information for the future.

I emailed profs at Berkeley Astro, where I identified myself as an international student in the first line. They encouraged applying and did not say anything about a policy against accepting international students, so I don't think they are purposely rejecting internationals.

The funding problem is not really with TA or RAships. From talking to profs in Canada who have had experience with the UC system, the problem is state funded so tuition for international students is much higher than domestics. So, in order to provide a complete funding package for international students, it will cost the Department a lot more. I am pretty sure international and domestic students would get paid the same in a TA or RAship, but in almost every case, the Department ends up paying the difference between domestic and international tuition in some special tuition waiver/award. They do this so that all students have the same after-tuition stipend.

Thus, the extra cost for these tuition offsets make it hard for some schools to take a lot of international students. From sites like gradschoolshopper, the UC system's international student population is only about 10%, compared to east coast schools with 30%+.

I think the above reasons are the main cause for low international student acceptance rates in the UC system.

Astro departments are smaller than physics, I think Berkeley takes on about 10-20 new students a year, so this means only 1-2 international spots. However, I think the astro student pool is also smaller than physics (but maybe not in the same proportion), so I don't think it's significantly harder for international students in astronomy vs. physics.

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InquilineKea
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Re: Astro harder than Physics, for int'l students?

Postby InquilineKea » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:44 pm

Yeah - I'm generally interested in threads for archival purposes - the recency of a thread does not matter much to me.

Thanks for the reply - TakeruK - that was very useful information (though I wonder if the UCs preferentially give funding to in-state students? Maybe it's possible for them to simply establish California residence?). I know one international applicant in my field of interest who basically got offers from Caltech, MIT, Chicago, Yale, and Columbia (for Geoscience) - so it's basically a signal that it didn't hurt him that much.

Though this quote below (from earlier in this thread) makes me question something.

I imagine though that if they accept applications from internationals, they don't have a policy explicitly forbidding international applicants. It is hard to get into top 10 schools for internationals No Matter What, so I don't know how much harder it is to get into astro programs.


Hmm - is it especially hard to get into top 10 (physics) schools for internationals relative to domestics? Or is it simply a possible artifact of the fact that international applicants have fewer professors who have connections with American professors? (something that may not apply for Canadian applicants).

kangaroo
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Re: Astro harder than Physics, for int'l students?

Postby kangaroo » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:10 pm

InquilineKea wrote:Yeah - I'm generally interested in threads for archival purposes - the recency of a thread does not matter much to me.


Good grief, the forum necromancer. Go get yourself some crackers if you're that peckish.

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InquilineKea
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Re: Astro harder than Physics, for int'l students?

Postby InquilineKea » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:22 pm

Necromancy is preferable to posting threads that have already been posted. :)

It's a more useful resource to future generations when people don't have to search through dozens of different threads to find everything they want to look for.

kangaroo
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Re: Astro harder than Physics, for int'l students?

Postby kangaroo » Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:00 pm

InquilineKea wrote:Necromancy is preferable to posting threads that have already been posted. :)

It's a more useful resource to future generations when people don't have to search through dozens of different threads to find everything they want to look for.


Don't try to paint your ego gratification with altruistic motives.




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