what oh what to do

ice109
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what oh what to do

Postby ice109 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:03 am

i have pie in the sky dreams of going to grad school for physics

i graduated last fall with a degree in pure math from florida state university. the degree would have been double major but i never took advanced lab (but took every other required class) because i thought i wanted to do pure math.

the good: gpa 3.72, lower in physics (lots of Bs).

the bad: absolutely no research and only 1 letter of rec, from my adv calc teacher.

the mediocre: i'm in the peace corps right now, teaching math and physics, and concurrently studying for the pgre (which i'll take sometime next year)

ive read on here that i should probably try for a master's to bolster my resume. but will that cost me money? there's no way i can justify that with the 20k of debt i have from undergrad. i don't think that even a master's will accept me with only 1 letter of rec anyway? ive also been looking at canadian graduate schools.

obviously id like to go to a really good grad school for the phd (top 10). is it still feasible for me? what are your suggestions pgre community.

i always was passionate and capable but now that i'm older (25) i'm more mature and have a more dedicated work ethic so i have little doubt about my prospects should i get in (arrogant i know).

basically the question is how can i worm my way, by dint of hardwork, into a good phd program? but practically the question is are there funded master's programs that will accept me with only 1, weak, letter of rec?

Minovsky
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby Minovsky » Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:22 am

ice109 wrote:obviously id like to go to a really good grad school for the phd (top 10). is it still feasible for me?


Given that you have "lots of Bs" in your Physics classes, no recs from Physics faculty, no research exp., you never really had a good chance at the "top 10". I don't mean to discourage you from graduate physics, but even people with better stats than you don't have a good shot at the "top 10". There are many schools which have great physics PhD programs that are not "top 10". You wouldn't say your FSU degree is worthless just because it isn't from MIT, CalTech, etc. would you? Same for graduate; the name of your school isn't the most important thing. If you only care about brand-name recognition, you don't care enough about Physics to do a PhD.

To my knowledge, graduate applications require 3 recs, so having 1 isn't enough to even complete the application, let alone get accepted (some masters may require less though). Do you have a supervisor in the Peace Corps? Since you are teaching math and physics, I think a rec from your supervisor would be good for your application. This rec could speak to your "dedicated work ethic," which is something that is important in grad school. Considering that you only graduated last Fall, is it possible that you could get in contact with 1-2 of your old professors and have them write recs for you? Even if you're not sending applications this year, you should get these recs written while they still remember you and then have them hold on to their letters until you actually apply.

Funded MS programs are rare and I don't know specifically of any, though you might be able to find one at a school which offers the MS as it's highest degree. You may be able to get into a lower-ranked PhD program. I don't know anything about Canadian schools' funding policies.

ice109
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby ice109 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:48 am

Minovsky wrote:Given that you have "lots of Bs" in your Physics classes, no recs from Physics faculty, no research exp., you never really had a good chance at the "top 10". I don't mean to discourage you from graduate physics, but even people with better stats than you don't have a good shot at the "top 10". There are many schools which have great physics PhD programs that are not "top 10". You wouldn't say your FSU degree is worthless just because it isn't from MIT, CalTech, etc. would you? Same for graduate; the name of your school isn't the most important thing. If you only care about brand-name recognition, you don't care enough about Physics to do a PhD.


you've misunderstood because i didn't explain myself well i guess. i knew/know that my chances weren't good when i graduated last fall. what i meant by "is it still feasible" was given that i have a subpar physics record can i still get into a top 10 grad school. i know this is an oft-asked ambiguous question which is why i asked the more specific one as well.

the truth is that during undergrad i concentrated on pure math, and my grades reflect this in that they're quite excellent. i was imagining that i could be treated as a pure math BS desirous of jumping ships.

the ambiguous questions really asks whether a master's degree can make up for the sins, not hardcore sins either, of an undergraduate degree.

Minovsky wrote:To my knowledge, graduate applications require 3 recs, so having 1 isn't enough to even complete the application, let alone get accepted (some masters may require less though). Do you have a supervisor in the Peace Corps? Since you are teaching math and physics, I think a rec from your supervisor would be good for your application. This rec could speak to your "dedicated work ethic," which is something that is important in grad school.


my direct supervisor is a national that barely speaks english. my supervisor in pc speaks decent english but has very little contact with me.

Minovsky wrote:Considering that you only graduated last Fall, is it possible that you could get in contact with 1-2 of your old professors and have them write recs for you? Even if you're not sending applications this year, you should get these recs written while they still remember you and then have them hold on to their letters until you actually apply.

i could get one more perfunctory letter from the professor i had for abstract alg.

Minovsky wrote:Funded MS programs are rare and I don't know specifically of any, though you might be able to find one at a school which offers the MS as it's highest degree. You may be able to get into a lower-ranked PhD program. I don't know anything about Canadian schools' funding policies.


:(

what about enrolling a lower-ranked phd and jumping ship after the master's? someone on physicsforums suggested that to me but i felt like that was unethical.

Minovsky
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby Minovsky » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:01 pm

ice109 wrote:you've misunderstood because i didn't explain myself well i guess. i knew/know that my chances weren't good when i graduated last fall. what i meant by "is it still feasible" was given that i have a subpar physics record can i still get into a top 10 grad school. i know this is an oft-asked ambiguous question which is why i asked the more specific one as well.
My response still stands (in brief: No, it is not feasible). This is exactly what I thought you meant. Perhaps I should clarify: if it wasn't feasible to begin with, how can it be "still" feasible? If you knew your chances were not good then, what has happened in the past year to make your chances appreciably different? The way I see it, the two questions aren't any different. Can you elaborate on how my response doesn't answer your question?

To be blunt: Your chances of getting into a prestigious Physics PhD program is not significantly different than 0%. Its OK though, it is for most people trying for a PhD in physics. Which is why most people who have PhD in physics did not get it from a "top 10" school.

A MS in physics is likely feasible for you, but you will probably have to pay for at least some of it. Success in a MS program can make up for minor deficiencies in undergrad, but I don't know the stats/successfulness of such applicants.

ice109 wrote:what about enrolling a lower-ranked phd and jumping ship after the master's? someone on physicsforums suggested that to me but i felt like that was unethical.
IMHO, you're probably better off just staying at the "lower-ranked" school. From what I've gathered, transferring between PhD programs is awkward and not generally advised, especially if your sole reason for transferring is for more prestige. You'll find this written all over the forums, you do NOT need to go to a "highly-ranked" school for your PhD to become a good physicist.

If you're interested in the more mathematical aspects of physics, you may have better luck getting into an applied math program given your stronger math background.

ice109
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby ice109 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:43 pm

Minovsky wrote:My response still stands (in brief: No, it is not feasible). This is exactly what I thought you meant. Perhaps I should clarify: if it wasn't feasible to begin with, how can it be "still" feasible? If you knew your chances were not good then, what has happened in the past year to make your chances appreciably different? The way I see it, the two questions aren't any different. Can you elaborate on how my response doesn't answer your question?


still as in there are still things i can do to demonstrate merit.

Minovsky wrote:To be blunt: Your chances of getting into a prestigious Physics PhD program is not significantly different than 0%. Its OK though, it is for most people trying for a PhD in physics. Which is why most people who have PhD in physics did not get it from a "top 10" school.


let me be blunt: a phd in physics from a low ranked school would be a waste of 6 salary years that i could not justify solely as "pursuing intellectual curiosity" which is the only reason i do physics. the point being that if i obtained a phd from a highly ranked school it would be marketable afterward, in industry, finance, maybe even academia.

Minovsky wrote:A MS in physics is likely feasible for you, but you will probably have to pay for at least some of it. Success in a MS program can make up for minor deficiencies in undergrad, but I don't know the stats/successfulness of such applicants.

i don't know what this means. stats regarding what? transferring to better programs? am i mistaken in considering no research a minor deficiency?

Minovsky wrote:IMHO, you're probably better off just staying at the "lower-ranked" school. From what I've gathered, transferring between PhD programs is awkward and not generally advised, especially if your sole reason for transferring is for more prestige. You'll find this written all over the forums, you do NOT need to go to a "highly-ranked" school for your PhD to become a good physicist.

define good physicist?
Minovsky wrote:
If you're interested in the more mathematical aspects of physics, you may have better luck getting into an applied math program given your stronger math background.


i was but now i'm not.

look i appreciate the advice but really the only thing i was hoping to get out of this thread was maybe a list of schools where i could do a funded master's.

michael
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby michael » Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:56 pm

Funded masters are quite rare. There may be others and you should look around but the only one I know of is at the Perimeter Institute in Canada. As I understand, it is very competitive though - comparable to getting into a top 10 phd program, so I don't know if its worth a shot.

Maybe instead of doing a masters you could do some research in a group for a year. If you get a publication out during that year and get 990 on the GRE you probably would have a pretty good chance at then getting in to a top 10 program.

ice109
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby ice109 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:24 pm

michael wrote:Funded masters are quite rare. There may be others and you should look around but the only one I know of is at the Perimeter Institute in Canada. As I understand, it is very competitive though - comparable to getting into a top 10 phd program, so I don't know if its worth a shot.

Maybe instead of doing a masters you could do some research in a group for a year. If you get a publication out during that year and get 990 on the GRE you probably would have a pretty good chance at then getting in to a top 10 program.


that would be ideal but i didnt think such things happened. would it be just me volunteering to work for some group for free?

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midwestphysics
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby midwestphysics » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:17 pm

I'm with Minovsky on all of this.

I rank your chances worse than winning the lottery, and that's the case with a lot of good students. There are only so many spots at the top schools, and a lot of perfectly qualified people who don't get in. Secondly, as he also said, if you think that rank is what really matters don't bother getting a phd, go get a job. High ranked schools don't automatically mean great physicists, it's just that great physics prospects have a better chance of making it in. The quality of these schools are more a product of the quality of their students and not the other way around. So if you think the school determines the quality of the physicist save yourself and all of us the trouble of having to deal with you and go do something else. As for transferring out of programs, not only is it strongly frowned upon but most schools don't even let it happen. Also, I have never ever heard of someone successfully transferring from a low ranked school to a top ten in a physics grad program, not only because of the rarity of transfers, but what makes you think a top 10 would want anything to do with a student in those circumstances. From the few transfers I've heard of, you either transfer to a school of relatively the same rank or lower, you don't move up and definitely as much as you would have to.

If you want to improve you app, it will take awhile, so if time is money to you, you'd be wasting a lot of it.

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midwestphysics
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby midwestphysics » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:25 pm

Minovsky wrote:My response still stands (in brief: No, it is not feasible). This is exactly what I thought you meant. Perhaps I should clarify: if it wasn't feasible to begin with, how can it be "still" feasible? If you knew your chances were not good then, what has happened in the past year to make your chances appreciably different? The way I see it, the two questions aren't any different. Can you elaborate on how my response doesn't answer your question?


ice109 wrote:still as in there are still things i can do to demonstrate merit.


not as much as you think, unless you're willing to put in some years of research and boost those physics grades.

Minovsky wrote:To be blunt: Your chances of getting into a prestigious Physics PhD program is not significantly different than 0%. Its OK though, it is for most people trying for a PhD in physics. Which is why most people who have PhD in physics did not get it from a "top 10" school.


ice109 wrote:let me be blunt: a phd in physics from a low ranked school would be a waste of 6 salary years that i could not justify solely as "pursuing intellectual curiosity" which is the only reason i do physics. the point being that if i obtained a phd from a highly ranked school it would be marketable afterward, in industry, finance, maybe even academia.


already covered, don't bother getting a phd if that's how you think.
Minovsky wrote:A MS in physics is likely feasible for you, but you will probably have to pay for at least some of it. Success in a MS program can make up for minor deficiencies in undergrad, but I don't know the stats/successfulness of such applicants.


ice109 wrote:i don't know what this means. stats regarding what? transferring to better programs? am i mistaken in considering no research a minor deficiency?


in the top 10's case, that's not a minor deficiency, neither are mediocore physics grades, etc. You're in a big hole, not a minor speed bump.

Minovsky wrote:IMHO, you're probably better off just staying at the "lower-ranked" school. From what I've gathered, transferring between PhD programs is awkward and not generally advised, especially if your sole reason for transferring is for more prestige. You'll find this written all over the forums, you do NOT need to go to a "highly-ranked" school for your PhD to become a good physicist.


ice109 wrote:define good physicist?


If we have to, you're not qualified to be one.
Last edited by midwestphysics on Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:36 pm, edited 4 times in total.

ice109
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby ice109 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:26 pm

midwestphysics wrote:If you want to improve you app, it will take awhile, so if time is money to you, you'd be wasting a lot of it.

lets pretend for a moment time and money are not objects. what could i do?

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midwestphysics
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby midwestphysics » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:30 pm

ice109 wrote:
midwestphysics wrote:If you want to improve you app, it will take awhile, so if time is money to you, you'd be wasting a lot of it.

lets pretend for a moment time and money are not objects. what could i do?


Short answer, a lot of research with some publications, and a lot of physics classes to show your skill. Even then, your chances will improve, but you'll be behind bachelors students ready to go out of the gate.

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Re: what oh what to do

Postby Minovsky » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:46 pm

If time and money are no obstacle, then a MS program is probably your best bet. Another option is to try landing an entry-level job at a research lab. I don't know specifically of any funded MS programs, but you could try looking into the California State University system (CSUs, different than the UCs). Maybe some schools in Florida offer some Physics MS programs?

To help you see that rank is not important, here's what happened to the graduates of William & Mary (a low ranked school): http://www.wm.edu/as/physics/people/graduate/recent_phd/index.php
Postdocs at MIT, Stanford, CERN, researchers at government labs, NASA, etc. These are jobs I think anyone would be happy to have, regardless of where they graduated from.

A few of the physics faculty at FSU got their degrees from non-top 10 schools. e.g. Oregon State, Iowa State, etc.

A PhD in Physics is not exactly the most marketable degree you can get. You want a marketable degree, go for engineering, computer science, finance. Also, if you're not interested in math, you're not interested in possibly the most marketable non-academic skill of a Physics PhD (but of course, not the only skill). To my knowledge, physicists in financial firms pretty much only do mathematical work.

I'm trying to make you aware that you can have a good career attending a school which isn't top-10. I do think that you may have a chance at less-competitive PhD programs, but there's just too much competition at the top-10s for you to have a viable shot.

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quizivex
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby quizivex » Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:38 pm

@ice109: I agree with everyone above.

Taking time off just for resume-building is a huge risk. I'd only consider it if you're sure you can get a first-authored publication and get a 990 on the PGRE.

...unless you are a female and/or minority. That might change things.

ice109
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby ice109 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:53 am

quizivex wrote:@ice109: I agree with everyone above.

Taking time off just for resume-building is a huge risk. I'd only consider it if you're sure you can get a first-authored publication and get a 990 on the PGRE.

...unless you are a female and/or minority. That might change things.


im a poor first generation immigrant from moldova who's paid (half scholarships half loans) his own way through college. does that count?


Minovsky wrote:If time and money are no obstacle, then a MS program is probably your best bet. Another option is to try landing an entry-level job at a research lab. I don't know specifically of any funded MS programs, but you could try looking into the California State University system (CSUs, different than the UCs). Maybe some schools in Florida offer some Physics MS programs?

To help you see that rank is not important, here's what happened to the graduates of William & Mary (a low ranked school): http://www.wm.edu/as/physics/people/graduate/recent_phd/index.php
Postdocs at MIT, Stanford, CERN, researchers at government labs, NASA, etc. These are jobs I think anyone would be happy to have, regardless of where they graduated from.

A few of the physics faculty at FSU got their degrees from non-top 10 schools. e.g. Oregon State, Iowa State, etc.

william and mary is a good school. to wit: i know i couldn't get in there.
Minovsky wrote:

A PhD in Physics is not exactly the most marketable degree you can get. You want a marketable degree, go for engineering, computer science, finance. Also, if you're not interested in math, you're not interested in possibly the most marketable non-academic skill of a Physics PhD (but of course, not the only skill). To my knowledge, physicists in financial firms pretty much only do mathematical work.

well my thinking was that technical skills, like the kind one would obtain working in condensed matter experiments would be more marketable. im quite partial to math in fact but i know if i get a theory degree it'll be useless outside of computational industries.

the whole physicist->quantitative analyst thing is something i hear a lot and i think it's just a physics community meme for the most part. yes maybe most people doing quantitative work at financial firms on "the street" are physics/math phds but that doesnt mean there are many of those positions available. on the other hand technology companies that work with embedded devices, semi-conductors, etc are sprouting up everywhere.

id love to be wrong though, love to have my cake (study theory) and eat it too (be marketable afterward).
Minovsky wrote:
I'm trying to make you aware that you can have a good career attending a school which isn't top-10. I do think that you may have a chance at less-competitive PhD programs, but there's just too much competition at the top-10s for you to have a viable shot.


yea i guess i shouldn't have said top 10, i guess i meant good schools. william and mary would be great but like i said i feel my chances at a school like that are, to first order, no different from chances at a t10.

so then, since this is the school selection subforum, where should i be applying? i've alluded to interest in cond-mat exp but i guess i have no real preference because i have zero research experience, so discriminating based on particular research groups at potential universities would be difficult.

TheBeast
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby TheBeast » Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:56 am

The idea of a Canadian Master's was thrown around earlier in the thread. The upside is that these are funded. The downside is that with only one letter of recommendation and no research experience you're not going to stand at very good chance at getting in anywhere.

If you want to attempt to gain admission to a PhD program, I suggest that email some profs at places that you think are doing cool research and see if they would be willing to take you on to gain research experience. Eventually, they might want to take you on as a PhD student. This is discussed to a certain degree at viewtopic.php?f=25&t=3886&hilit=smiling

Or, enroll as a non-degree student at a school somewhere and take some grad level physics classes. While you're there, try to strike up contacts with some profs and start doing research with them. You'll eventually have to apply into PhD programs, but you'll have a better profile with your research experience, letters and hopefully good physics marks from the classes you've just taken.

Both of these options take time and money and there's no guarantee of success. But, if you really want to get a PhD in experimental physics, I think these are some of the best things you can do to increase your chances of success. The big question you'll have to ask yourself is whether you want the physics PhD badly enough to want to take this gamble.

ice109
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby ice109 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:23 pm

TheBeast wrote:snip

good advice dude. thanks a lot. this is exactly what i was hoping for and exactly what i didn't get, just like the OP in the other thread mentioned, from physicsforums .

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midwestphysics
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby midwestphysics » Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:36 pm

The issue with trying to give you school suggestions, without basing it heavily on and with strong personal reasoning toward a specific field of research or a pair of specific fields is that it is like playing Russian roulette with your physics future. You say that you were interested in CM, and from what I gather only because of some false sense of good marketability, and then you said it doesn't really matter. While I agree that you can't really know what you're truly interested in unless you've done some kind of research, even if in a different field because those situations can still direct you toward and introduce you to fields that do interest you. It creates a problem with a profile like yours. The very best schools always have a variety of fields that are available and outstanding in their resources. In the range of schools I think you'd be forced to look at, while some of them are extremely good, that is usually confined to a field or two. So, in order to pick a school you need to have a relatively good idea of what you want to do, because the options don't always exist and even when they do sometimes they're not the best options. You talked about improving your profile, above all I'd focus on research if you did. It doesn't just prove to schools that you're capable of contributing where it really matters, but it proves to both of you that you have at least tasted what physics is really all about and still want to do it. I have a friend who loves taking physics classes, reading about it, but a lot times hates doing research because of how disorganized and frustrating the unknowns can be. On the other hand I have another buddy who hates the mundane nature of some of the classes, never cracks a book more than he has to, but absolutely loves doing research. Both want to go to graduate school, but from what I've seen the latter is not only surprisingly more capable, but more inclined to enjoy working in physics. The moral of that little story, you don't know if you want to do physics unless you've done research, it's whole different world.

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Dorian_Mode
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby Dorian_Mode » Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:15 am

I basically agree with everything that's been said in this thread, but I would like to mention that one of the graduate students from my research group at Hawaii transferred to the University of Michigan last year, which would count as a significant jump in program prestige. That said, I wouldn't plan on following that example: he was rejected or waitlisted at every school he applied to, and I think the only reason he managed to get off the waitlist at Michigan was that he had traveled to Ann Arbor over winter break and talked extensively with a few professors whom he had interest in working with. Another student I know who was trying to transfer was rejected everywhere.

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Re: what oh what to do

Postby ali8 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:18 pm

I imagine your "good" life to be as follow:

- Apply to a Master program at a university ranked between 70 and 100.
- Get 3.7+ GPA in grad courses
- Manage one or two published papers in a respectful journal.
- Get 900+ in PGRE

After finishing the master, you are ready to apply to PhD programs ranked between 20 and 50.
If you want a top 10 school, you need your papers to be first authoritative, that's my opinion.

Good luck !

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Re: what oh what to do

Postby Minovsky » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:37 am

ice109 wrote:...
william and mary is a good school. to wit: i know i couldn't get in there.
...
well my thinking was that technical skills, like the kind one would obtain working in condensed matter experiments would be more marketable. im quite partial to math in fact but i know if i get a theory degree it'll be useless outside of computational industries.

the whole physicist->quantitative analyst thing is something i hear a lot and i think it's just a physics community meme for the most part. yes maybe most people doing quantitative work at financial firms on "the street" are physics/math phds but that doesnt mean there are many of those positions available. on the other hand technology companies that work with embedded devices, semi-conductors, etc are sprouting up everywhere.

id love to be wrong though, love to have my cake (study theory) and eat it too (be marketable afterward).
...
yea i guess i shouldn't have said top 10, i guess i meant good schools. william and mary would be great but like i said i feel my chances at a school like that are, to first order, no different from chances at a t10.
...
so then, since this is the school selection subforum, where should i be applying? i've alluded to interest in cond-mat exp but i guess i have no real preference because i have zero research experience, so discriminating based on particular research groups at potential universities would be difficult.
I know W&M is a good school. I said it was a "low-ranked school", which is not the same thing as saying it is "not good". They're also much more known for undergraduate studies than for physics-graduate study. Graduate and undergraduate applications to the same school are very different and are not necessarily similar in regards to competitiveness. I think your chances at W&M are much better than at a top-10. Similarly, Dartmouth is top-tier and ranked #11 for undergraduate, but is only #70 for graduate physics. To put that in perspective, FSU's graduate physics is ranked #48.

I'm confused, first you say you're not interested in math, but now you say you're quite partial to math. To reiterate, an applied math program might float your boat: applied math people often do the same research as theoretical physicists at the same school and often collaborate with each other.

Yes, experimentalists probably have a better chance in industry given their hardware skills.

You mentioned finance first, which is why I mentioned it in my response. What do you mean by "just a physics community meme for the most part"? Theorists can certainly be marketable in non-academic jobs, but the ones I know of are quantitative-oriented rather than physics-oriented. Not saying a theorist can't get a job in the tech industry, I just haven't heard of it as being a big market for theorists. There's also the fact that a lot of tech companies only like people with a degree that says "________ Engineering" and have an irrational bias against physicists.

For school suggestions, I suppose you could start at W&M, there's some good CM stuff there, among other things. You can also search this site fro schools by field: http://www.gradschoolshopper.com/. To get a general feel for how competitive programs are, take a look at the US News rankings for physics grad schools. Notice that this list is almost completely different than the undergraduate list (or rankings for other graduate programs for that matter). As midwestphysics said, giving lower ranked school suggestion without a research field in mind is really hard to do.

Try to think back to what your favorite physics classes were, that may help you get a better idea of what field might interest you.

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: what oh what to do

Postby WhoaNonstop » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:36 pm

ice109 wrote:william and mary is a good school. to wit: i know i couldn't get in there.


I think you'd have a fairly good shot. I'm currently at William & Mary myself for graduate studies. By the way, rankings are a difficult way to address your chances for a successful career. It should be weighted more heavily on the specific adviser you choose and most importantly on the work you do as an individual. Of course, school name/rank does matter, but I highly doubt many places crack out their "rankings" to compare candidates for a job position.

With this said, the reputation of the name of the school is actually one of the "secret" reasons I chose to go to William & Mary (of course I also had the choice to attend Brown). Not because it is reputable in Physics (I'd say it's "mid" ranked), but because the school is reputable in general and if you even have a hinting that you will enter a different job field after your PhD (say finance) like I do, having a decent "overall" name won't hurt you.

-Riley




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