Foreign Universities as an American student

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Sats
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Foreign Universities as an American student

Postby Sats » Mon May 26, 2014 3:48 pm

Hello, I was wondering if there was anyone here who knows about applications/acceptance to european graduate programs if you're an american student. I'm aware that the programs are different, but I'm unsure by how much and if they even accept mid range students.

I'm looking to study in France/Switzerland, but my GPA is 3.5 overall, (3.2 Physics, 4.0 French, 3.5 Math). Does anybody know where I should look, or if I should just abandon the idea and stay in states?

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midwestphysics
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Re: Foreign Universities as an American student

Postby midwestphysics » Tue May 27, 2014 10:38 pm

Sats wrote:Hello, I was wondering if there was anyone here who knows about applications/acceptance to european graduate programs if you're an american student. I'm aware that the programs are different, but I'm unsure by how much and if they even accept mid range students.

I'm looking to study in France/Switzerland, but my GPA is 3.5 overall, (3.2 Physics, 4.0 French, 3.5 Math). Does anybody know where I should look, or if I should just abandon the idea and stay in states?


I'm by no means an expert as I haven't attended a school outside the US. However, from my limited knowledge of the subject I'm pretty sure you need to screen the schools very carefully. I believe a lot of European schools don't go through the same stages as the US. Here we can go right from bachelors to phd but over there I think a lot them require you to have a masters to pursue a phd. You also have to take into consideration funding and language issues (Switzerland only for you, as some may be in German, but others like ETH are in English), and I'm also pretty sure that the GRE and PGRE don't mean anything to them. Again, this is very limited knowledge that needs fact checking but you should still look into those potential barriers.

ETH though, a fantastic school obviously, has a strange admissions process. You can apply directly to the school, or oddly enough, directly to a single professor. I read a little bit about this back in that day, not sure if it's still around. But If I were you I might try going straight to profs that you want to work with. Zurich itself is kind of boring but you are right in the thick of it all which makes travel really fun. Beware though, Switzerland is insanely expensive, to the point of being insultingly ridiculous.

TakeruK
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Re: Foreign Universities as an American student

Postby TakeruK » Wed May 28, 2014 10:34 am

There are few people that have gone this path on these forums. I also know a few friends who have done this.

The European system is similar to Canada's, where you often need a Masters before a PhD. However, the Masters part is also often unpaid (but not always). Many European universities have $0 application fees so it's worth an application I think, if you are interested and then figure out the funding package before you make a decision.

The PhD part of the program is usually only 3 years and research heavy (all the courses are done in the Masters part). Like Canada, it's really much more like a job than being a student, since it's often the case that the individual professor you want to work for will be the one deciding if they want to hire you (and thus whether you get in). Many "PhD Positions" at European schools are often posted in Job Listings alongside with postdoc and tenure-track positions.

Finally, I know that the French MSc program is fairly different too. You do two 6-month research stints/internship that may or may not be paid. Many French students choose to do this at schools in US and Canada--we always get a couple every year! They also do about 6-8 months of coursework I think.




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