Suggestions for choosing HEP-Th grad school, given profile

crimsonmist
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:47 am

Suggestions for choosing HEP-Th grad school, given profile

Postby crimsonmist » Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:34 am

I've been visiting the PhysicsGre.com forums for a while now, and have always found some good general advice about apps here. I hope to get some more specific advice on choosing which HEP-Th grad schools to apply to, given my profile:

Undergraduate Institution: University of Cambridge, 4 years (I got a masters at the end of this)
Degree: BA Hons. MSci (The MSci is the integrated masters degree in the UK, i.e. Part III Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory) 1st Class (76/100)
Cumulative GPA: 3.74
Result by year: Year 1- 1st Class, Year 2- 1st Class, Year 3- Upper 2nd Class, Year 4- 1st Class
GRE: Q-168(95%) V-163(92%) Writing-4.5(80%)
PGRE:940 (90%)

Class boundaries at Cambridge: 1st Class: 70-100%, Upper 2nd Class: 60-70%

Relevant courses for HEP-TH: Particle Physics (1st Class), Gauge Field Theory (1st Class), Particle Astrophysics (1st Class), Quantum field theory (1st Class), Advanced Quantum Field Theory (Upper 2nd Class) [The quantum field theory and advanced quantum field theory courses are from Part III Mathematics at DAMTP]

Research experience:
1)Part III project on the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics-applied particle physics (specifically QED) to demonstrate the desired result.
2)Derived a formula for the Reimann Zeta function in terms of integrals over appropriate fourier series in 1st year.
Derived Zeta function regularisation with a friend in the Mathematics department in 4th year.

Awards and achievements:
1.Full Scholarship to study at Cambridge.
2.yearly college awards for exam performance (also named a scholar, and subsequently graduate scholar of my college)
3.Highest mark in year in Part III Math Quantum field theory exam (100%)
4.My average mark in HEP courses (particle physics, QFT etc.) is 87/100, significantly higher than my degree result (76/100)

Bonus Information: I have graduated and am teaching A-Level Physics at a high school in my home country. I am also independently studying several topics in high energy theory:
1)Scattering amplitudes-BCFW recursion, BCJ duality.
2)Chaotic Inflation
3)Collaborating with friends in Cambridge on an extension of the Higgs Model in particle physics.

I think my SOP is good, and I will get LORs from two of my directors of study (A particle experimentalist at the Cavendish, and the other is a college fellow in physics; I have had supervisions with both), and from my Part III Project supervisor (Condensed matter theorist, who gave me a 1st class on the project even though I didn't do it his way and introduced some particle physics).

Its not very common to do much undergraduate research in the UK, and so I am worried about this being a deficiency in my application.

The grad schools I'm thinking of are:
Cornell, Michigan Ann Arbor, SUNY StonyBrook, Brown, UMass Amherst, Ohio State

I would greatly appreciate it if the kind souls on the PhysicsGre forum might suggest any other schools I can apply to (given my grades, GRE, etc.), and also advise me on whether I am aiming too high with Cornell and Michigan Ann Arbor?

Catria
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: Suggestions for choosing HEP-Th grad school, given profile

Postby Catria » Sat Dec 13, 2014 11:12 am

Now you may aim for Duke and, on top of that, some top-20 schools...

crimsonmist
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:47 am

Re: Suggestions for choosing HEP-Th grad school, given profile

Postby crimsonmist » Sat Dec 13, 2014 12:13 pm

Cheers :D . Anyone else have suggestions?

PathIntegrals92
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:42 pm

Re: Suggestions for choosing HEP-Th grad school, given profile

Postby PathIntegrals92 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 12:15 pm

Am I reading your stats wrong? I feel like you have a good gpa+great pgre scores!

I think it's fine to have Cornell and UMich-Ann Arbor on your list. If you want the "ultimate reach school" put down Princeton. There are a couple of people working on BCFW recursion relations at Princeton and IAS. You should probably not mention IAS faculty on your SOP, but if you get accepted to Princeton I think there is a chance you can work with one of them.

I agree with Catria, I think you can have more top 20 schools on your list. Maybe look at UPenn? ( most are working in string theory). UT-Austin and UC San Diego are also a couple of suggestions.

Boston U is decent too.

My one suggestion is try to be as open minded as you can for hep-th. Admissions are so damn competitive, but i am sure you already knew that.

crimsonmist
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:47 am

Re: Suggestions for choosing HEP-Th grad school, given profile

Postby crimsonmist » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:08 pm

Thanks PathIntegrals92. The reason Im somewhat hesitant is because people from the UK don't seem to have much luck with HEP theory in the US for some reason (I have a feeling its the lack of research experience/publications)

PathIntegrals92
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:42 pm

Re: Suggestions for choosing HEP-Th grad school, given profile

Postby PathIntegrals92 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:35 pm

are you applying for Fall 2015? shouldn't your ohio state app be submitted already? You may also want to check out Case Western University too.

If you are applying for Fall 2016: Consider USC also!


crimsonmist wrote:Thanks PathIntegrals92. The reason Im somewhat hesitant is because people from the UK don't seem to have much luck with HEP theory in the US for some reason (I have a feeling its the lack of research experience/publications)


That's interesting because most of the hep-th students I meet are international. Most are from UK, China, and Iran. The next most include India, Brazil, Germany, and Canada.

I have noticed that there were many people in the 2014 admissions and 2013 admissions (international hep-th) who only applied to top 10/20 schools, so their outcome was going to be very small.

Apply smart and you can get admitted somewhere! Looks like you are doing that! Good luck! Is there any reason why you don't want to continue your studies at Cambridge ( apply there?)

Research experience is very important for places like Harvard/Stanford. I think excellent research experience+LORs make up for an otherwise high mediocre stat.

That being said, having research experience is always a plus, because that's what graduate school is all about. Use your SOP to demonstrate that you are capable of doing research and that you are interested.

slowdweller
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:47 am

Re: Suggestions for choosing HEP-Th grad school, given profile

Postby slowdweller » Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:48 pm

Rutgers is also a great place for hep-th. It has one of the largest groups of any school outside of the top 20.

crimsonmist
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:47 am

Re: Suggestions for choosing HEP-Th grad school, given profile

Postby crimsonmist » Sat Dec 13, 2014 4:03 pm

Any thoughts on Johns Hopkins University?




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