gyro555in wrote:I graduated with a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering (2009) from India(One of Premier Engineering Institutes in India).Since I am very interested in Physics I want to pursue Ph.D in Physics, I have taken a year off to get more exposure in Physics and currently I am researching on Soft matter Physics at One of Premier Research Institutes in India (will be working till July 2010). I am giving Subject GRE(Physics) this November(Confident of getting a good score). I am also doing a course on Theoretical/Mathematical Physics and Certificate Course on AstroPhysics during the weekends.Although during my Engineering I couldn't take Physics Courses(although Mechanical Engineering is perhaps the closest to Physics amongst all Engineering Streams I reckon),I have taken plenty of math courses. Besides this I have plenty of Research & Design Experience in the field of Engineering.
I was wondering whether I can Directly apply for a Ph.D (Physics) in United States(depends on whether i am eligible and availability of funding) or to apply for a MS in Physics(not sure whether International Students are Funded) and then go for a PhD.
This is my first post..Pls Guide me...
excel wrote:I think you can aim directly for (experimental) PhD in top physics programs.
Your current research experience in physics, a letter from your current physics research advisor, and a strong PGRE score should suffice to convince the admission committee of your aptitude in physics. Although a high PGRE may be norm for international students, it has a very different meaning for physics undergraduates vs. non-physics undergraduates. For physics majors, it only reinforces that they know the physics they are supposed to know, but for you, it means that you know enough physics in addition to your mechanical engineering training and reassures the admission committee of your chances at succeeding in the program. Of course, your undergaduate research output in mechanical engineering and its relevance to your intended physics research are crucial to your chances, and you would have to make that case in your statement of purpose. Overall, I think that you can use your mechanical engineering background to get a competitive advantage over conventional physics majors in the admission game.
Applying out of one's undergradaute major is inherently a risky thing, and you should certainly apply to some "safe" programs in addition to the top-ranked programs, and consider grae's tip on applying to terminal masters programs with TA opportunities when choosing these safe programs.
I know that my chances are low due to lack of Physics courses during my Undergraduate days, I am currently doing these following courses, these are of MS Curriculum level and is said to serve as a Prerequisite for a Ph.D in Physics..They are taught as a special program for People interested in pursuing Ph.D in Theoretical/Mathematical Physics for a duration of 2 Semesters by an Independent Organization with Eminent People from Physics Background.
I Semester (Currently studying these courses)
Differential Geometry and Topology
So by the time I get into a graduate school next fall I would be well versed in these courses apart from Research Background in Physics(Soft Condensed Matter). Is this a good reason to apply for a Ph.D or still go for an MS Degree?
Also in India another problem for people from Physics background (B.Sc(Physics)) is its a 3 year course compared to 4 years traditional engineering courses. Graduate schools demand 16 years of Education (12+4) so these people cant be eligible to apply directly for a MS/Ph.D I believe.
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