Advice needed please.

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

Dave
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:19 am

Advice needed please.

Postby Dave » Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:12 am

Hi, so this being my first post I guess I should introduce myself, I'm Dave and I'm about to go into my third, and final, year of the Bsc physics course at Bristol university in England. My main interest is in the non theoretical materials science field.

I'm hoping to do some postgraduate study in America. But I'm very nervous about the whole application process as I have a history of not doing as well as I should do in exams.

I'm primarily worried about the GREs and my average from this year which, using my Uni's conversion scale is a 3.0. I plan to do much better next year by working myself as hard as I can. My application will probably be in the Fall of this year, for the Fall of 2009.

I will be applying to grad schools in California, hopefully the more prestigious ones, mostly ones near LA I think, and I was wondering what sort of GPA's and GRE's are usual to get into Physics Phd or Msc programs in that area?

I do luckily have a few redeeming qualities, these being that I have unpaid work experience with both an engineering firm and with an MRI scanner. Both of those have glowing reports, but were a number of years ago (3 or 4 I think). Furthermore I am currently working as an intern for Shell in Holland.

I also think I should be able to acquire some excellent letters of recommendation. But I'm worried this won't be enough.

So, what do you guys think?

doom
Posts: 171
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:42 pm

Re: Advice needed please.

Postby doom » Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:34 pm

First of all, for the type of schools it sounds like you're looking at, they pretty much only admit students who are looking for a PhD. A terminal master's is usually for those who can't quite make it in grad school or who lose interest in a PhD.

In addition, you're setting your sights pretty high in applying to prestigious California schools. The public schools in California (UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, Berkeley, etc.) are notorious for accepting very few foreign students because of the way they are funded. The top private schools in the area (Caltech, Stanford) are also very hard to get into because they are top-notch programs. Even if you have your heart set on SoCal as of right now, I would recommend looking around at some different schools' websites to try to diversify what schools you apply to. And you may even fall in love with one of those schools more so than a California school.

I don't know enough about materials science to know if your internships will be all that helpful or not. Are they research internships? Research experience is key. Try to do some research this year if you can.

Dave
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:19 am

Re: Advice needed please.

Postby Dave » Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:08 pm

I should have mentioned earlier that the reason I'm applying to SoCal is because my long term GF is there and we'll have already been long distance for a year by the Fall 2009 term. I also should have made it clear that I will be applying for a Phd, but one with an option for an Msc in case I become disillusioned.

The internship I'm on now is research, and hopefully will result in a paper that will be published. Also during the coming year one quarter of my credit will come from a research project done within the university.

I was wondering, here in Britain Materials Science is not very "hot", in fact departments are having trouble finding Phd students who are of a high quality, is this the case in America? (Don't worry I'm not applying for Materials Science because it's easy, I actually like the stuff.)

User avatar
dlenmn
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:19 pm

Re: Advice needed please.

Postby dlenmn » Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:31 pm

"Materials Science" is a term I usually associate with engineering departments more than physics departments -- especially if were're talking non-theoretical (although it's certainly an interdisciplinary field). You should check out engineering departments as well. I'm sure you can find research that interests you in some of them, and they may be easier to get in to (although I don't know that, but it could certainly give you more options). I think that many engineering departments do not require the physics GRE, which is definitely a plus if exams are not your thing. Finally, I'm under the impression that engineering departments are generally more receptive to people going for a masters (if that's what you want to do).

As a general rule, for interdisciplinary fields, it's often the case that you need to check out different departments because the research you want is in different places at different schools. For example, some of my friends are interested in space plasma physics. In some places, that's in the physics department. But for others it's in the astronomy, applied physics, or electrical engineering departments...

User avatar
fermiboy
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:41 pm

Re: Advice needed please.

Postby fermiboy » Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:49 pm

Also, there are some other so-cal schools that are not as competive for admissions as the ones mentioned. They would be U. of Southern California, UC Irvine, and UC Riverside. Also, it's not really so-cal, but you might want to look at UC Santa Cruz.

Dave
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:19 am

Re: Advice needed please.

Postby Dave » Wed Jul 23, 2008 5:44 pm

Hey, so another question for you guys, if I get rejected from say (arbitrary example) Berkely for the Fall 2009, would it count against me if I reapplied the next year?

Thanks for all the help guys.

User avatar
fermiboy
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:41 pm

Re: Advice needed please.

Postby fermiboy » Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:25 pm

I don't think so, especially at a place like Berkeley that gets ~ 700 apps a year. They probably won't even remember that you applied! I recall from older threads that other people on this board reapplied to the same place the next year, and they got in.
Last edited by fermiboy on Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
dlenmn
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:19 pm

Re: Advice needed please.

Postby dlenmn » Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:25 pm

Dave wrote:I get rejected from say (arbitrary example) Berkely for the Fall 2009, would it count against me if I reapplied the next year?



I don't think it would count against you. I recall some people here have reapplied with success after spending a year improving their credentials.

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Advice needed please.

Postby grae313 » Sat Jul 26, 2008 4:01 pm

Dave wrote:Hi, so this being my first post I guess I should introduce myself, I'm Dave and I'm about to go into my third, and final, year of the Bsc physics course at Bristol university in England. My main interest is in the non theoretical materials science field.

I'm hoping to do some postgraduate study in America. But I'm very nervous about the whole application process as I have a history of not doing as well as I should do in exams.

I'm primarily worried about the GREs and my average from this year which, using my Uni's conversion scale is a 3.0. I plan to do much better next year by working myself as hard as I can. My application will probably be in the Fall of this year, for the Fall of 2009.

I will be applying to grad schools in California, hopefully the more prestigious ones, mostly ones near LA I think, and I was wondering what sort of GPA's and GRE's are usual to get into Physics Phd or Msc programs in that area?

I do luckily have a few redeeming qualities, these being that I have unpaid work experience with both an engineering firm and with an MRI scanner. Both of those have glowing reports, but were a number of years ago (3 or 4 I think). Furthermore I am currently working as an intern for Shell in Holland.

I also think I should be able to acquire some excellent letters of recommendation. But I'm worried this won't be enough.

So, what do you guys think?


http://www.gradschoolshopper.com to look up the average grades and GRE scores for admitted students at most universities.

Dave
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:19 am

Re: Advice needed please.

Postby Dave » Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:11 am

Thanks, that site is pretty useful.

Tosh
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:49 am

Re: Advice needed please.

Postby Tosh » Sun Aug 03, 2008 7:46 am

I read from some other forums that material sci programs are much less competitive to get in than physics programs. and almost all of material sci programs accept physics majors (as well as chem majors because it's very interdisciplinary) . so if you're solely interested in material sci, go for a material sci phd.




Return to “Prospective Physics Graduate Student Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests