BS in Physics from a California State school, all reqs complete for minor in astronomy
Campus GPA: 3.15 (3 years), cumulative GPA ~ 3.05 (resulting from bad grades transferred from city college, mostly GE, all lower division)
Also spent some time at Academy of Art Unversity for 1.5 years as a computer graphics major, GPA there was ~3.4, not that I think my classes here matter at all for grad school.
GRE- V: 530 Q: 790 A: expecting around 4.5-5.0
Have not yet taken physics GRE, contemplating a Nov 8 test time, provided a crash course review in a month can result in a decent score.
Other relevant experience: Was involved in local SPS, spent a semester as secretary and then another as treasurer. I Did a semester of independent research directed by the astro professor which resulted in a research paper and citation on professor’s web site, along with posted images from observations. Did a summer internship before graduating at Blackboard Inc, a large online education company. Since graduation have worked for almost a year now as a database programmer in .Net framework.
I realize my gpa is weak, and specifically grades in classes like upper division mechanics and e/m were C’s. This may be somewhat offset by B’s in thermo/optics/modern/ independent research studies and A’s in astro courses and differential eq. Hopefully even further offset with a varied background including art and work experience.
My goal is to study in some area related to astrophysics. I am very interested in cosmology, GR, and stellar evolution theory.
I am thinking of leaving work and returning to classes in Spring to take undergraduate Quantum, second semester intermediate E/M and a couple math courses, something like partial differential eq and maybe differential geometry. This would be something I would note on applications that are processing for an intended Fall 09 enrollment.
Can anyone offer me advice on where I should be looking or anything else I should currently be working on to improve my chances of admission to a good program? I don’t care so much about prestige as I do about a nice location, ability to do research and supportive faculty.