Hello fellow physics students and physicists,
I am currently studying physics in my third semester at the Freie Universität in Berlin and I am going to acquire my Bachelor's degree (BSc) in 2014 after a total of six semesters.
For my Master's degree I would like to study in the USA, primarily to live in a different country and to experience a (slightly?) different culture, since I have never lived anywhere else than in Berlin.
Also, since most publications in physics are in English and even many graduate (Master) studies in Germany are in English, it would make sense to study in an English-speaking country.
However, it turns out that finding a suitable university and possibly a fellowship program is more difficult than expected, which is why I registered in this forum to ask some questions.
1. How do I choose the right university?
Of course I would like to study in a well-known and prestigious university. In addition, I don't want to study in a small village, but rather in (or close to) a larger city.
Even though I am still in my third semester of undergraduate study, I would say that I am quite successful at it.
The universities I have considered so far are: MIT, Caltech, Berkeley, Harvard and Columbia University. Any more suggestions or comments?
Also, at the moment I strongly prefer theoretical physics over experimental physics, if that makes a difference.
2. How do I finance my studies?
While in Germany most of our universities are free, reputable universities in the USA have very high tuition fees. (more than 70,000 USD for two years, is that even right?)
What possibilities as a foreign student do I have to pay as little as possible?
Is it even possible to study for free? (Fellowship programs?)
3. How do I even get admitted at such a university in the first place?
After all, all I have to show are my Abitur grade (high school diploma?) and my grades for the Bachelor's degree. How much are they worth though?
Also, I am part of the German federal scholarship program. However, I read that American universities mostly rely on different tests about physics and the English language.
What are they, where can I do them in Germany and what kind of result do I need? (Toefl, GRE, ...?)
I look forward to your answers!
Thanks in advance,
PS: I want to study for two years in the US in order to acquire a Master's degree. This is possible, isn't it?
I am confused, since many universities suggest that their graduate programs aim for a PhD and therefore require about 5 years of study.