High Energy Physics Graduate Admissions at top Universities

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mbgnjasb
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:00 am

High Energy Physics Graduate Admissions at top Universities

Postby mbgnjasb » Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:06 am

Hi,

I would be applying to US universities this year for Fall-2015 start. I was an engineering PhD student in United Kingdom earlier but dropped out (in 2013) after second year of my PhD to pursue mathematical physics. Since last one year I have been doing research in high energy physics (string theory) in the best university for physics in my home country in Asia and have been able to produce three publications in high impact journals like Journal of High Energy Physics.

From discussions with many academics around the world, it seems to me that getting admission in a good PhD programme in high energy physics is really hard (especially for international students) compared to other specializations in physics. So I would like to know if it would be worth applying to the top PhD programmes in high energy physics in US universities (like MIT, Chicago, etc.). What level of competition I should expect. A reality check is what I need basically. My academic profile is as follows

- Undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering with around 3.2/4.0 GPA (from a reputed college in my home country).

- PhD in Aerospace Engineering (dropped out after second year) from one of the top-30 universities in the world (in UK)

Research Experience- 2 years in my PhD programme where I published one paper as first author. And 1 year research in high energy physics with three publications with my collaborators.

I hope to do well in Physics GRE and other standardized tests. And I hope to get good recommendations from my collaborators.

Thanks.

Arbitrary
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:05 am

Re: High Energy Physics Graduate Admissions at top Universities

Postby Arbitrary » Sun Aug 10, 2014 3:32 pm

I will not be the one telling you it is impossible to be admitted to top programs for HEP.
However, if you consider top ten programs, each of them will allow 1 or maximum 2 spots for internationals in HEP theory. You will therefore have to compete for about 15 spots with (likely) upwards of 300 people from around the world. Furthermore, your formal education is from outside of physics, which is usually considered a disadvantage.
It's possible to make up for your lack of formal physics education and indecisive former episode in aerospace with outstanding research and recommendations. However, bear in mind that quite a few of your competitors will have great research and recommendations, in addition to BS and MS in physics.

mbgnjasb
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:00 am

Re: High Energy Physics Graduate Admissions at top Universities

Postby mbgnjasb » Sun Aug 10, 2014 4:05 pm

Arbitrary wrote:I will not be the one telling you it is impossible to be admitted to top programs for HEP.
However, if you consider top ten programs, each of them will allow 1 or maximum 2 spots for internationals in HEP theory. You will therefore have to compete for about 15 spots with (likely) upwards of 300 people from around the world. Furthermore, your formal education is from outside of physics, which is usually considered a disadvantage.
It's possible to make up for your lack of formal physics education and indecisive former episode in aerospace with outstanding research and recommendations. However, bear in mind that quite a few of your competitors will have great research and recommendations, in addition to BS and MS in physics.



Thanks for your response. Since I didn't have any physics background, I tried to make up with 3 publications in string theory with well known people who had worked in places like University of Chicago, etc. So I have gained good experience with general relativity, quantum theory, and other physics subjects. And, I always liked physics but I was kind of immature earlier about my career so made wrong decisions but I ultimately found engineering to be not attractive enough. So the real point to ask would be...Would my research experience (4 journal publications in total)along with good recommendations help me compete (being an international student) for the topmost places in real terms ??? I think it would have been much easier for me as a domestic student in US but being an International student kind of worries me.




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