I am a senior from a smaller liberal arts school applying to physics graduate school. My overall GPA is a 3.13, but my physics gpa is a 3.6. My professors have told me I have strong letters of recommendation and I have done 2 summers plus 1 semester of research culminating in 3 poster presentations. My lower GPA is partially due to overloading a lot (double major in math plus liberal arts gen eds) and mental health reasons. Prior to this semester my advisor said that with a 3.3 I had a “100% chance” of getting into grad school. But with a C in Abstract Algebra and Probability theory this semester I am very concerned how that has changed.

Is there advice that could help my situation? And do you think I will be able to be admitted to graduate school for physics?

I intend to email and discuss this with my advisor, but I’m really freaking out after grades were released and hoping to get some ideas/points to bring up in that discussion.

I’m getting ready to apply for a graduate program in biophysics at a few different universities. I’d just like to ask a question regarding the quantity and quality of letters of recommendations.

I’ll first give some background about my current application. I have a 3.0 cumulative GPA (there is a valid reason for a few low grades early on in my career which I won’t get into here, but my GPA has increased dramatically since then), my physics GRE score is a little low and my general is above the 55th percentile in all three fields.

I have two strong letters of recommendation. One from the director of my lab, and one from the head of experimental physics at my university. My question is regarding a third letter. Most applications state that 3 letters are required. I have two options for the third letter at this point; the first being from my advisor, who I’ve never taken a class with but knows me well, and the other is from a professor who said he’d write me one but it wouldn’t be very strong as he can only discuss my character and, to quote him, “general interest in science”.

I’m afraid that a third letter would hurt my application, regardless if two of the letters are strong. How damaging would two letters be in applying to a physics graduate program?

Thank you.

My name is Luka and I am currently third year of electrical engineering, specifically Power and Control Systems. I have very high GPA, and I am certain I will be applying for MSc in two years (I have to finish this year, and specialize next year in order to get Bachelor). I am 100% sure that I will pursue PhD after MSc and hope to continue working in academia. But there is one problem in this. During these years I have confirmed that my passion for physics(especially high energy physics)is much greater than one for engineering. In fact, I do not think I would be able to do any research in engineering. Because of this, I want to switch fields and to get into MSc program for High Energy Physics. My question is: Is there anyone with similar experience that has made a successful transition? And if it is possible, is it possible to follow the material? Any advice or information would be very helpful. Thank you

I’m getting ready to apply for a graduate program in biophysics at a few different universities. I’d just like to ask a question regarding the quantity and quality of letters of recommendations.

I’ll first give some background about my current application. I have a 3.0 cumulative GPA (there is a valid reason for a few low grades early on in my career which I won’t get into here, but my GPA has increased dramatically since then), my physics GRE score is a little low and my general is above the 55th percentile in all three fields.

I have two strong letters of recommendation. One from the director of my lab, and one from the head of experimental physics at my university. My question is regarding a third letter. Most applications state that 3 letters are required. I have two options for the third letter at this point; the first being from my advisor, who I’ve never taken a class with but knows me well, and the other is from a professor who said he’d write me one but it wouldn’t be very strong as he can only discuss my character and, to quote him, “general interest in science”.

I’m afraid that a third letter would hurt my application, regardless if two of the letters are strong. How damaging would two letters be in applying to a physics graduate program?

Thank you.

I am a 2nd year PhD student in physics. Tenure-track positions are highly competitive and I do not love research enough to pursue it as a life career. Since I like programming and playing with data, I want to have a job as a data scientist after finishing my degree. I read some success stories of people who got degrees in Physics but works as data scientists but the people are from top universities like UC Berkely, Stanford, etc…
So my question is how doable it is for someone who only gets Physics degree from the low-rank university to find a job as a data scientist. What is the plan for the next years when I am still in my PhD program? What should I learn? How should I have real projects and internships to work on? Will working unpaid in a research lab about data analysis in my current university help?

pretty new to this site, I hope this hasn’t been asked before (I checked and found a somewhat similar question but not exactly this one) so I apologize if it is in fact a duplicate.

As the title states, I’m considering pursuing a Doctorate in Mathematics after I graduate Physics. It’s something I’m just thinking about and by no means do I plan on definitely doing it; however, a chance does exist. Is such a thing possible though? Do I need to first get a graduate in mathematics or? Over the course of the previous four years, I enrolled in classes like Abstract Algebra, Vector Spaces, Group Theory, Number Theory and similar and I enjoyed each and everyone whereas I encounter daily disappointments in most fields of Theoretical Physics.

Any kind of advice will be greatly appreciated, thanks!

Is it allowed for people to obtain multiple PhDs at different stages of their career? I am thinking of Phys and Bio.
Then regardless of that, is it allowed to teach in different departments at one or multiple institutions. (But I would want a tenured-position somewhere.) By teaching, I also wish to include doing relevant research in the two different fields. (for me, maybe physics and biology. Beware: Not biophys.)

John

I am considering a Gap-year to refine my abilities in physics before applying to graduate school. I have not taken the Physics GRE, at this moment it would be a struggle to get a high grade that will get me into a top graduate school. Currently I’m looking at these options

  • Case 1: Masters program in Europe as they don’t require GRE scores, be able to specialize more in physics. Although the cost for school is significant, and I will not be able to afford tuition.
  • Case 2: Move back into parents house for a year, contact San Jose State University and ask whether I can do research in their lab, study for physics GRE, apply to schools next round.
  • Case 3: Apply to mid-tier schools, and have great difficulty teaching at a well established institution after graduate school.

My Chemistry GPA is 4.00, with a minor in math and 3 years of research experience mainly in physical chemistry with good letters of reccomendation. However, I am not sure how much this transfers towards getting into a great school without many physics courses.

Is taking the ‘gap-year’ a bad move? Would it be able to help my application or only hurt?

I am an international student from Egypt applying this cycle to PhD programs in the US. I have majored in Physics and minored in math at the American University in Cairo, the best school in the country. My major GPA is 3.82 and I have a cumulative of 3.72. I had a summer opportunity at Harvard, and I have done research at my school. No publications! I haven’t done as expected in the Physics GRE; I scored 630.

There are schools where GRE is optional like Harvard Astronomy. In such a case, is it better to send a lower score than no score at all?

On the begining of this year I’ve started a graduate course in Physics to obtain a master’s degree. I have a major in mathematical physics and mathematics and wanted to work with General Relativity, Quantum Field Theory on Curved Spacetimes or related topics, but with focus on fundamental physics. In particular I’m quite interested in the infrared structure of gravity and gauge theories and the application to soft hairs on black holes.

There was a professor that was going to advise me on a very nice project about black hole radiation, but unfortunately he passed away. I started then searching for another one, but the ones I found were from the math department and was quite hard to get a permission to have them as advisors on the physics department.

I was talking to two of them, one of which was my advisor in a undergraduate research project. He didn’t work with what I wanted but proposed one work on extended bodies in GR, but he didn’t tell much details. It didn’t interest me but said it was interesting just to be nice.

The physics department ended up allowing some students to have advisors from the math department. The one that could advise in what I wanted needed to advise someone else. This other professor and the coordinator ended up “assigning me” to work with the extended bodies work professor.

I wasn’t feeling good about it, but I was being pressed by the deadline to find one advisor and, because it was already one exception, I felt bad to refuse and accepted in august.

I’m working on this for three months now and I can say I’m not fully happy about it. I have quite a few complaints:

  1. It is not fundamental Physics and it is not what I would call GR. It is dynamics on GR. Up to now I’ve studied two papers and no deep thing about GR was needed. Some students say they discussed with their advisors for quite a long time what would be done. In my case I was handed what should I do.
  2. The advisor requires that the work be devoted to computing examples, like solving a really hard toy model. He find this extremely important but I can’t see it like that.

    I didn’t want that, and I know it is not a requirement. I’ve seem master’s thesis from there and other universities focusing on the fundamental physics aspects and the structure of the theory.

  3. My advisor doesn’t know the theme. I have to study the papers alone and present seminars twice a week so he and another student of his can learn the subject. This is making me feel extremely pressed because the papers are very hard and I have not much interest.
  4. Although studying the papers for learning more about how extended bodies can be dealt with in GR is something I would happily do in my free time, dedicating that much is preventing me from studying what I really want to do afterwards. I believe this combined with how much I’m being pressed is the big deal.

The issue is: I’m on this for four months now and I feel it is too late to do something. I think that if I go search for another advisor they’ll say there is too little time left (one year). I don’t even know if I’ll find one. If my advisor finds out I’m searching for another one it could also create a difficult situation I think.

Plus, I don’t want to offend my advisor or start a fight, after all, he is a good person. It is just that for all this time I felt embarrassed to say I wasn’t really interested in this, and I feel even more embarrassed to say that after all this time. I’ve tried implying a few times I’m not interested, but he didn’t understand I think.

What can I do in this situation? I mean, is there some option other than continuing with this even being unhappy? Is there some way to change things, without offending anyone, starting a fight or creating an embarrassing situation? I need some piece of advice.