Transferring grad school

  • As many already know, studying for the physics GRE and getting accepted into a graduate program is not the final hurdle in your physics career.
  • There are many issues current physics graduate students face such as studying for their qualifier, deciding upon a field of research, choosing an advisor, being an effective teaching assistant, trying to have a social life, navigating department politics, dealing with stress, utilizing financial aid, etc.

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Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2015 9:39 am

Transferring grad school

Post by puzzled_grad » Sat Sep 05, 2015 9:46 am


I am a 2nd year international PhD student in a mid-tier US university. 1 year ago I would have stayed in my undergrad uni and do an MPhil before applying for a PhD but I chose this uni because it had a good number of choices of HEP-th/-ph faculty.

In the past summer I worked on a pheno project, which was my first project in grad school (was taking courses in first year). I enjoyed working with my adviser, but partly because it is programming-based, so are many research in pheno in general, I feel a mismatch of project nature and my ability. (Programming is always my worst part, and I never enjoy coding.)

I have a strong sense that I want to switch to theory and do more analytic work. So I approached the theory faculty I was interested in working when I applied 2 years ago but was told that he was leaving the dept permanently. There is a good chance that other theory groups are not taking new students, so I may not be able to switch to theory and end up continuing to do pheno

I am considering transferring to another uni (of slightly higher ranking) with more theory people available, but not sure if the above will constitute legitimate reasons for this. I took QFT1&2 and did well and am reading string theory, if only these help...

Sounds like a joke trying to transfer to the most competitive field in physics... Really puzzled right now. Needing advice Thanks!

P.S. My dept offers terminal MS. I didn't publish (I just had my first project in grad school in summer, didn't go very well).

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