Research Interests?

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Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 12:43 pm

Research Interests?

Post by jordipg » Tue May 23, 2006 10:46 am

Hello, everyone. I'll be applying for the Fall of '07 and taking the physics GRE in Novemeber. I've been out of school for about 6 years, and have decided to start over and pursue physics graduate work. My bachelor's degree is in astronomy, but I never really aggressively pursued research or worked towards graduate studies as an undergrad.

I've been working on personal statements, and would like to pose a question to the hardened veterans out there.

Many schools ask you to discuss why you are interested in their programs. For me, this would amount to surfing through their website, and finding subjects and faculty members that pique my interest. Should I really discuss this in the PS? It seems a little bit contrived. Should I email these professors? With what goal, to create some sort of dialouge? Should I be reading the papers written by these guys? Or should I just admit that I have been "out of the game" for several years, and my physics studying has been limited to SciAm, pop-science books, and whatever I did with work?


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Post by icarus137 » Tue May 30, 2006 5:09 am

Contacting potential professors who are doing research you are possibly interested in might give you some idea about their willingness to take on graduate students (which is very important). I would say just do not go overboard

When I applied, I first stated my general goal for pursuing the degree. In other words, I think the first question that has to be answered is "why are you going after the masters or doctorate in physics?" Just saying "I want to know more" isnt enough. Let them know what you intend to do with the degree. Maybe it is part of a larger plan for you?

Then tell them how getting the degree from their specific program would be beneficial to you. This answer really depends on why you are going after the degree. Maybe their program does something that others do not that would be best for that long term goal. This could cover your interest in their specific research areas, the number of faculty they have in those areas, etc...

Maybe by answering that first question, you can figure out what to say to the question "why this program."

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