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Physics International Applicant

Posted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:30 am
by AC_14
Hi. I am an applicant from India, currently in the final year of a B.Tech Electrical and Electronics Engineering course in an Indian university. I plan to apply to physics PhD programs in the US. I have taken very few courses in physics proper (2 theory+lab courses) and mathematics (4 courses) apart from a host of physics related engineering courses (for eg, Thermal Engineering, Engineering Mechanics, Solid and Fluid Mechanics, Electron devices etc). I have had two productive research internships, one in math and one in physics, and for the former, I received a national fellowship. The latter was in condensed matter theory and I am still continuing the work. The math internship was in Group theory, in particular, Special Groups, Lie Algebra and Group Representation. I hope to get substantially strong recommendation letters. I have scored 930 in PGRE (88th percentile), 330 in GRE (Verbal: 163 & 92nd percentile, Quant: 167 & 94th percentile, AW 4.5 & 80th percentile) and 114 in TOEFL ibt (R-29, L-30, S-27, W-28). I am not sure if I should apply to a top university given the fact that I have few courses in physics, on paper (i.e transcript). But I have completed a few online courses, for example, edx 8.05x Mastering Quantum Mechanics from MIT. My current interest is in Condense matter theory. Should I apply to any of these: Princeton, Stanford, Caltech, Harvard, MIT or UC Berkeley? Has anyone with a similar non traditional background been admitted to theory in any of these? How can I boost my application?

Re: Physics International Applicant

Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:21 am
by Explorer33
You have got great scores and I would apply to those universities if I were you :D

Re: Physics International Applicant

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:40 pm
by Catria
It's OK to aim for the top-10s but since they're all lotteries for just about any applicant (I lost two of these lotteries, if you could please excuse the expression) you still need to know what topics are appealing in CMT and, from there, add some backup plans.

You might find that theoretical soft condensed matter may appeal more to you than superconductors, in which case apply to UPenn, whereas Minnesota might be a good choice for one that is more superconductor-focused.