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Mech Eng to Phys

Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:46 pm
by realcomfy
Hi, I was wondering if anyone could give me their opinions on my chances of getting into an Applied Physics program at either a tier-1 or 1.5 university. I received my bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from a small state university with virtually no physics program, also have majors in Math, Chemistry and Spanish, and have a 3.92 major GPA and a 3.81 overall.

I don't have any physics or educational research experience, but I do have extensive experience doing R&D and lab testing in several industry areas. My first two internships were related to materials, and my current is in electronics testing. Since these were industry positions, I never really had a chance for any type of publication or conference presentation, although I did routinely give reports to my supervisors. Also, I TA'd labs during my undergrad, tutored in a broad range of subjects, and graded papers for thermodynamics, dynamics, statics and lab reports.

After graduating, I moved to Spain (where I am right now) where I am working in the electronics lab. Here, I have started taking physics courses at one of the large national universities. I have still to take the GRE tests, but I am expecting to get a 790 to 800 on quantatative, 650 to 700 on verbal, and hopefully at least a 700 (hoping for better) on the PGRE.

I was also extensively involved in extracurricular activities during my undergrad which included serving on student government and heading a student judicial board. I don't know if those matter too much, but its stuff I did.

Anyway I was hoping someone could give me some advice on switching from Mechanical Engineering to Applied Physics, interest in Condensed Matter, or Experimental Physics in the same field. I will be applying for Fall 09 entrance at, among others, Cornell, Penn State, University of Virginia and Rutgers. What do you think my chances for entrance will be (given the best possible situation of the scores listed above) and how detrimental is it that I studied Mech Eng instead of physics for my undergrad? Thanks for any help

Re: Mech Eng to Phys

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:26 pm
by noojens
You majored in math, chemistry, mechanical engineering and Spanish? Good gods, how long were you in school?

Re: Mech Eng to Phys

Posted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:55 am
by realcomfy
Ohh geez, I meant minors in Math, Chemistry and bad

Re: Mech Eng to Phys

Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:30 am
by grae313
My opinion, for a chance at a tier-1/1.5, you'll need better than a 700 on the PGRE. Other than that, as long as it hasn't been too many years since your degree, I don't think you are at a particular disadvantage, and you'll be able to highlight the unique skills and knowledge you've acquired through your work. Would you be able to get strong letters of recommendation from the professors of your physics classes, in addition to letters from superiors in your lab?