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Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:53 pm
by grenerd
Hi all,

Long time lurker, first time poster. I am currently looking into physics grad school and have a few questions which I am hoping some of you guys can answer. I will be graduating after this year with a B.A. in physics from a smallish state school, not really known in physics, I have a 3.5 GPA both in major and overall, as well as a political science major (hence the B.A.), a math minor and 3 years of research in biophysics that will culminate in a senior thesis.

1. I will not have taken a class in thermal before graduating (it is offered every other year and has always conflicted with my schedule) but will have all of the other "core classes". Will this, particularly if coupled with a B.A. instead of a B.S. hurt my chances?

2. Is it reasonable to choose a M.S. over a PhD? Are there any M.A. degree programs that offer good scholarships that you know of?

3. How much can a good PGRE score compensate for my GPA?

Thanks in advance for any responses

Re: B.A.

Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:06 pm
by zxcv
Hi grenerd,

1. Nobody will care that you have a B.A. instead of a B.S. since many respected programs don't even offer B.S. degrees in physics. A lack of statistical mechanics will definitely hurt your chances somewhat, especially if you haven't any coursework on thermodynamics at all, but there is even a first year student with me at Berkeley that had to take undergrad stat mech here.

2. What's your end goal? Getting a masters makes a lot of sense if you want to be able to switch to a more prestigious school for your PhD.

3. I imagine it can compensate a long way, but it still seems unlikely to be enough to get you into a top 20 grad program. You'll need better grades for that, or research that cumulates in papers, not just a thesis.