geofizic Posted August 14, 2015 Share Posted August 14, 2015 (edited) I am looking for an application review. I recently graduated a top 3 Canadian university with a BSc in Physics. In September 2015, I will be starting a MSc in geophysics at a mid-level Canadian university. After completing my MSc by the summer of 2017, my goal is to apply/attend one of the following PhD programs to start at fall 2017:- Stanford University (Geological sciences)- Princeton University (Geosciences)- Caltech (Geosciences)- U of Chicago (Geophysical sciences)- Northwestern (Applied Physics)- U of Texas – Austin (Geosciences) (Public)- Stoney Brook (Physics) (Public)- Harvard (Physics)- The Ohio State University (Earth Sciences) (Public)- University of Arizona (Earth Sciences) (Public)- University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Engineering) (Public)- Florida international University (Material science) (Public)- Yale University (Geoscience) There are other groups of interest in Washington state, and Wisconsin -Madison, but these too are public schools. I chose these universities/programs because they have a Professor/research group/center that does similar research to what I will be doing in my master's. I am hoping that ~2 years of experience in the research field will be a great asset when applying to these programs because it can be quiet expensive to train students on the experimental research techniques I will be doing. My master’s research will be hands-on experiments and lab work that includes trips to Argonne and Brookhaven national labs for data collection. Although the field is usually under the geophysics label it is actually more physics/condensed matter physics. Therefore, classical geophysicists don’t have the necessary background to be competitive in the field, and physicist would prefer to go for a physics degree. This could potentially increase my chances of admittance. You can probably tell that most of the universities in the list are easily ranked in the top 10 in any field (either geosciences or physics). Which presents a problem for me because my undergraduate cGPA isn’t impressive at all. The reason I got accepted into a fully funded MSc program was due to relevant research experience, a strong LOR and doing much better in my last 3 semesters GPA wise. In addition, after 2 weeks of searching the internet the best research groups (lab equipment, group size, reserach topics, funding,) are mostly in top private schools. The others are mostly in public universities. Having read on the internet that getting accepted to US grad schools as an international student is more difficult in when applying to public schools. Hence, it could be more likely to be accepted by a high ranking private school than a mid-ranking public school.Summary:Undergrad Institution: top 3 CanadaMajor(s): PhysicsOverall GPA: 3.12Position in Class: not sure, but the low cGPA speaks for itselfGraduate (Masters) Institution: mid-level CanadaMajor(s): GeophysicsOverall GPA: TBDType of Student: CanadianGRE Scores (revised/old version): Have not taken yetPhysics GRE Scores (revised/old version): Have not taken yet, plan on taking for physics programs and to reinforce poor cGPA.Research Experience:Completed 1 semester research course with an A (3 months, experimental condensed matter).Awarded an undergraduate research fellowship by department (4 months, experimental condensed matter).Awards/Honors/Recognitions: - Entrance scholarship for MSc, - Department scholarship in BSc, - Summer research fellowship in BSc.Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Will probably be a TA or RA by the time I graduate from the MScAny Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Will probably have taken a number of physics/geophysics/geology graduate courses. Can’t think of anything else, any suggestions?Special Bonus Points: Strong recommendation from undergraduate supervisor (supervisor top in his field), probably a recommendation from MSc PI. Relevant research experience so maybe a good fit for most groups.Another thing that works to my advantage is that my PI at my MSc university did his post doc at one of the top ivy league schools in my list, and frequently collaborates with the professors running the research groups at that group and another group in a top public university. My PI also has relations/acquaintances with the profs in Chicago, and Stanford (the research field is really small, particularly in North America). Also, from reviewing numerous application profiles, it seems that it is easier to get accepted to a PhD program in geoscience than in physics, which seems to be much more competitive.My questions are:- Given my current situation, is there anything I can do in the next 2 years during my Master’s to help overcome my low undergraduate cGPA? I will be taking Quantum, Condensed matter, crystallography and electrodynamics (Jackson) graduate courses. I hope by doing well in these courses I can strengthen my application.- This is might be silly to ask, but what are my chances of getting accepted to these groups? do I have a shot, or am I delusional? - I have read that a MSc can a help or destroy one's application. In my case, I don’t think I have much choice, a masters will give me a GPA bump, 2 years research, an additional and potentially stronger LOR, and something to add to my CV. I understand that the quality of my research matters, but due to the nature of my work, having a chance to work on the lab techniques and mastering the equipment and procedures, puts me at an advantage when applying to the particular research groups I am targeting. Is there any way this can backfire?- Is it fair to say that the geosciences graduate programs are “easier” to get into than traditional physics programs?- If I do research relevant to my PI of interest at the target school, do I stand a better chance of getting in? Can a PI vouch for me? Any comments (good or bad)on my situation would be appreciated. I have contacted a number of senior members on this forum and they have given me priceless advice and encouragement, and I would like to see what other people have to say.Thanks for reading!! Edited August 14, 2015 by geofizic Yee_ 1 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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