Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
Sats
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:32 pm

Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby Sats » Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:39 pm

Hey guys, I'm a (primarily) physics student looking at graduate school in mathematics as a possible option. I have not taken the MGRE, and I was wondering if there were any schools off the top of your guys' heads that would fit my profile even though I don't have that? If I had to pick a field of mathematics, I really enjoy group theory and applications in physics, since realistically I'd use a mathematics masters or phd for use in physics.

Any ideas guys?

-----------------------------------------------

Undergrad Institution: Top 40 US World News (2014) - Big State School
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics, French
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.3 Physics, 3.5 Math, 4.0 French
Overall GPA: 3.6
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Slightly above average
Type of Student: Domestic white male

GRE Scores :
Q: 164 (89%)
V: 159 (81%)
W: 4.5 (80%)
M: ??? (??%)
P: 640 (38%)

Research Experience: Studied CLS limit setting for a semester, then moved on to FIR filtering programming for the current semester. No publications, but total research time is around a year.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Deans list in a few semesters.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Software Engineering Intern for a summer learning Javascript, Node.js, and general large networking problems. Not super relevant to physics, but it adds credibility to my programming skills.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: N/A

Special Bonus Points: 3 majors in 4 years.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I've working fluency in french. Of my three letters, one comes from my experimental methods professor, whom I worked a lot with on an independent research topic, will be doing research with him the next semester. The other is from my Nuclear/Particle Physics course and the ~semester research, got along well with him. The last one comes from a french professor whom I've had for 3 courses, we get along very well. At least 2 of them will be very strong.

Also I have 2 anomalous C's, one in Proof Writing (Though I've taken Complex Analysis and Abstract Algebra after and gotten B's), and the other in Electromagnetism 2, the only sub-B grades I've gotten. I also have a W in independent research for this semester due to time constraints.

Applying to Where:
???

Kilgore_Trout
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:39 am

Re: Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby Kilgore_Trout » Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:43 am

Hey I am a physics math double major, primarily physics. Applying for applied math PhDs.

I would suggest looking through some university websites and reading the about the research of faculty. I'm guessing you took the PGRE and didn't like your score.
This isn't really a good reason to commit to graduate school in math.

The lack of MGRE will really narrow down your school options. There are programs out there that don't require a MGRE but your physics and math GPA is also a bit low.

My suggestion would be to take a year off and read up on different fields of research. Figure out what you want to do and then reapply next year.
This way you can take the MGRE or retake the PGRE (or maybe both).

You can always do a master in math, but you have to pay for all of it. No one really need more student loans.

PS- Drop the rec letter from the French guy. Most admission committees will get it and say "what am I supposed to do with this". Try to get another physics or math guy.

Sats
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:32 pm

Re: Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby Sats » Tue Dec 02, 2014 12:06 pm

I was always kind of interested in math, but you're right, I just kinda screwed my PGRE and I am looking for options.

Also, do you think the letter from a french professor is really that much of a detriment? I mean, it's too late to get one from a science professor, and they'd be weaker letters anyways...

So I really should just take a year off to figure stuff out? I was pretty committed to applying to physics grad schools this year.

MathCat
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:17 am

Re: Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby MathCat » Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:27 pm

Well, a lot of programs I am applying to ask for 3 references from math professors if at all possible. Then they say if you can't get 3, definitely get at least 2 from math professors.

bobn
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:59 am

Re: Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby bobn » Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:39 pm

If you are really interested in serious Maths. Try joining a good Masters program (like UConn) and prepare yourself for Math Grad School. It seems you need to cover quite alot prerequisites for Grad level courses.

Sats
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:32 pm

Re: Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby Sats » Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:59 pm

Awesome, thanks for the quick responses you guys! A lot faster here than over on phyriscsgre.com haha

I guess the consensus is that it's not really feasible during this year to do it (which I kinda figured since I'd not really planned for it). Thanks for checking out my profile and getting back to me! I appreciate it!

MathCat
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:17 am

Re: Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby MathCat » Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:02 pm

If it's only that you bombed the physics GRE... have you considered applying to international schools that do not require it? Most require you to do a MSc first, but the PhD that follows is shorter so that the total time is the same. Also, as an example, MSc programs in Canada are usually funded, unlike in the US.

Kilgore_Trout
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:39 am

Re: Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby Kilgore_Trout » Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:16 pm

Yeah I have a friends who bombed PGRE but are smart and have a good application. They are applying to some schools up in Canada. There are actually some really good programs up thereand they don't look at the PGRE at all. They can be a bit different since I think you apply for a masters and then you try to get accepted into the phd track. Def worth looking into. I would email a couple of departments to get definitve answers on how phd admission and funding works.

MathCat
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:17 am

Re: Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby MathCat » Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:20 pm

Kilgore_Trout wrote:Yeah I have a friends who bombed PGRE but are smart and have a good application. They are applying to some schools up in Canada. There are actually some really good programs up thereand they don't look at the PGRE at all. They can be a bit different since I think you apply for a masters and then you try to get accepted into the phd track. Def worth looking into. I would email a couple of departments to get definitve answers on how phd admission and funding works.


In Canada, you complete a 1-2 year MSc first (funded if you're in PhD track and not a terminal master's, usually), and then apply for PhD programs in your final year of the MSc.

Also, the deadlines for admissions to Masters programs in Canada are often not until late January/early February, so it's not too late to look into it.

Sats
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:32 pm

Re: Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby Sats » Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:47 pm

I actually have looked at Canada a bit. I was hoping to apply to McGill or U Montréal where my french proficiency might mean something haha. I will definitely put more attention into that. Do you think I might try looking into those for mathematics as well? I'm not sure if my profile is up to snuff compared to some Canadian students, but I was definitely planning on shooting an application to McGill at the very least.

Do any of you guys have experience with these universities, mathematics, physics, or otherwise? (Aside from how cold it is haha)

MathCat
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:17 am

Re: Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby MathCat » Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:58 pm

Sats wrote:I actually have looked at Canada a bit. I was hoping to apply to McGill or U Montréal where my french proficiency might mean something haha. I will definitely put more attention into that. Do you think I might try looking into those for mathematics as well? I'm not sure if my profile is up to snuff compared to some Canadian students, but I was definitely planning on shooting an application to McGill at the very least.

Do any of you guys have experience with these universities, mathematics, physics, or otherwise? (Aside from how cold it is haha)


I have a friend doing math phys at McGill, and I think the program is quite good. It is one of the more competitive universities in the country, and I'm not sure if your physics GPA would hurt you or not. I think UBC (in Vancouver - not cold!) is pretty good in physics. It's also one of the more competitive universities.

The schools that come to mind when I think of 'good schools' in Canada are UBC, Toronto, McGill, Waterloo (especially for math), Montreal, Ottawa, Victoria, and maybe Dalhousie or Simon Fraser? But there may be others, and I don't know about their strengths in physics in particular.

edit: Forgot to mention the ones in Alberta: Calgary and UAlberta are strong universities too. And FYI Simon Fraser and Victoria are also not cold places.

Sats
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:32 pm

Re: Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby Sats » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:33 pm

MathCat wrote:I have a friend doing math phys at McGill, and I think the program is quite good. It is one of the more competitive universities in the country, and I'm not sure if your physics GPA would hurt you or not. I think UBC (in Vancouver - not cold!) is pretty good in physics. It's also one of the more competitive universities.

The schools that come to mind when I think of 'good schools' in Canada are UBC, Toronto, McGill, Waterloo (especially for math), Montreal, Ottawa, Victoria, and maybe Dalhousie or Simon Fraser? But there may be others, and I don't know about their strengths in physics in particular.

edit: Forgot to mention the ones in Alberta: Calgary and UAlberta are strong universities too. And FYI Simon Fraser and Victoria are also not cold places.


I looked into it a bit, and noticed that the minimum for admittance is a B+, which is ~3.3 (I think). Barely breaking the minimum isn't super impressive, but I'd hope that my other majors might offset that at least somewhat.

I know that UBC, Toronto, and McGill are top 3, but aside from Montreal/Waterloo, I've not heard of the others in context of world ranking. But I'm not sure.


In Mathematics, my training is mostly in the direction of application to physics. (I took complex variables, group theory, modelling, weird combinations and not on one track). Do you think that Math and any of these canadian schools is feasible? I'm not sure if there's an applied math/mathematical physics track yet, I'd have to research that a little bit first...

I've never heard of Victoria, I'll check that one out!

MathCat
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:17 am

Re: Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby MathCat » Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:30 pm

Sats wrote:I looked into it a bit, and noticed that the minimum for admittance is a B+, which is ~3.3 (I think). Barely breaking the minimum isn't super impressive, but I'd hope that my other majors might offset that at least somewhat.

I know that UBC, Toronto, and McGill are top 3, but aside from Montreal/Waterloo, I've not heard of the others in context of world ranking. But I'm not sure.

In Mathematics, my training is mostly in the direction of application to physics. (I took complex variables, group theory, modelling, weird combinations and not on one track). Do you think that Math and any of these canadian schools is feasible? I'm not sure if there's an applied math/mathematical physics track yet, I'd have to research that a little bit first...

I've never heard of Victoria, I'll check that one out!


Well, whether or not UBC, Toronto, and McGill are top 3 really depends on your field. In math I would not place McGill above Waterloo, but that would depend on your subfield as well.... Most of the other ones I mentioned are definitely lower tier in world rankings (not necessarily a worse fit though), probably comparable to top 100 or lower schools in the US.

I know Victoria has some good stuff if you're into particle physics, but UBC is definitely better in that regard, but also significantly more competitive.

Here's a ranking I found of Canadian universities in physics. It only has a few in the top 200 worldwide: http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/university-subject-rankings/2014/physics#sorting=rank+region=+country=222+faculty=+stars=false+search=

As for math at Canadian schools, I'm not really sure. Your math GPA is good enough, but it sounds like you might be lacking some of the classes they expect. However, I'm only applying to pure math programs (if there's a distinction), so the prerequisites are different. I can't really say for certain.

Sats
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:32 pm

Re: Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby Sats » Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:41 pm

I've been looking around at some Applied Mathematics/Mathematical Physics programs and it seems like U Toronto has the best selection in that area. With regards to that program, is it true that they would really not need the MGRE? I guess is it worth my time to look there in that department with my credentials?

I suppose I'd need to start looking at specific professors and contacting them since (at least for Physics at McGill) you need to have someone squared away willing to take you to even have a shot. D'you guys have any experience dealing with this?

MathCat
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:17 am

Re: Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby MathCat » Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:09 pm

Sats wrote:I've been looking around at some Applied Mathematics/Mathematical Physics programs and it seems like U Toronto has the best selection in that area. With regards to that program, is it true that they would really not need the MGRE? I guess is it worth my time to look there in that department with my credentials?

I suppose I'd need to start looking at specific professors and contacting them since (at least for Physics at McGill) you need to have someone squared away willing to take you to even have a shot. D'you guys have any experience dealing with this?


The only school I know of in Canada that requires the GRE for anything is Simon Fraser. They like to be as American as possible. The GRE is really not standard in Canada, so if they do not mention requiring it, don't worry about it. Just a heads up that Toronto is a very competitive school, and I don't think there are that many spots available for international applicants. It's still worth applying, but it's not really a safe bet.

Sats
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:32 pm

Re: Physics/Math/French Student - Should I check out Math?

Postby Sats » Wed Dec 03, 2014 8:10 pm

Thank you so much for your concise and quick replies. I've had a thread over on physicsgre for at least a week with no bites. I appreciate you guys looking over my stuff and giving me advice! If I finalize any decisions I'll update this thread and letcha guys know how it goes if I apply for applied mathematics.




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