Mathematical Physics - school recommendations

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:55 pm

Mathematical Physics - school recommendations

Post by classicmustang67 » Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:16 pm

Hello all.

This is both my first time on this website and my first post, so please have some forgiveness if I am forgetting any information.

Undergrad Institution: Michigan State University
Major(s): Advanced Mathematics, Physics, (and Computational Mathematics, but this was an accident)
Minor(s): Computer Science
GPA: 4.0
Honors/Awards: Dean's List, tuition scholarship, one math award
Type of Student: White, M, domestic

Program Applying: applied math phd, hopefully mathematical physics

Research Experience: One semester of research into contemporary problems in symplectic geometry, 3+ years of experimental physics research mainly focused on photon simulation and headed my own project in this group, brief research into machine learning.
Publications: no publications, but created my own photon monte carlo simulation from scratch for research
Relevant work: Physics TA for 3 semesters, RA for 3+ years
Graduate courses: 3 math courses by application (Complex Analysis, Real Analysis, Machine Learning) and 3 physics courses (Classical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics, Particle Physics)
Additional information: The advanced math program at MSU is specifically tailored for students wanting to do graduate work in math. The courses are all proof-based starting fall semester of freshman year, and are all taught at a roughly graduate level. Of the 14000 students admitted every fall, only 50ish are allowed into the program and only 8-10 graduate with the major every year.

GRE: Since the April one was cancelled, I haven't taken it yet

When I came into undergraduate, I was fully convinced I would become a physicist, hence the focus on physics research. However, at the beginning of last year, I realized that I enjoyed math more and decided to switch. Unfortunately, with COVID, I was unable to get math research experience this summer, so I've continued with the experimental physics. Given all of my physics background and the immense satisfaction I get when making connections between math and physics, I really want to do my phd in mathematical physics.

However, I'm having trouble finding good graduate schools for mathematical physics and also having trouble determining which grad schools I have a chance with because of my half-physics focused degree. Can anyone provide information on good mathematical physics schools and/or what schools I should be focusing my applications on?

Thank you!

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Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:57 am

Re: Mathematical Physics - school recommendations

Post by GaussHilbert » Thu Oct 01, 2020 11:20 pm


A number of schools have a strong mathematical physics presence, like UIUC, UI Chicago, UC Berkeley, Stony Brook, Rutgers, UCSB, Kansas State, UT Austin, etc and also some places in Canada like Concordia, McGill, U of T, McMaster, UBC Vancouver, etc.

I think you've a strong enough background since you know symplectic geometry (I assume you know basic differential Topology, linear algebra, vector bundles, connections, basic Riemannian geometry pretty well) which is quite an advanced topic. If you can do proofs in real analysis and algebra in addition to advance Math, and you've evidence to show this like good grades in those courses, then I think you'll get admits from various places.

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