PHD in Physics - advice?

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    Hi,

    I'm a first year student studying Physics (MPhys). For context, I am strongly considering changing to theoretical physics after first year.

    I know looking at postgrad options is a long, long way off - but I tend to do best when I have something to aim for. I also figure, seeing as I'm only doing my undergrad degree for four years, it's best to try and get ahead in making my application stand out.

    Does anyone on a phd course / applying for a phd course have any advice for a first year with high aspirations? eg. How did you get summer placements? What good extra curricla things can I be doing?

    Thank you! x
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    Research experience is key and nothing else compares really. Look online for programs you can apply to that run over the summer. Ask around your dept as well and see if a prof is willing to take you on even voluntarily to do some work for or with them.
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    (Original post by alleycat393)
    Research experience is key and nothing else compares really. Look online for programs you can apply to that run over the summer. Ask around your dept as well and see if a prof is willing to take you on even voluntarily to do some work for or with them.
    Thank you very much! Do you have any places you'd specifically recommend applying to?

    I'm an alumni member of the Ogden trust so I was going to look at their summer placements
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    (Original post by loveire&song)
    Hi,

    Does anyone on a phd course / applying for a phd course have any advice for a first year with high aspirations? eg. How did you get summer placements? What good extra curricla things can I be doing?

    Thank you! x
    I am a research fellow, but not in Physics. I would suggest you to look for research assistant roles in the campus. This will give you exposure ahead of PhD, plus your profile for PhD admissions will become more stronger. Universities look for candidates having an extensive exposure of research. If there aren't much opportunities in the campus, let me know. I will share my personal experience of creating a research assistance opportunity for myself.
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    Again, physics is not my research area, but the basic principles remain the same. Get to know your institution's key research areas/interests and the PIs involved. There will be countless grad seminars and symposia going on where current students are presenting their work: they're usually open to undergrad students as well as postgrads and give you an invaluable chance to speak to people and generally get the feel of the research community at your institution. And of course, keep an eye out for any summer opportunities and grab them! Finally, don't neglect your undergraduate studies (which I'm sure you're not) if you've got your eye on a research career. Best of luck.
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    (Original post by esfar)
    I am a research fellow, but not in Physics. I would suggest you to look for research assistant roles in the campus. This will give you exposure ahead of PhD, plus your profile for PhD admissions will become more stronger. Universities look for candidates having an extensive exposure of research. If there aren't much opportunities in the campus, let me know. I will share my personal experience of creating a research assistance opportunity for myself.
    Thank you very much! I will ask my academic advisor if he'd mind asking round if anyone would take on a first year I'm at Lancaster, so there's plenty of physics research, if people will be kind of enough to let me sit and watch (I'd be very happy doing even the most "boring" of tasks like data entry just to be around active research!)
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    Again, physics is not my research area, but the basic principles remain the same. Get to know your institution's key research areas/interests and the PIs involved. There will be countless grad seminars and symposia going on where current students are presenting their work: they're usually open to undergrad students as well as postgrads and give you an invaluable chance to speak to people and generally get the feel of the research community at your institution. And of course, keep an eye out for any summer opportunities and grab them! Finally, don't neglect your undergraduate studies (which I'm sure you're not) if you've got your eye on a research career. Best of luck.
    Thank you very much for taking the time to reply - it's really appreciated!

    I'd found out about some graduate seminars going on but I wasn't sure if people would want first years there, so thank you! Hopefully I'll be able to understand a tiny bit of what's being said...! And I'll definitely look out for summer placements - the problem I've found so far is that most want you to be (understandably) two or three years into your degree, and there doesn't seem to be much if you're not at that stage yet

    (Also yup, I'm definitely aiming for the best mark possible in my degree! Haha I really love physics, so I find the work interesting - which gets me through even when it's really tricky! I know A levels don't mean much at all when you apply for a postgrad, but I put a lot of work in last year and got A*A*A*, so it's comforting to know I'm off to a good start )
 
 
 
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