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02-13-2013, 07:25 AM
  #976
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Originally Posted by Giroux tha Damaja View Post
Does he want to do a specific branch of physics, or does he just know he likes physics generally? Does he want to go to a school in the mid-Atlantic specifically, or is it ok so long as it's not Canada?

If he wants a specialized sub-field of phsyics then thats a whole other question. If he just wants broad spectrum physics education applicable to industry or progress towards a graduate degree, I would say an applied/general physics degree is the way to go. If he wants to make respectable money with out getting at least a master's degree then tell him to be an engineer, lol.

Off the top of my head the best astronomy programs are Arizona State, the Ohio State University and I think UPenn has a strong program as well (this is aside from the usual suspects like Ivy schools, UC Berkley, Stanford, MIT etc.). I personally wouldn't go to Villanova for Physics for a couple reasons. They tuition there is 42k a year. You're paying tuition to attend a top tier school. And while Nova might be that for certain majors, it's a pretty run-of-the-mill physics prorgam. You're not getting any bang for your buck. I would either look for a big name school with a much larger physics department to get more bang for my buck, or go to a cheaper school that has a very comparable physics department (this is what I did).


I'm currently an Applied Physics major at Richard Stockton College out near Atlantic City. If he is looking for a general physics degree in a more rural setting that's still near a city, I can vouch for Stockton as a pretty good school (doesn't sound like this is his preferred setting though, if Nova is on his list). The tuition here is about a third of what Nova costs (~13.5k/year) and the curriculum is almost identical, though the school's name carries less prestige. The Physics department is smaller here, so there is some additional coordinating to do as far as scheduling classes (since there aren't enough Phd's to teach every class every semester), but there's also a lot of personalized teaching and attention. My current advisor got his doctorate from Princeton in low energy fusion and he's helping me specialize in nuclear physics beyond the usual curriculum. There are a few other similarly qualified Docs here, so the faculty is sort of a hidden gem.

Good luck to your friend.
Maybe Rutgers or Penn State should be more affordable/worthwhile to attend than Nova; then again, for some reason, my advanced statistical mechanics professor, who has collaborators from across the world, would say Villanova was more undergraduate-centric (for physics/astronomy) than most big-name schools with large physics departments, since faculty at most big-name, doctorate-granting schools put research before teaching.

But he seems to favor mid-Atlantic schools and, while his credentials are seemingly good enough for Nova, they are nowhere near UPenn-caliber. Now Richard Stockton should be his safety.

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