I am an undergraduate student looking forward to applying for a Master or preferably a direct Ph.D. program for Fall 2019. My undergraduate degree is in physics and I want to study data science or applied mathematics or a master in statistical physics (In order to change to data science for a Ph.D.).

I will be recognized as an international student in North America and Europe and I have scored 7.0 in the IELTS exam and my GPA is 3.6 out of 4 and I have publications.

I most certainly need a fully funded scholarship/fellowship to cover my tuition fee and living expenses and that's the top priority for me.

(I found the answer here helpful)

A) My first question is which region is, in general, better for my application request?

Given the fact, I should also take the GRE test (Which is very expensive for me in my country) for the US and Canada but they offer direct Ph.D. programs.

B) My second question is what I have noticed while emailing the professors.

US professors which have replied to my email positively have stated that they take new direct Ph.D. students in research groups but I must first be admitted to the university. Is there a way I make sure if I am admitted I will receive this funding?

Can US professors affect the results of the admission process in any way? Like by directly accepting a student? if so how can I ask for it without being rude? What about EU or Canada?

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    In Canada, Master's and PhD programs in science are usually fully funded, either through TAing or research scholarships. Many have guaranteed funding with admission. A Master's is a good idea if you're switching disciplines: unlike in the US, most people do a Master's before a PhD in Canada, and they can be research based. – jmite Jul 31 '18 at 3:16
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    That said, usually in Canada professors don't directly accept students. You must first be accepted to the university, then find an advisor. – jmite Jul 31 '18 at 3:17

I can't answer your first question, but can give you a bit of background that might help you figure out the US.

First, is that the US doesn't have a national educational system. Some States have policies that cover many (not all) universities within that State. Other places and the other universities have their own policies, with only some oversight. So, your second question depends on the university. Some professors can influence the decision, especially if they have funded labs. Some can but won't. Some can't. But contacting the professors is generally a good thing to do as you get a bit of visibility and maybe some information about continuing.

Second, is that if you get an offer of acceptance that doesn't include funding, you can either turn it down or try to negotiate for that funding. Nothing is very certain unless you are invited to join a funded lab. But in general, nothing is assured until you actually have everything in place.

It is a shame I must give this advice, but this isn't the most opportune time for someone from Iran to be coming to the US. It was much better in the past, and I hope it will be better in the future, but I assume you read the news. Your other options may be better politically, though, among actual academics in the US you are likely to be welcomed. Good Luck.

  • Thank you for this helpful answer. I didn't mention my nationality directly to avoid a political discussion on an academic SE site but it seems the politics affect the education very strongly. The main reason of my interest in the US is the funded study from the begining and the fact I can do actual research from the first semester, unlike EU where master education is just continuing you bachelor's. – Alireza Jul 30 '18 at 21:10
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    @Alireza, your profile gave it away. Unfortunately, individuals in many countries, including this one, have only minimal impact on national policies. Many people in many countries disagree with their national policies. We have to live with that in the short term and try to work to make improvements for the future. I know you understand all of that even though it can be hard to accept. In particular, no professor in the US will make much headway against immigration authorities even if they are misguided. – Buffy Jul 30 '18 at 21:16
  • Although I'm aware of the situation, a few close friends of mine could get accepted into US universities such as Cornell or Penn. State for this Fall semester and have begun their lab work in the US this summer. So I think there would be a chance? – Alireza Jul 30 '18 at 21:21
  • @Alireza. That would be good. – Buffy Jul 30 '18 at 23:53

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