I am a third year student doing my bachelors in both physics and mathematics at a German university. Since I am really interested in theoretical physics and mathematics I am thinking about doing a masters degree in mathematical physics. I am very interested in Mathematical Quantum Mechanics and, even though I haven't had courses in it yet, in QFT and General Relativity.

I'm thinking about applying for Part III of the Mathematical Tripos in Cambridge. It's probably quite hard for a German student to get accepted in Cambridge, isn't it? So my question is:

Do I need research experience, papers or something like that? At German universities we don't really do research or write papers in the bachelor studies of theoretical physics or mathematics (apart from the bachelor thesis itself).

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    Hi, tagt. Welcome to Academia.SE. You're asking too many questions at once. Question #1 and #2 should be asked separately. Question #3 is off-topic here (asking for lists of programs constitutes a "shopping question").
    – aeismail
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 20:28
  • Additionally, rather ask for “what are the pros and cons of …?” than “what you you think?” in question #2, otherwise this is too opinion-based.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 20:59
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    @tagt: Yes, please post them as separate questions and then delete this question or edit this question such that only one question remains. Also note that you can comment on your own posts independently of your reputation, so make sure that you keep the account with which you asked the question.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 0:21
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    I would edit this question to focus on #1, and have a look at this question on doing PhD's in new departments before deciding if you need a new one for your question on master's programs.
    – aeismail
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 0:24
  • Hi and welcome to Academia.SE! You should be able to edit and comment on your own post regardless of reputation, but you can't because you created two accounts (one "real" account and one unregistered). You can ask the SE team to merge your accounts following the procedure here. Then you'll be able to edit the post directly to narrow it to one question per post, as suggested by the others.
    – ff524
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 5:46

1 Answer 1


Having research experience will certainly help your application to an elite program. However, it is definitely not a necessity. Moreover, the graduate faculty at top institutions are used to fielding applications from all over the globe; they should be reasonably familiar with what kind of preparation students from Germany will typically have.

However, if you are serious about pursuing graduate studies, only applying to a small number of top programs is not usually a good approach. The top programs frequently need to reject a significant number of totally qualified applicants, simply because their space is limited. I would suggest that you apply more broadly if you want to ensure that you can get into a top program.

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