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Old 16.09.2012, 02:37
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ETH - master degree - scholarship

Hi,

I'm a physics student who will be applying to ETH in Zurich for a master degree. I've checked their website for scholarships and they indicate two types of scholarships (ESOP and MSP) who require the candidate to submit a pre-proposal of his master thesis.

Being only in my third year of studies in physics, I still have little idea of what area do I want to work on, let alone decide what my thesis will be (which I'll only do two years from now, since the master degree involves a year of taking courses).

I was wondering if I anyone has already been through this and has any advice. How specific should I be?

Best regards,
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Old 16.09.2012, 11:24
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Re: ETH - master degree - scholarship

If they ask for a proposal, they will want a proposal. I would guess the most common way of writing one successfully is first contacting a professor at ETH who actually wants something done and convincing him/her that you have the capacity & attitude to accomplish the task, then asking him/her for advice in writing the proposal.
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Old 16.09.2012, 11:40
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Re: ETH - master degree - scholarship

Hi,

Thanks a lot for your reply. I'm considering doing just what you said, but I'm still a bit uncomfortable in choosing right know which field do I want to commit to.

By the way, do you go to ETH? Do you personally have experience with the application to these scholarships? Forgive me if it's none of my business to ask you these questions, but it would really be nice to hear the input of someone who has actually been through this stuff (or knows how it works).
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Old 16.09.2012, 17:02
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Re: ETH - master degree - scholarship

Yes, I used to be at ETH, and I secured funding with the method described above, although I'm more familiar with PhD and post-doc funding. Master's funding slightly differs from those but the principle is similar. Nevertheless, I think that it would be a good idea to get familiar with the existing research projects right away - in case you find none of them interesting, it is quite unlikely that your anticipated studies at ETH will be successful.

This may seem rather overwhelming for somebody at very early stages of his research career, and indeed, your local professor (apparently in Portugal?) should ideally help you to create a well-written, polite and scientifically poignant letter to an ETH professor, and introduce you to him to initiate the process. Do you have any contacts at your current institute who could do this for you?

If you don't have the contacts, the other way is, of course, to write a scientifically relevant and technically feasible project proposal entirely by yourself. I don't want to sound harsh, but ETH, being the #1 university in continental Europe, is primarily interested in students who can do this (either with or without guidance).

Last edited by Muuvaara; 16.09.2012 at 17:38.
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Old 16.09.2012, 19:36
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Re: ETH - master degree - scholarship

Hi,

Once again, I thank you for taking the time to reply me. I think if I were to apply to a PHD I'd have a better perspective of what specifically I want to work on, but right know I don't see how I could say I want to do research in particle physics or condensed matter (examples) since I haven't still taken a single course in any of those areas. And it's not that my bachellor's degree is bad, since it's common for one to address those subjects only in the third or the fourth year even in the top universities in the world.

Quote:
This may seem rather overwhelming for somebody at very early stages of his research career, and indeed, your local professor (apparently in Portugal?) should ideally help you to create a well-written, polite and scientifically poignant letter to an ETH professor, and introduce you to him to initiate the process. Do you have any contacts at your current institute who could do this for you?
Maybe I could talk to the professors who I'll be asking my letters of recommendation, but I don't really know if they know anybody in ETH.

I was wondering if you or anybody else know people who applied to do a
master degree and how they proceeded with this pre-proposal thing. I really thank you for all the advice.
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Old 16.09.2012, 20:09
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Re: ETH - master degree - scholarship

Again, to my best knowledge you need a real proposal for your scholarship application at ETH, even if it's just for the Master's. Maybe this thread will be useful for you regarding the details:

ETH Zurich: Anyone with application experience?

P.S. Good luck!
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