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I know one needs E&M, classical, quantum, statmech at the graduate level. But what more does one need? Are quantum field theory, relativistic QM, advanced math needed? or just an advanced course in elementary particles on top of basics suffice? Please bear in mind that the intended profession is an experimenter and not a theorist.

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closed as off-topic by Waffle's Crazy Peanut, Ben Crowell, Qmechanic Aug 18 '13 at 21:27

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This question isn't really inside the scope of Physics.SE. You can probably ask it in this place. –  Dimensio1n0 Aug 18 '13 at 8:24
I agree with Dimension10 that this is somewhat off-topic for this site. But briefly, you may not have an accurate idea of what it's like to carry out PhD research in experimental particle physics. You are likely to spend all your time working with electronics, computers, and vacuum systems. You will be one tiny cog in a huge collaboration, with 500 authors on every paper, and the most important skill you can have is the social skill of being able to get along in that kind of environment and promote your own career despite being a completely disposable element of the collaboration. –  Ben Crowell Aug 18 '13 at 18:15
I think this question (in its current form) appears to be off-topic here, because it's quite inclined towards the academic side, and can more likely be salvageable at Academia.SE –  Waffle's Crazy Peanut Aug 18 '13 at 18:53

2 Answers 2

To be become a good experimental physicist you must have to have a very good understanding of what is already known. So I would advice you to master the formalism of QFT and the standard model thoroughly. Of-course you would also have to study the experimental technique required.

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Are quantum field theory, relativistic QM, advanced math needed? or just an advanced course in elementary particles on top of basics suffice?

I presume this is a study track towards a PhD in elementary particle experimental. To a large extent it will depend on the projects available in the university that offer thesis subjects for graduate students.

If the subject is pure experiment, detector development and/or program development then a strong particle physics course would suffice, because it would be a background for the particular thesis subject . It might be necessary to take a solid state or optics or ...advanced course depending on the detector needs.

If the thesis subject is analysis of data, yes, QFT and advanced math are necessary in order to understand the phenomenological models needed to fit the data.

But again I add that it is something that the thesis advisor should advise on.

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