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A little advice

  1. Jan 18, 2007 #1
    I'm a high school senior who will be a physics major next year at UT (most likely).

    I have done some reading on careers in different physics areas of research. They all seem really interesting. Just thinking about doing research makes me feel giddy. (long way off but everyone has something to look forward to).

    My question is this what do you guys recommend doing? Should I get a masters before getting a phd?

    I realize physics jobs at universities, and in industry are competitive, so would it give me an edge to say get a ms in medical physics and then a phd in a different area of physics? I guess I'm confused about where to go after I get my B.S.

    Any help would be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 18, 2007 #2
    My suggestion would be to just keep an open mind at this point :smile: Wait until you've actually taken some classes, see what piques your interest! It's probably a bit early to make decisions about what you're going to do when you finish your B.S.
  4. Jan 18, 2007 #3
    Out of curiosity, what is UT? I'm guessing Texas, but it could be Toronto, Tennessee, Timbuktu.

    You're a long way off from graduate school so you have a long time to decide. Some don't even make up their mind about area of study until the end of their first year of grad school. Some schools have a lab rotation period so students get a chance to see whats going on.

    Many schools also allow you to receive a Masters while you're doing your PhD since the requirements get fulfilled along the way. I'm not so sure a MS in medical physics then a PhD in a different area would make too much sense. Medical physics is pretty specialized so unless you went into a biophysics area for the PhD, I don't think this would be a good idea. I mean, if it turned out you didn't like medical physics, you should make the switch before then.

    So, short story long, you have a lot of time to make up your mind. You'll be influenced by various factors along the way so you don't really want to have your mind made up right now.

    A helpful thread might be the "So you want to be a physicist" topic, starting at about post #94. Zapper describes the whole process nicely.

    Good luck!
  5. Jan 18, 2007 #4


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    Almost nobody in Physics gets an MS and then a PhD. Most medium to big physics departments rarely accept students that apply for an MS (unless you are paying tuition). Those students that do get an MS in physics typically start off as PhD candidates, and then either don't make it past qualifiers or voluntarily terminate partway and graduate with an MS.
  6. Jan 18, 2007 #5
    Haha, I'm from Texas, so UT is University of Texas at Austin.:biggrin:

    I read that thread it was very interesting.
  7. Jan 18, 2007 #6
    Hey, somewhat off-topic, but I'm also most likely going to be attending UT for physics in fall '07. Maybe I'll see you there!
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2007
  8. Jan 18, 2007 #7

    Where are you from?
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