Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

An advanced degree in Mathematical Physics after engineering?

  1. Oct 21, 2007 #1
    Hello all,
    As I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm currently in the last semester of a coursework masters degree(which i dont consider as a true postgraduate degree) in electrical engineering. my recent academic circumstances have rekindled my hitherto dormant interest in pure physics and mathematics and i'm very serious about it so much that i want to pursue an advanced degree in mathematical physics and a research career in the same thereafter.
    also i'm aware that enthusiasm alone wont help me in the admission process anywhere, which is why i've decided to spend some time (after completing my degree), studying the fundamentals and foundations to prepare myself to any sort of rigorous graduate work in the future.
    now, since i'll be graduating soon, i have to find myself a job to survive and i thought i can try for a simple job (that need not pay high) that wouldn't be very taxing and help me with my science pursuits.
    i was considering teaching (math/physics) in high school as one such option, coz i'd have to anyway work on math/physics.
    could someone advise me on whether teaching as a short term career would help me?
    are there any disadvantages of the same that i'm not aware of?
    or any other suggestions that'd work for me?
    i'd really appreciate your help. thanks a lot! :smile:

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 21, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I can't see getting a job teaching hindering you, but I'm not sure that it'd help either. You will not use anything that you will need in your advanced studies by teaching maths/physics (I presume you mean at high school). How do you know that you want to do an advanced degree in "mathematical physics" (I'm not even sure what you mean by that) when you havn't done any undergraduate mathematical physics?

    I suggest that you complete a masters degree in either maths or physics (preferably maths if you want to study mathematical physics) and then decide whether research is for you. It's going to be quite tough, since there will be a lot of assumed knowledge that you don't even know that you don't know. Still, it'll enable you to make the decision more easily, and clearly, than just saying you "like maths and physics."
  4. Oct 21, 2007 #3
    hi cristo, i meant that whether teaching as a job would give me time to concurrently self-learn the advanced concepts (that i need to know for pursuing masters or phd in the field.)
    and also, i meant 'mathematical physics' generically. i suppose i'll become more specific with time and exposure to various fields.
  5. Oct 21, 2007 #4
    It depends on where you teach. Teaching may appear easy but at many places it is not. There are other "behind-the-scene" kinda aspects of the job that may take a lot of your time, and some of these are admin jobs that have little to do with teaching.
  6. Oct 21, 2007 #5
    If this is your last semester in an MSEE program, why not just finish up and get a job? As others have said, teaching HS will not probably help you too much (the physics taught is generally very basic, no more advanced than the few fundamental courses you already took), and indeed may take far more time than you suspect. You should be able to get a pretty nice job as an EE, especially with an MS. Perhaps you could even take one or two physics courses at a university while you work. Maybe you will even find you enjoy your EE job and just continue with that. I guess I don't see any reason to throw away the 5-6 years of education that you already have, without even trying the field out.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook