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Applied Physics Grad School

  1. Aug 27, 2006 #1
    I just transfered over to a university (UW) and my advisor said that if I am planning on going into applied physics after my B.S., my grad school will probably just be an intership or something like that.

    Is that right? That would be pretty awesome. I have a short attention span, so going out and actually doing something would be a lot cooler than staying in school.

    Unless it's pushing paper.:yuck:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2006 #2
    Hm. I'm not sure if I necessarily buy that. If you're interested in doing engineering ("physics that is applied"), then yes, I suppose an internship may be the next step in your career just as grad school would be the next step in the career of somebody interested in going to academia.

    However, there are Applied Physics departments at universities that do academic research. ("Applied Physics" is something of a nebulous term to me in this context though.) I.e. if you're interested in doing a PhD and becoming a professor or researcher in the field, then there are Applied Physics (AP) gradaute programs out there (at Stanford for example).

    So don't misunderstand what your advisor is telling you and assume that an internship after undergrad in physics-y engineering is the same as a PhD program in Applied Physics. This isn't to say that one path is preferable over the other--that's something that you should decide on your own based on what intersts you.

    As a side note, there is a graduate fellowship from the National Physical Science Consortium that works very closely with industry. It funds a graduate student's PhD research while they spend summers working in industry (essentially doing internships). The website is: http://www.npsc.org/
     
  4. Aug 27, 2006 #3

    ZapperZ

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    That is a very strange advice. Ask your advisor how he would explain, for example, the "Applied Physics" dept. at Stanford. It is actually a physics department, with a heavy concentration on condensed matter, both theoretical and experimental. Applied physics doesn't necessary just mean "engineering".

    Zz.
     
  5. Aug 27, 2006 #4
    Well, she ;) did say that it was for a Master's. I want to go for a Ph.D. I dind't bring that up because I had been in my orientation day thing for like 8 hours already and was just exhausted from it all. And it's not like it's important now.

    My career goal is to be something between a physicist and an engineer. I assumed that applied physics would cover that. I know there is also an engineering physics program at some schools, but not at the one I am at.

    I want to know all the cool theory, but work with it and put it to use. You know, build stuff, make stuff happen, etc. Instead of the theorist route of calculating or the experimantalists route of doing experiments and lab reports (unless I am mistaken. I only know what I read here and in other places).

    My advisor from my community college said that even though he was working a lot with optics and such (instead of "applied physics"), he still built prototypes of machines and stuff like that, so he said it's really vague and open. I just want to make sure I don't end up pushing paper.
     
  6. Aug 27, 2006 #5

    ZapperZ

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    You're mistaken, especially on "experimentalist". Besides, when you go into engineering, you don't think writing "lab reports" is involved?

    What you've described you want to do more closely resemble engineering than physics. So maybe you should major in it.

    Zz.
     
  7. Aug 27, 2006 #6
    But that's the thing. I also want to know all the theory that goes behind it all. I want to know why engineering works the way it does.

    You know, I'm not really sure what field I need to go to. I've really tried to do my research, but it all comes out really vague in the end.

    Yeah, I am probably mistaken on both the theorist and experimentalist. I'm sorry, I don't have much information.

    It's not writing up lab reports that I dread, it's just doing run of the mill stuff and pushing paper. I want to work with new technologies and really push research and technology further. I don't know what field. Frankly, I don't care. It's ALL interesting to me.

    Do you have any literature I can read up on or something regarding what people do in their professions?

    And, if I get my B.S. in physics now, I can still go ahead and get a master's or Ph.D. in engineering later, right?
     
  8. Aug 27, 2006 #7

    Dr Transport

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    Yes you can get a Masters in Engineering after a BS in Physics. Why not try an Engineering Physics degree???
     
  9. Aug 27, 2006 #8
    Not offered at my school. Otherwise I probably would have gone for it.
     
  10. Aug 28, 2006 #9

    Dr Transport

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    transfer to a different school that has an engineering physics degree program or set up a special degree program with your advisor.
     
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