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Physics Applied Physics -> Physics?

  1. Nov 28, 2009 #1
    Applied Physics --> Physics?


    Is it possible and feasible to switch from Applied Physics (say with a PhD, having worked on accelerator physics) to 'pure' Physics (say theory, or experiment, in high energy physics)?

    I'm trying to weigh my options as a senior undergrad in EE wanting to make a career switch to Physics. But I presume I have a better chance in Applied Physics programs rather than Physics programs. (This, despite having taken courses on QM, Relativity and QFT, since I lack research experience in physics.) Since a few schools do not allow applying to multiple programs, I have to make up my mind.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 28, 2009 #2
    Re: Applied Physics --> Physics?

    As a person with a masters in "pure" physics, I'd recommend going into applied physics. You're definitely more likely to find a job as your practical skills would make you more marketable. In order to do the applied stuff you'd have to know the theory behind it anyway, so I wouldn't think it would be difficult to switch to "pure" physics if you wanted to. (If you're really looking for something high paying, I hear medical physics is a great field to go into) I had difficulty finding a job after graduating, so now I'm getting certified to teach physics in high school.
  4. Nov 28, 2009 #3
    Re: Applied Physics --> Physics?

    Funny, but i know a professor at ucla that said that if he could redo things again, he would be an engineer. He is now a physicist.
  5. Nov 28, 2009 #4
    Re: Applied Physics --> Physics?

    Hi. No, I'm not looking for a high paying job or anything.

    This is probably not an issue with most people at my level, but I have diverse interests in applied physics and physics, and at this point, I have a greedy strategy to want to explore as much as I want. I know indecision is bad entering grad school, but I want to have some academic freedom later and not be restricted by the name of a degree.

    My long term goal is to stay in research/academia, so as long as I get a job, I'll be happy. The question didn't originate out of monetary concerns or worries anyway. Its just that as an EE, I probably have a greater shot getting into an Applied Physics program.
  6. Nov 30, 2009 #5
    Re: Applied Physics --> Physics?

    One cannot be very generic when it comes to grad school :biggrin:

    But with an engineering background, getting into an applied physics field should not be such a problem but again it depends on specific area of interest. I know a lot of people in IIT Bombay working in the Nanoelectronics programme with a Physics background and atleast one faculty in Physics department has a bachelor's degree in EE but did his PhD in Physics from a reputed institute.
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