Hi everyone...thanks for all your very-helpful comments so far. You are really helping a student who has a B.S. in math, is stuck in graduate engineering, is only now (2008) taking a graduate-level physics course (last physics course taken was in 2003) while in an engineering curriculum, and wants to start being a physicist one year from now...but has no idea HOW to accumulate research experience...or what the heck I should be doing right now. Anyway, I'd like to know: I want to get my M.S. in physics as a sort of transitionary qualification to a PhD degree (can't get an expensive (time and moneywise) B.S., and don't want to jump into a PhD right away). However, I've noticed that M.S. students in a primarily-PhD oriented program kind of get bastardized, as the title of this thread says...as in the program just isn't designed to accommodate their needs for research, to be involved, etc. I fear the same will happen in a Physics Master's program...except the University of Minnesota Duluth has an M.S.-only physics grad program (unheard of). Ordinarily, I would be skeptical, but my friend just got his M.S. from there, and, as he described it "The program got me to think like a physicist!" (He seemed satisfied). Are there any other schools like this??? I wish there was one closer to Florida (I am willing to travel, but my girlfriend feels badly that I would be away).