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Physics Benefit of a physics minor or major in Computer Science

  1. Jan 20, 2017 #1
    I'm currently a Computer Science major, but I'm really into physics and I was wondering if there is any practical benefit to getting a physics minor, or even a major. Is there anyone looking for people with a background in both physics and CS? And would a minor (or even a major) be enough physics eduacation to even be useful in a job like this?
    Ideally I would like to find a job that uses both CS and physics, but I don't know if that is possible.

    Any thoughts or insights from people with similar backgrounds would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2017 #2
    At the PhD level there are jobs like that. Lots of physics research requires computer science skills Besides that, I cant think of any direct uses of physics in the workplace. Consider that many or most physics grads cant get a job using physics. I would love a job that involved physics, but without a PhD the pickings are slim.
  4. Jan 20, 2017 #3


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    To answer your question, there are certain areas of software development (e.g. computer graphics, game design, numerical analysis, simulation software) where there is an immediate practical benefit to having someone with both a CS and physics background, so in this respect, pursuing a physics minor or even a double-major may be quite beneficial.

    I should also point out that if you are interested in pursuing graduate studies in CS, there are numerous areas of research in theoretical computer science (e.g. quantum computing, randomized algorithms, computational methods of statistical physics, stochastic processes, and non-linear dynamical systems) that intersect with physics. Less directly, recent developments in research in machine learning/AI have involved incorporating mathematical methods developed in statistical mechanics (e.g. Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithms).

    The upshot to all of this is that, if you are interested, pursuing a combined degree in CS and physics (or at least pursuing a physics minor) could be highly beneficial, and certainly doable given that both fields have common core requirements in math.
  5. Jan 20, 2017 #4


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    ModusPwnd, I think you're looking at too narrow a definition of "direct" uses of physics.

    Yes, if you want to be involved in advanced concepts in quantum field theory, condensed matter, optics, etc., then certainly without a PhD in physics there will be relatively few jobs available.

    What the OP is wondering is whether combining CS and physics will open up job opportunities, presumably in CS. The answer to that is a clear and definite yes. I've already mentioned game design, simulation/numerical analysis, computer graphics, and I'm certain there are many more such opportunities which I'm not aware of.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017
  6. Jan 20, 2017 #5
    It seems CS can open more opportunities in physics employment than physics itself. At this point, Im not surprised.
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