1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Programs Can you switch specialities between undergrad and grad

  1. Aug 10, 2016 #1
    I'm going into chemical physics for undergrad, but I'm worried that would hinder me in grad school if I decide to switch fields. Is it something to be concerned about?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 10, 2016 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2017 Award

    Plenty of people switch fields between undegrad and graduate school. I have classmates who switched from, for example, undergrad research in quantum physics to graduate research in neuroscience or undergrad research in solid state physics to graduate research in evolutionary biology. Plenty of scientists switch fields thorughout their career (for example, my PhD advisor has a PhD in physics, did a postdoc in biophysics, has a faculty position in a chemistry department, and now has part of the research group working on neurobiology).
  4. Aug 10, 2016 #3
    I switched specialties within physics - in undergrad, I did numerical QFT and am now in graduate school doing experimental condensed matter. Quite the learning curve, but people do it all the itme.
  5. Aug 10, 2016 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    In addition to the above comments, it's important to read the fine print. For admission, most physics graduate programs require an undergraduate degree in physics or something fairly close - engineering physics, physical chemistry, electrical engineering or mathematics with a physics minor... that kind of thing. An undergraduate degree in humanities won't qualify you. So the more dissimilar the subjects get, the lower the probability of a successful jump.

    But generally, it's common to jump from one specialty to another. The point of undergrad is to explore your options.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted