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obstinatus

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I finished my BS in physics last year and currently work full-time in engineering. I want to pursue my dream of being a research physicist, but I wasn't a stellar undergraduate student, so I'll have to be a self-funded, part-time masters student at first, and I chose to live near the campus of a decently-ranked state school to accomplish this, and I plan to take 1-3 courses this fall as a non-enrolled student to make sure this is the path I want to take.

**However**, I've just discovered that the physics program doesn't offer evening courses, but the applied mathematics program does. My pros & cons of doing the mathematics program are as follows:

**Pros:**

-I did a senior capstone project on numerical simulations of the heat & laplace equations, which is very much in line with applied math, and enjoyed it.

-I'm also very interested in classical mechanics, fluid dynamics, hydrology, etc. which a math program might give me the flexibility to pursue.

-The school's graduate offerings in general are oriented towards working engineers, so I would potentially have institutional support in that way.

-There are several physics Phds on the school's math faculty.

-The philosophical questions around the relationship between math & physics and the degree to which models correspond to the world are very interesting.

-In my career so far I've been very adept as 'selling myself' and my skills despite lacking a lot of experience & credentials, so the generality of math would add to that.

**Cons**:

-When I do apply to physics Phd programs down the road, I'm not sure how much value-added this will be; why would they pick the applied math MS over a physics or even EE MS?

-I didn't have many opportunities to do experimental work in undergrad, and it's possible I would like it, but as a math student that possibility will be foreclosed on.

-Something that attracted me to physics originally was the ability to use approximate solutions/ guesses to achieve results that resemble reality (and the fact that rootedness in experiment/ observation allows this), where mathematics is much more rigorous and abstract. Maybe the applied/engineering orientation of this particular program would obviate this concern.

All of this is based on my own speculations, so I'm wondering if anyone can shed more light