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Choosing an Area of Physics to Study

  1. Jul 2, 2012 #1
    I have a few questions for those of you that have enrolled in or completed graduate school:

    1. When during your college career did you know what area of Physics you wanted to focus on?

    2. Did you do any research in that area before graduate school?

    3. How much did you know about that area of Physics prior to graduate school?

    4. Was your decision based on the area of Physics that a previous professor was engaged in?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2012 #2


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    After my master's degree I knew I wasn't happy in the field I was in. I did okay in it, but I didn't have any passion for learning beyond what was assigned to me. I considered giving up physics altogether, but then a post-doc who was also considering jumping fields talked me into checking out a program in another field (medical physics). It turned out very well for me.

    (I might note that in Canada it's a lot more common to do an MSc prior to PhD work.)


    In undergrad I paid little attention to it. I was a lot more interested in astrophysics at the time. I had a number of friends in it though, so I attended seminars both locally and at a conference that I otherwise wouldn't have. Prior to enrolling in the PhD however (while I was completing my MSc) I began attending seminars at the local cancer facility. I talked with a number of potential supervisors and learned as much as I could about the field.

    No. I had some great professors in undergrad (and a few not so great ones). But for whatever reason few of them ever talked about their own research during lectures - probably because it would have taken up too much time.
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