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CM Physics M.Sc. in Canada: Next step?

  1. Apr 18, 2013 #1
    My job search is going poorly and I am considering returning to school to do a Ph.D.. I have an M.Sc. in condensed matter (CM) physics and a B.Sc. with a focus on soft matter physics. I am hoping to enter industry in an R&D setting, but as I live in Canada my opportunities to do R&D in CM are limited. I've been told that having an M.Sc. makes you over qualified for B.Sc. positions and under qualified for Ph.D. positions.

    Do I need a Ph.D. to have a shot at research positions?

    Will I find myself in the similar position when I graduate?

    Given the limited research opportunities in Canada is it worth doing a Ph.D in physics and pursuing research positions, or should I start a graduate program in either engineering, computer science, geophysics, or petrophysics (all of which I find interesting and more employable)?

    Any advice would be appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2013 #2


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    Education Advisor

    In general, if you want a shot at working in a research setting in physics (condensed matter specifically for you), then yes, a PhD is a minimum requirement.

    That being said, my question to you is whether you are dead-set on staying in Canada or are willing to move to find a position -- and not just to the US (a common place for Canadian graduates to migrate to) but anywhere in the world, including places like China, India, Singapore, Japan, UK, Australia, continental Europe, Brazil, etc. If you are willing to relocate as I described above, then there should be more opportunities open for you in physics research in general (CM in particular), although as others have pointed out, opportunities for physics research (whether academic or industrial) are limited everywhere. I can attest that research opportunities in basic science in general are very limited in Canada.

    If your thoughts are on staying in Canada, I would recommend considering pursuing a Masters in the other fields you had mentioned, which are indeed more employable (I'm not sure how employable geophysics is outside of the oil & gas industries in Alberta or in places like the Northwest Territories, Yukon or Nunavut).
    Last edited: May 9, 2013
  4. May 9, 2013 #3
    I don't know how it is in Canada, but a quick job search in the US will reveal industrial physics and government research jobs expect a masters in physics or cognate fields like optics or materials science, unless you can make up for that with many years of technical experience in that specific field.

    A phd will open some doors and close others. A masters in a different field will open different doors and close others. Eventually you must specialize in something.
  5. May 19, 2013 #4
    Thanks for the responses.
    StatGuy2000: I am looking at working in Newfoundland in particular where there is a lot of oil and gas activity, so I think that geophysics should be a good direction.
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