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Courses Confused about future

  1. Jun 25, 2017 #1
    I'm currently at war with myself. I'm pursuing chemical engineering as of now, mainly because of two reasons. The two reasons consisting of me wanting too have some knowledge in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. The other of course is money. Money because of me needing too support my family later on after I graduate. My family struggles to the point where we make it on a month to month basis, but always stressing about the future, and how we'll support ourselves. From that, I've always had a passion for physics, and wanting too even pursue my knowledge and hopefully get a phD someday. But I don't think its possible., since after graduation I'd have too just straight into work. I've been thinking and getting a masters degree in physics, and Chem eng. is possible after graduation, but I'd much rather pursue physics and get a Phd, but in my current position it seems highly unlikely, and almost impossible. If anyone can give me some advice I'd greatly appreciate it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 25, 2017 #2


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    There's no easy, absolute correct solution here. There are just different options with advantages and disadvantages, but many of them can be made to work.

    If you were to transfer into a physics major, you would probably get the education you want, but without the same kinds of professional options and opportunities when you graduate compared to a chemical engineer. You'll still have options and opportunities. Some people take the fact that engineers tend to have more options to mean that physics graduates have none, but on average physics graduates do tend to end up in well-paying jobs. For those without PhDs though, it's rare for them to be directly "doing" physics.

    You would also be in a much better position to pursue graduate studies in physics if you study physics. It's likely going to be tough to enter a physics PhD or MSc program with a chemical engineering undergraduate degree - probably not impossible, but a lot harder than with a physics degree. A lot will depend on the courses that you take through your chemical engineering program. If you go to graduate school you'll be getting some money, probably not enough to support a family on though. Do that for 4-6 years, then you can make a little more money as a post-doctoral fellow for another few years, and only after that will you be eligible to compete for any tenure-track positions. The academic physics route is generally not advisable for someone who places a high priority on financial security and income.
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