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CS Vs Physics

  1. Dec 3, 2008 #1
    The Background:

    I am currently a CS undergrad and doing very well in my courses, I am finishing up the 200-level courses this semester with A's and will be taking some 300-level courses next semester. After next semester I would have enough CS courses to complete a minor in the concentration.

    About 6 months ago I got bored with CS and started to be really much more interested in Physics. But the summer is long and I ended up finding myself back in a CS mood by the time Fall came around, not really sure what happened to my Physics passion, I guess there was just no way to act on it so I gave up.

    Presently, I find myself interested in physics once more. At first only enough so that I figured I would like to do a minor in it, but now more so. Infact I think I would like to continue and get a Ph.D. in astrophysics in time. So I am considering finishing my CS program enough to get the minor and majoring is physics. It seems like it would be a good combination.

    And here's where you come in, I have a few questions:

    1. Is a minor in Physics enough to get into a Ph.D. program in Physics?

    2. I want to go into a Ph.d. program after graduation but will have incurred significant debt as I do not get much financial aid. Does this effect the feasibility of doing so, is there anything I can do about it?

    3. I have learned from my time in the software world I don't really enjoy the industry, might be the companies I've been exposed to, more likely I just don't appreciate corporate culture, I'd rather work in academia or someplace like NASA. From people who are already Physics Ph.d.'s do you feel like it was worth it? Or that your idealism when you were my age sucked you in and now you regret spending all that time in school?

    I posted a similar question to this one about 6 months back but my situation has changed enough I'd like to get some fresh advice.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2008 #2


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    I am not a PhD, but I am a physics major several months away from grad school. So, I can help with # 1 and #2 but I'll leave #3 for someone more experienced.

    1. If you want to go to grad school in physics I would major in physics. There are several upper level courses in physics (300-400 level) that will be expected of you if you're entering a graduate program. These include advanced undergraduate study of the following: Classical Mechanics, E&M, Quantum Mechanics, Statistical Physics.

    At my school, a minor in physics will not cover all of the these courses. Thus, I think only a minor in physics would be detrimental to a physics grad school application.

    2.Usually students in PhD programs (U.S.) in physics have their tuition covered by an assisstantship or fellowship. This will also include a very modest stipend to live by. You won't get rich in grad school, but usually you won't go into more debt either.
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