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Curious for your input to accept my graduate school offer

  1. May 8, 2017 #1
    I'm currently actually a first year masters student in Software Engineering at a small state school in Wisconsin, but my Bachelor's is in Physics w/ a computational emphasis from the same school. For an undergrad, I had a fairly large amount of research experience in nuclear physics (2 internships and credit for research almost every semester).

    Today I received my letter of acceptance into UW-Madison's Nuclear Engineering MS program. There's a few reasons I'm conflicted in this:

    • Currently paying for school, although I have a solid paying internship and I would have to pay for school if I changed as well (late applicant and MS student). I am curious if it would be possible to do a year there, then reapply for a Ph.D and hope to get funding.
    • Lifestyle: my gut tells me my life would be dramatically different going down both roads. I would be nervous of my life being entirely consumed if I went the Ph.D route. I love nuclear sciences and understand graduate school kind of sucks for everyone (I admittedly feel like I'm still in undergrad), but I'm unsure of any job prospects for someone with a grad degree in nuclear eng. that have a more reasonable work load. I would probably be shooting for a national lab position optimally.
    • Nervous about "going back" on my choice. I was very burnt out after undergrad and after a relaxed summer ended up being very ready to jump back into something more intense. Mid way through fall semester I began feeling like I didn't really fit in the field of CS/software. I particularly find myself lacking passion about the idea of a career in business applied software, which is what my current internship is in.
    Has anyone been in a similar scenario, or has any experience with UW-Madison/nuclear engineering etc.? Any input is greatly appreciated, thanks again.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2017 #2
    You listed the cons, but what are the pros for you to take this opportunity?
     
  4. May 9, 2017 #3
    Good point:
    • Interest/fulfillment, I definitely find nuclear sciences quite interesting and I view nuclear energy as something very worthwhile to spend a large portion of my life contributing to. My experiences in the software field as so far limited to school and enterprise business software which, while it may genuinely be useful for businesses, I find myself a little uncomfortable thinking about spending my life contributing to that. I do enjoy coding, however, and would be shooting for computational based projects in the future, but I don't mind working with my hands.
    • Financially I would think it would still be reasonable, likely not quite as lucrative as software but still plenty well enough to live comfortably
    • The school is more prestigious (especially for nuclear engineering), although admittedly this one is perhaps superficial and may be more of a personal barrier than anything.
     
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