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Defer Grad Admission for more Undergrad Time?

  1. Apr 8, 2015 #1
    So I have been admitted to my first choice grad program in physics. However, I am worried about job security after my PhD, and was thinking of staying an extra semester or year at my undergrad institution to pick up a double major in CS. I already have 3/4 of the major (via applied maths courses), so it should be easy to do in a year.

    Is this a wise choice? Will my grad school frown upon it? I'll take some physics in the meantime of course. Money isn't an issue.

    Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 8, 2015 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    You should look carefully at your admission letter. I would be surprise if it did not say something about entering in Fall, 2105.
     
  4. Apr 8, 2015 #3
    There is an option to defer, but you're probably right that I should look at it more carefully. I'm just curious if, given that it works out, this is a good idea.
     
  5. Apr 8, 2015 #4
    In addition to taking into consideration what Vanadium said...

    This is something I cam completely sympathize with as I was in the same boat( slightly different) as you just two weeks ago. However, I was choosing between a job offer/deferring versus starting grad school Fall 2015.

    Make a pro/con list. Think about your long term goals/career goals. For me: I do not want go into academia, however I also really wanted a physics PhD ( I love physics and I want the option to pursue a research oriented career in the industry).

    Think about the type of skills you need for the types of jobs you are interested in. You can pick up programming, data mining, machine learning etc from PhD physics programs as well, but that all depends on you and the type of research you are interested in.

    There are going to be some companies that specifically ask for CS major , but there are also companies that take into considerations natural science majors provided you have the skills they are looking for.

    From my experience during interviews and even the job application process: Make sure you have the skills they are looking for ( even if it's the minimum requirement), demonstrate that you like to learn, that you are independent as well as a team player, and that you can communicate. Communication is key to get past HR. It's what you communicate in your resume/cover letter or from networking that gets your foot in the door. (No point in listing technical skills because it depends on type of job).

    Having read the above, ask yourself why you want to go to graduate school for physics? If you have NO idea what you want to do with your life, grad school is not the answer ( but defer, if you can, so you have the option).

    Edit: I want to emphasize that skills you learn during Physics PhD will be more important when you are on the job hunt outside of academia. You have to know how to market those skills, however. Maybe someone with a CS degree can give your tips too. The economy is something to take into consideration too, but who can predict what happens in 7 years?
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015
  6. Apr 11, 2015 #5
    Thanks for the response bluechic. I've thought a while about what you've said, and am leaning towards a year off. I don't think the major itself is too useful, but at least taking most of the CS courses that undergrads do, will probably be.

    I definitely have a similar situation. I want to learn advanced physics, and do research in it. But I am not too invested in an academic career, and don't really care what I do for a living, as long as its research-oriented in some way.

    PROs:
    - Good backup plan - after my PhD, I can probably get a software eng. job much more easily.
    - Time to review physics

    CONs:
    - Might look bad on resume/CV
     
  7. Apr 11, 2015 #6

    SteamKing

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    If that's the case, he's got plenty of time to do a CS degree. :wink:

    In any event, doesn't the grad school institution offer a CS program, to which the OP might transfer his credits?
     
  8. Apr 11, 2015 #7
    I'm not sure what you mean, sorry :(
    Do you mean that my undergrad CS courses could transfer to elective credits in my grad program? Yeah, my grad school does have a fairly good CS program, but not as good as my undergrad school. Would it be better for me to just take CS courses there, while I'm doing the PhD?
     
  9. Apr 11, 2015 #8

    SteamKing

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    Beats me.

    You have to talk to the graduate school and see if they will be willing to wait to accommodate your desire to complete this CS degree at your current school. You know how long it will take to complete this CS degree at your current school, and you should tell your graduate school how long this will take. But, like Vanadium50 said, make sure you understand the conditions and schedule for admittance to your graduate school first.
     
  10. Apr 12, 2015 #9

    Vanadium 50

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    One thing to keep in mind is that just because you have been admitted to a graduate program in physics does not mean you are eligible for an undergrad degree in CS at the same institution.
     
  11. Apr 12, 2015 #10

    Choppy

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    I can't help, but wonder if you might be doing things in a backward order in anticipation of a problem you might have.

    My first thought is that if it's an option to complete a CS second major now, that will also be an option a few years down the line if it turns out that you need that to increase your employability. But taking it now, considering you've gotten a ticket into your first choice of what you'd like to me doing, seems like you'd be taking on a risk that may not be necessary. You could get the PhD and then get a job that you really enjoy without having to do the CS thing.

    Basically, if your only reason for doing it, is that it might increase your employability following your PhD, you may wish to consider waiting until you come to that bridge before crossing it.
     
  12. Apr 13, 2015 #11
    Getting a bachelors degree requires all sorts of other stuff outside the major, which is done now. I basically just need 4 CS courses.
    Can you explain what the risk is?

    I meant that I would be staying at the undergrad school, not getting a CS degree at the grad school.
     
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