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Degrees in Physics. Why?

  1. Apr 16, 2007 #1
    Hello there folks,
    I am relatively new here to this forum as I have only recently discovered physics in a formal setting in college. I am only four classes away from finishing a Liberal Arts associate degree and I need to choose a Major so I can Transfer. Had I known I would fall in love with Physics, I might have chosen something other than Liberl Arts, but the time is gone already. I had been toying with a degree in Mathematics or Biology, but I have recently considered Physics. I asked my advisor about switching to Engineering, but that would require almost starting over and at 27 I would rather keep moving foward...
    I definetly plan on continuing my education to at least a Masters if not Ph D. My only problem is that I enjoy to many subjects to choose.
    Any recommendations for a person who likes math and science in general? I was thinking of doing a double major in Math and Physics but I do not know why. It seems like in order to make the $$, your degree needs to be very specific. Anyone?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2007 #2


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    The advice I can offer after listening to the advice of many others is this:

    Do not go into physics for "$$". Make sure you really want it. If your looking for a field to make money in, go into something else. The workload is not worth it for someone who just wants money out of the career.
  4. Apr 16, 2007 #3

    Doc Al

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    (I moved this post to Academic and Career Guidance, where I think you'll get a better response.)
  5. Apr 16, 2007 #4
    Whatever your reason is..


    thats the ultimate formula for physics failure
  6. Apr 16, 2007 #5
    Money is the last thing mentioned post because it is the last of my priorities...but that being said, is there no money in the field? Let's be realistic, if one spends six plus years of their life being educated in a certain field I would hope they would be able to sustain themselves :/ I never siad I wanted to gey rich either...
    Maybe I should rephrase the question.....You are all here reading a thread in a forum specifically dedicated to physics...What do you all do? What did you tudy in school? Do you like it?
  7. Apr 16, 2007 #6
    I am considering a similar decision at the moment...I am interested in physics, geology, as well as engineering, and am trying to decide on which to major in. If you want to make pretty good money, engineering would be a good choice. Physics, it seems, won't get you a great job unless you have at least a master's. But if you're interested in it, then certainly it can be worth it.

    Really though, you still don't need to have a definite decision at the moment. I would just declare a major in whatever you are most interested in...for almost any degree in science, you will need probably 2 semesters of physics and chemistry, calculus 1-3 and beyond, etc. I would guess that will take you another semester or 2 regardless of the major, so you still have some time to make up your mind.

    Once you take more classes in each field you will start to realize which one you hate and which one you really enjoy. If you end up really enjoying physics, you can certainly find a good job with it when that enthusiasm shows through in your resume and interviews with employers.
  8. Apr 16, 2007 #7
    i guess if money is a problem, things like tutoring could be used for extra income

    there are varying opinions on the fiscal stability of having physics as a career
  9. Apr 16, 2007 #8
    Well, my advice would major in physics and for grad school get a master in material science. It isn't engineering, but I figure it is something close enough.
  10. Apr 17, 2007 #9
    Saladsamurai, as others have already said, it's probably not a good idea to go into physics for the money. We're not saying this out of any moral or altruistic reasons. Quite literally, physics doesn't pay well. I've heard that a tenured professor can make around $100,000 a year, and maybe you can get a bit more in industry. So while a physicist can certainly live well, physics won't make you rich. Personally I think that majoring in physics is a great idea, but only if you really like science.

    Or he could go the other way. A person with a BS in physics usually can't become a professional physicist, but if he got a BS in material science, and then an MS in physics, he'd have quite a few career options.
  11. Apr 17, 2007 #10
    You might as well study what interests you, if you are spending the money. At least you will dedicate the time to something you enjoy. You can always decide later on to switch to law, business, or engineering if you want more money, or lose interest in science.
  12. Apr 17, 2007 #11
    :confused: is it really possible to make a switch like that?

    can you go from EE BSc to Phys MSc?
  13. Apr 17, 2007 #12
    Actually, at one of the grad schools I was considering, there was a student who had a BS in engineering (I think it was EE, actually), and he was getting his MS in physics. People make all kinds of funny transitions. Back when my dad was doing his MS in EE, one of the other graduate students had a bachelor's in sociology. So yes, you can certainly make a switch from one discipline to another. I guess it just depends on whether or not you've taken sufficient undergraduate work in the field for which you want to go to grad school.
  14. Apr 17, 2007 #13
    In the realistic life if you wanted to study physics forever, you must afford to buy a books for study anytime and also fill up your stomach in order to takes care of your health to continue study. So have you ever think that you can bears the suffering of hungry all the day while you looking at your physics text book?

    I myself like physics so much as well, but I dont think I should go major physics. Just like something what that I interesting not really need to become a parts of the particular college where there is just responsible to collect certificates.

    Therefore, once I going to engineering, those subjects did not look like have deviate that far from my favourite study. As you known that engineering for instances is applied physics, it train you as well a working skills in social life. To sustains you not only your brain can do while there also your physical body can do.

    After you are graduated from engineer, then you might feel that your life are peaceful which you are not bothering rush at to find a job. You may can select to staying at home to brush up on your physics study or joining some society activities. Whenever you need money, go to interview some careers where you have quite a lot of options.
  15. Apr 17, 2007 #14
    Some of my lecturers were also do this kind of thing, where they took BS in engineering then MS in physics. So am I was planning to do so as well :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2:
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2007
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