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Doctorate in physics?

  1. Jan 8, 2008 #1
    I am new here and thought maybe someone could offer some information. I currently have a masters in mechanical engineering and thought how nice it would be to go back for a doctorate in physics. How far have I strayed from the basic requirements to enter a doctorate program, after finishing an engineer program, and is the gap too big to make up for the deficiencies? I would hope it doesn't require earning a completely new undergrad degree first.

    I am not worried about using it to find work as that is completely under control. I would only be doing it for myself. I wanted the physics degree previously, but went the engineering route for the sake of job possibilities. I want that second chance now if I can get it. I have written to the physics department asking this same question, but have not heard back yet.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 9, 2008 #2


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    It depends. How much physics did you take as an undergrad? Several mechanical engineers have entered our physics grad dept in the last few years, and they were scurrying to make up for missed courses. In some cases, it was a full year or more before they could even begin graduate coursework. A minimum preparation in physics would be something like the following: classical mechanics, electricity & magnetism, 2 semesters of mathematical methods, modern physics, and quantum mechanics.

    If you don't meet the requirements of the program you want to attend, you can usually take graduate courses as a non-degree student for a while. If you do well in them, you can use this as leverage when you apply to the program.
  4. Jan 10, 2008 #3


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    You may want to start by reading this thread:


  5. Jan 11, 2008 #4


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    It also depends on what area you are interested in.
    Obviously if you want to do theoretical physics you are going to need to do a lot more background courses than if you want an experimental physics Phd mainly focussed on building some apparatus.
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