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Doing a Physics PhD without a Physics Undergrad Degree?

  1. Aug 2, 2013 #1

    I will be graduating with an MChem (4 year integrated Masters Chemistry Degree) next year and i'm thinking about potential PhD's to go into. I was just wandering what kind of flexibility you have in choosing what field you go into. I was looking at some programmes in physics that have caught my eye but i don't know whether they will accept a chemistry graduate or not. As you may know they are different fields but with quite a great deal of overlap and i have studied many of the same fields (albeit in different amount of detail and with a different focus) as physics graduates.

    I understand that i will be required to do some extra reading to catch up in some case but as you're already expected to do a large amount of research anyway i don't really see it as an issue for me. Also i am interested in the fields that i have already come across before and have some knowledge on and not ones that i have absolutely no clue about. More specifically i'm looking at Nuclear Physics and Photon/Laser Physics. However there are some less related fields
    that i'm also interested in and i would bring myself up to scratch in my year out of academia after i finish my current degree if i were to pursue these further (astrophysics or particle physics).

    So what is the consensus? Are graduates expected to go only into the field they graduated in or is there some flexibility? Would a physics graduate be preferred over myself because of his/her background? I believe having a first degree in Chemistry from a well respected university should show i have the potential required to undertake a PhD in any field.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 2, 2013 #2


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    Education Advisor

    There's a pinned thread at the top of this section of the forum for just your situation. You might want to check it out. Lots of great information in there.
  4. Aug 2, 2013 #3


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    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    It will depend on what courses you've taken. Generally speaking a degree in physical chemistry would be considered sufficient for admission to a physics graduate program, but you'll have to look into this at the specific schools you're interested in applying to.
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