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Programs Economics Major, Physics Minor?

  1. Jun 2, 2016 #1
    As I've posted in another thread, I'm struggling with having failed to make significant progress in my physics degree; continuing to pursue it as an undergraduate major would likely result in another two years of school (and including a couple semesters off, I've already been an undergrad for 5 years), and my GPA is so low my financial aid has been suspended pending appeal. However, I HAVE completed the requirements towards a physics MINOR as well as (my originally planned) economics minor, and upgrading the latter to a major would only require one more year. While not as much as physics, I do like econ a lot, having excelled in the courses I've taken and reading stuff like Thomas Piketty in my spare time. My questions are:
    1) [Employment] I always viewed a physics bachelors as, in addition to my lifelong aspiration, unemployment insurance; my university is not prestigious, so I always had in the back of my mind the idea that I could always fall into SOME kind of decently-paying technical job with a bachelors in physics. Unemployment for econ majors seems to be low and the starting salary comparable to a physics bachelors, but abandoning STEM makes me extremely nervous. Is this justified?
    2) [Employment/ education] Will my physics minor matter in future opportunities? Part of my thinking about the econ major is that the lighter workload (I'm a quick reader/writer, and my math qualifications far exceed those of the major) would enable me to pursue more physics opportunities (volunteering in labs, studying for the GRE). However, the watch word is that minors don't matter, and in this case one in STEM would be a pretty clear demonstration that I couldn't hack it as my top billing. Does giving up on physics mean giving up on physics?
    3) [Education] For those with an economics education (I know a lot of physicists earn masters in econ/ business admin); am I likely to be intellectually stimulated in this major? As a layman a lot of mainstream economic thought seems suspect and while being critical of the material presented will help me as a student, the overall fuzziness of the discipline as compared to the natural sciences would make me question the intellectual value of my degree. Is it worth giving up something I love but am terrible at for something I like that I'm good at?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 2, 2016 #2
    In point 2 you mention the GRE and giving up on physics, do you mean can you still go to grad school for physics with a minor in physics?

    If yes (if no disregard the next bit)

    How do you think youre going to be able to cope with graduate level courses and research when youre not doing very well at undergrad and are just giving up? If you want to go do physics research then youre going to have to find a way to get better at physics, you cant just skip over the bits you dont get by doing another major then jump straight to grad school.
  4. Jun 2, 2016 #3
    I should have clarified: I hadn't struggled academically in physics so much as outside circumstances had made pursuing a degree (in any field) difficult for me. I would change majors to save time and make myself employable sooner. In the extremely unlikely event that I got into grad school for physics on the strength of my minor and GRE score, I would have had to learn the material (on my own) to get that score anyway, so I'm not counting on 'skipping' anything so much as figuring out a quality short-term plan. Finishing the physics major would be extremely fun and rewarding, but I don't feel that I have the time anymore.
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