Entering Physics Graduate School From Another Major - Comments

In summary: I'm now in the process of applying to PhD programs in physics and I'm not sure if my lack of a physics degree will hinder my acceptance or not. I know that, in general, academia is a competitive field and I want to do my best to increase my chances, but I just wanted to get a general idea of whether or not my background would be a disadvantage.In summary, if you come from a non-science, non-technical background, you may want to consider how far up a hole you’re willing to climb to achieve your goal. However, with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.
  • #1
ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
32,820
4,718
ZapperZ submitted a new PF Insights post

Entering Physics Graduate School From Another Major

othermajors-80x80.png


Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
 
  • Like
Likes Choppy and Greg Bernhardt
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
Great essay. I have a BS in aerospace engineering (minored in physics), and a MS in astronautical engineering. I've been studying for the physics GRE and plan to take it this winter. My question is: What (dis)advantage would I have in applying to a big physics school (MIT, CalTech, Stanford, Princeton, etc.) to pursue my PhD soley in terms of acceptance? In general, would the selection committee see my background and want to accept me, just to bring in diversity, or would they shun me since I don't not have a Physics BS?
 
  • #4
"If you come from a non-science, non-technical background, you may want to consider how far up a hole you’re willing to climb to achieve your goal."

Reference https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/entering-physics-graduate-school-from-another-major/

Yes! I graduated in 2014, as a non-trad, with an English degree. Since then, I've been setting my sights on obtaining a physics degree and becoming a physicist. However, the highest level of math I had under my belt was Pre-cal which I took as an elective for my English degree; my only science was an intro to chem course. So, I decided to see just how practical it would be to accomplish should I embark on such an adventure.

Firstly, I didn't know where to start, but after a few google searches, I found PF. Utilizing the free textbooks and homework sections, as well as Insights articles and the various posts of encouragement and discussions throughout the forum, I started with Calculus. Self-teaching calculus is difficult enough and doing it while working multiple jobs is even harder, so I applied for and landed an entry-level job at the state university to take advantage of a tuition reimbursement benefit they allowed for staff. I enrolled in Calc. I in the spring of 2017 and ended up with an A. From there I've taken some online physics and engineering courses while maintaining a self-study habit.

I still have a long way to go, but, at 33 years old, I've been accepted for 2nd Bachelor's in Physics for Fall 2018.
 

Related to Entering Physics Graduate School From Another Major - Comments

1. Can I enter a physics graduate program from a different major?

Yes, it is possible to enter a physics graduate program from a different major. Many universities offer bridge programs or courses for students with non-physics backgrounds to catch up on necessary knowledge before starting the graduate program.

2. What are the necessary requirements for entering a physics graduate program from another major?

The requirements may vary between universities, but in general, you will need a strong foundation in mathematics, physics, and other relevant sciences. You may also need to take the GRE subject test in physics and have letters of recommendation from professors in related fields.

3. How can I prepare for a physics graduate program if I have a non-physics background?

There are a few steps you can take to prepare for a physics graduate program. First, make sure you have a strong understanding of mathematics, including calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations. You can also take introductory physics courses to familiarize yourself with the subject. Additionally, reading textbooks and attending seminars or workshops can help you gain a better understanding of physics concepts.

4. Is it possible to enter a physics graduate program without a bachelor's degree in physics?

Yes, it is possible to enter a physics graduate program without a bachelor's degree in physics. However, you may need to complete additional coursework or bridge programs to catch up on any necessary knowledge. It is also important to have a strong background in mathematics and other relevant sciences.

5. What are the career opportunities for someone who enters a physics graduate program from another major?

There are many career opportunities for someone who enters a physics graduate program from another major. Some common career paths include research positions in academia or industry, teaching at the university level, and working in fields such as engineering, data science, and finance. Graduates with a physics background also tend to have strong problem-solving and analytical skills, making them valuable in a variety of industries.

Similar threads

  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
20
Views
354
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
9
Views
573
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
32
Views
894
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
4
Views
891
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
8
Views
866
Replies
2
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
5
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
8
Views
1K
Replies
10
Views
1K
Replies
6
Views
1K
Back
Top