Exploring a Career in Physics with the Military: Advice for JD

In summary, JD is considering joining the military to start his career in physics and eventually obtain a PhD in theoretical physics. He is seeking general advice and is most interested in the Navy and Air Force, with the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate (NUPOC) and NROTC programs as potential options. He is attracted to the military for tuition coverage and experience in applied physics before pursuing theoretical research. He is also interested in the discipline and potential opportunities for research employers to view his military experience positively. However, he is concerned about the potential delay in obtaining his PhD and is unsure about options for pursuing a masters or PhD while in the military.
  • #1
JDtheRobot
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Hello All, call me JD. I'm strongly considering joining the military to begin my career in physics. My ultimate goal is to obtain a PhD in theoretical physics and do research in a yet to be determined specialization.

What I'm looking for is some general advice for starters. I've seen most of the other posts here relating to physics careers in the Military. I know the only branches worth me considering are Navy and Air force. I think the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate (NUPOC) program sounds like it would be a great next step for me. NROTC might be even better (more relaxed time-frame). I would really consider any interesting MOS (if that is the proper term to use here) which of course relates to physics as much as possible. I understand any possible choices will most likely lean quite a bit towards engineering, that's okay with me.

I have about two years college under my belt. The military is an attractive option for me, not only for covering tuition, but for experience. I think it would be enjoyable and great to have the experience of something closer to applied physics before I go straight into theoretical research (and will probably never look back). I also look forward to the discipline the military could offer (I could probably use some of that). I really like the sound of NROTC because it would allow me to complete my BS in physics just a bit leisurely, with some assurance of what I'll be doing afterwards (won't have to worry about where to go to grad school right away) and they even give you a subsistence allowance.

So, how would joining certain military programs affect my career path in general? I'm sure it wouldn't be a complete waste of time to spend 8+ years in the military doing something physics related. But, how would that affect me getting my PhD afterwards? What are the options/possibilities for getting a masters or PhD while still in the military? How would the experience I gain positively affect opportunities in the future? Would any research (theoretical research, mind you) employers look positively on having that sort of experience? Or is it just kind of a waste?

Any answers/advice will be appreciated! Especially if it comes from experience. Please let me know if you need any further info.
 
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  • #2


It will definitely delay your PhD, can't go to school and be in boot camp at the same time
 

Related to Exploring a Career in Physics with the Military: Advice for JD

1. What are the requirements for pursuing a career in physics with the military?

The exact requirements may vary depending on the specific branch of the military and the type of position you are interested in. Generally, a bachelor's degree in physics or a related field is required, along with physical and medical fitness. Some positions may also require security clearance and additional training.

2. Can I pursue a career in physics with the military if I do not have a degree in physics?

It is possible to pursue a career in physics with the military without a degree in physics, but it may be more difficult. Many positions require a degree in physics or a related field, but some may accept degrees in other STEM fields such as engineering or mathematics. It is also possible to gain relevant experience through internships or military training programs.

3. What types of job opportunities are available for physicists in the military?

There are a variety of job opportunities for physicists in the military, including research and development, technology and weapons development, and analysis of data and intelligence. Potential positions may also involve working with advanced technologies and collaborating with other branches of the military, government agencies, and private companies.

4. How does a career in physics with the military differ from a civilian career in physics?

A career in physics with the military may involve a different focus compared to a civilian career. Military physicists often work on projects that have a direct impact on national security and defense, while civilian physicists may be more focused on academic research or industry applications. Additionally, military positions may involve travel and deployment, while civilian positions may offer more stability and opportunities for advancement.

5. What advice do you have for someone considering a career in physics with the military?

My advice would be to research and understand the specific requirements and opportunities in the branch of the military you are interested in. It is also important to stay physically and mentally fit, as well as maintain a strong academic background in physics and other relevant subjects. Networking with current or former military physicists can also provide valuable insights and guidance.

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