Hi, I finished my M.S. in Astronautical Engineering in 2010, B.S. in Aerospace Engineering in 2009 with a minor in physics, and am finding that the work I have been doing in the aerospace industry for the past 4 years is unfulfilling. I would like to focus on something more research oriented and am very interested in: 1) the nuclear fusion problem / plasma physics 2) astrophysics / cosmology - particularly I would like to aid in the understanding of dark matter 3) and at least be comfortable with the physics and mathematics involved in developing theories for quantum gravity / the theory of everything - not necessarily find a job doing this. I have a few questions: A) Can anyone give any advice on how I may pursue an advanced degree in which I could find a job (at a national lab perhaps) doing both 1 & 2 above? B) Since I already have a master's degree, would I need to take the physics GRE if going to a different school? B-II) I've thought about finding a professor at a university that is doing research I am interested in and contacting him personally - I know it will likely depend on the school and the professor, but do students do this often to bypass preliminary exams such as the physics GRE. C) For someone with my background, I am thinking I would likely have to go in as a M.S. student and apply for PhD after taking the schools entrance exam. During my time as an M.S. student, I would likely be able to take coursework that I may lack in-depth knowledge in. Is this correct? Thanks for all your help! I hope to get some great advice from you all.