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Forestry or Physics

  1. May 21, 2008 #1
    I am a junior in high school and I was thinking about my major for next year. I am torn between two majors, physics and forestry. I was wondering what think about these majors? What do you think would be a better major not fousing soley on a salary, but still taken into consideration.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2008 #2
    Could you outline some more about the different choices, forestry is rather wide and inter-diciplinary... So it's a huge subject...
  4. May 21, 2008 #3
    Well I will be taking the forestry science program at penn state http://www.sfr.cas.psu.edu/ForestSci/ForestScience.html
  5. May 21, 2008 #4


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    Also, take into account your hoped-for life-style. To some people, spending time cruising wood-lots and estimating timber yields can be a dream-job. You get out in the woods a lot and still get to exercise math skills, project tree-growth, and other stuff that requires calculations and models. With some states passing regulations restricting clear-cutting to one degree or another, timber companies need people who can survey their holdings and plot sustainable timber-harvest strategies.

    You could get into forestry in a way that is less hands-on and keeps you in an office much of the time. There are so many jobs in forestry that it's hard to predict where you could end up. Another example: you could minor in entomology, for instance, and predict and track invasions of insects that attack valuable timber crops.

    Have you looked at the course-descriptions of schools that have prominent forestry programs? That might give you some clues.

    Edit: you slipped in that post while I was composing this one. The link to Penn is quite informative.
  6. May 21, 2008 #5
    Do you think a forestry and physics double major would be to much?
  7. May 21, 2008 #6
    Physics makes a hella lot more in most cases, and we get to shoot lasers at things more often. They're different enough that it depends solely on your interests.

    You'd have to look at the program requirements and check for scheduling issues, but probably not.
  8. May 21, 2008 #7

    That is the thing in my free time and on vacation I am usally in the woods hunting or other outdoor recreational activity, but when I have physics class I get really into it and focus on that a lot even out of school. I like both equally the same. The money coming from physics very lucrative and is the one of the only things that is making physics a little more inviting
  9. May 21, 2008 #8


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    I've had jobs that I hated and made tons of money, jobs that I loved and made less money, and I found that for me, spending 8-10 hours a day doing something that I really enjoyed was worth giving up some money. That may not work for you, but it's the way I am. I spend a lot of time outdoors, and love fishing and hunting, etc, and the U of M had a great forestry program. I wish I had taken it instead of studying engineering (following the $$$).
  10. May 21, 2008 #9
    does anyone else have any input
  11. May 21, 2008 #10
    Physics is fascinating. Forestry is tedious.

    A trek in the woods is enjoyable, but topics in physics are (to me) very intellectually rewarding. Plus how much longer are the earth's forests going to be around anyway? A couple billion years at the most... wouldn't you prefer to study something that will be around for a significant amount of time?

    But, I think you should follow whatever is more interesting and rewarding to you.
  12. May 22, 2008 #11
    That is the problem they both are rewarding and intersesting to me. I think forests are going to be around longer than that plus I am not going to be alive
  13. May 22, 2008 #12
    Between the Sun leaving the main sequence in 4.5 and the Andromeda collision in 3, not by much (assuming nothing else like large asteroid collisions or biosphere departure occurs first). Also keep in mind that a couple billion years is the timescale for which life on Earth has existed at all.

    Interesting as that may be, you still won't be alive nearly that long. And were you to be, choosing between physics and forestry would be rather a non-issue.
  14. May 22, 2008 #13
    After looking through the student handbook pdf on the school website you posted, I noticed that under the Watershed Management option you would be required to take introductory courses in physics. Why not start off in that, and after you take the introductory physics courses, if you still feel like going on in physics you can switch majors. If not, you have at least gotten some prerequisites for your major out of the way. I would also recommend talking to someone in the forestry major to see how they like it because you are in a physics forum, and, naturally, most people here will prefer physics over forestry any day.
  15. May 22, 2008 #14
    Wormholes, black holes (billions of solar masses), parallel universes, gamma ray bursts that give off enormous amounts of energy, SETI, and time travel.
    Or calculating timber yields.
    Think of it this way, if you study physics and figure out a way to travel through time you could see some pretty amazing forests. Or if you are interested in wild life why not study physics/astronomy and do SETI.

    You said that they are both equally interesting to you so it will be a hard decision; however, I think TheMonster gave solid advice. Also, I don't think there is any reason you have to come to definite decision now, and if you still haven't by the time undergrad comes around you could start off in forestry like previously suggested so you can take both intro classes.

    If you do physics keep in mind that it will be a large commitment and you will likely have to go to grad school to get a job doing physics. I am not sure about forestry though.
  16. May 22, 2008 #15
    are there much career options for forestry??

    It's very bleak for physics...so maybe just take the lower division stuff that forestry requires and take the upper div courses that interest you..without fulfilling a whole another major or minor. You don't wanna be forced to take courses that aren't very interesting to you.
  17. May 22, 2008 #16
    oh and i meant take lower division physics that forestry requires so that u can take itnerestign upper div physics courses.
  18. May 22, 2008 #17
    You can do both. You can get a forestry job and do physics in your free time like Garrett Lisi. Or you can get a physics job and, uhm..., go on a lot of hikes.
  19. May 27, 2008 #18
    Alight I had a talk with my dad and he was saying that if I become a forester then I may not make enough money. He says that he went through the hard times hisself and says that now that he is making money he is much happier. He says I should think about the future when I have a wife and kid. If I am a forester I may not have enough money for my family but if I become a physicist I will have enough. What do you think? Will it be to much work to double major in physics and forestry?
  20. May 27, 2008 #19
  21. May 28, 2008 #20


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    Talk to an adviser at the school of forestry at Penn and ask what kinds of jobs their curriculum prepares you for, and ask about the salary-ranges of those jobs. In rural Maine, (admittedly a low-wage region) foresters are often better-off financially than average folks. I attended high school with a number of kids whose fathers were foresters, back in the day when stay-at-home wives were the norm, and their families were considered to be well-off. You have to research the wage situation yourself and not rely on poorly informed opinion. Wages can vary quite a bit regionally, too. If you find yourself working for a big timber company that pays well, and they locate you in a region where the cost of living is fairly low, you'll be doing well financially.
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