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Go into Engineering or Physical Science? I want a research job down the road (Ph.D).

  1. Jan 23, 2010 #1
    They seem so similar, at least in the research, Ph.D area.

    I am in grade 12 right now, the last year of high school. I am 100% willing to pursue a Ph.D down the road, as I know that is required for research jobs. Thank you.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 19, 2010 #2
    Re: Go into Engineering or Physical Science? I want a research job down the road (Ph.

    Bump! This is really a pressing decision for me so ANY HELP would be appreciated.

    Oh! I have some good news too!
    I've been accepted into: (drum roll)
    McGill Chemical Engineering
    McGill Physical Sciences
    Waterloo Nanotech Engineering
    Waterloo Physical Sciences
    University of Saskatchewan Physics

    And Shad Valley for the summer. Yahoo!

    Now I need your input!!!

    Thanks everyone.
     
  4. Feb 19, 2010 #3

    Choppy

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    Re: Go into Engineering or Physical Science? I want a research job down the road (Ph.

    I suppose it would depend on what kind of research you're interested in. Going the physics route will lead more directly into the more fundamental type research. Although, that isn't always the case. The research I'm involved in is entirely applied physics. It's fairly common advice here that if you chose that path, not to count on an academic position as they are few and far between. That's not to say that there are no jobs for physicists. Most of us do reasonably well, even outside of academia.

    Going the engineering route will give you a specific profession, but the opportunities for getting involved in research, especially at the fundamental level, will not be as numerous. Also the skill set is somewhat different from that of a physicist as there is more emphasis placed on design and application of known principles.

    The good news is that it's not actually that difficult to switch. Take a reasonably general first year if you haven't decided and get involved with different student groups to learn more about each area. From an undergraduate point of view transferring after first year can seem tough because it can add on an extra semester to the time it takes to graduate, but an extra semester in the grand scheme of things really isn't that big of a deal if it gets you where you want to be.
     
  5. Feb 19, 2010 #4
    Re: Go into Engineering or Physical Science? I want a research job down the road (Ph.

    Really?? That's news to me. Are you saying that it is a risk I shouldn't be taking - banking on a job in academia?

    That's what I'm leaning towards- a general first year enrolled in physical sciences. Then I can switch. I'm also even considering Environment. I think it would be so sweet to do field work.
     
  6. Feb 19, 2010 #5
    Re: Go into Engineering or Physical Science? I want a research job down the road (Ph.

    by the way, does any one have any reviews of McGill's faculty of science or engineering?
     
  7. Feb 19, 2010 #6
    Re: Go into Engineering or Physical Science? I want a research job down the road (Ph.

    Yes. Jobs in academia can be hard to comeby, near impossible depending on the topic of interest. Each working academic will mentor numbers up-to tens of PhD students. These students are then all competing with each other for jobs: it can be especially difficult since those in academia will most often stay there, the jobs last a long time.

    To be honest, though it is great to get an idea of where you would like to go - such that it acts as a motivation for success in your studies, it's advisable to not focus too much on things like a PhD just yet. You've still got a long way to go and a lot to learn about where you would like to end up.

    Hopefully covering things in your general physical sciences first year will give you a better understanding of which course you would prefer as an undergraduate - this will give a flavour for research also, engineers and physicists tackle potentially very different subject matters.
     
  8. Feb 19, 2010 #7
    Re: Go into Engineering or Physical Science? I want a research job down the road (Ph.

    Wow that's really impressive, Engineering in McGill?
     
  9. Feb 19, 2010 #8
    Re: Go into Engineering or Physical Science? I want a research job down the road (Ph.

    Thanks bro
    Is it a good program ? I don't know anything about it to be honest. I'm just going there cause I like Montreal a lot
     
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