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How do I do research post-baccalaureate?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

I would like to go onto grad-school in physics, however I don't have a clear research interest. How should I go about doing research in an academic setting? Should I apply to a few REUs and go from there? I also have a BS in math, so that is a possibility as well, and I have done previous research without finding a strong interest.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
eri
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20
If you've already graduate from college, you're not eligible for REU programs. What kind of physics background do you have? A BS in math does not qualify you to apply to graduate programs in physics.
 
  • #3
I have a BS in physics as well, with a good GPA. I've done research in particle and materials, however most of this was in construction of a PAC spectrometer and testing of PMTs, so it's really been entirely nuclear electronics. That was fun for a little bit, but it grinds away at your will to live eventually. I did research independently in the math dept. in fluids, which I found the most interesting. That's my background in a nutshell.
 
  • #4
349
1
just take the GREs and apply to grad school if you already have ugrad research experience (doesnt matter which area) and good grades. grad schools want to see that you are interested in research at all, it doesnt matter what area it was in or whether or not you have a primary focus picked out.
 
  • #5
jtbell
Mentor
15,523
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I would like to go onto grad-school in physics, however I don't have a clear research interest.
Assuming you're in the USA, you don't necessarily have to have made a definite decision about your research field in order to enter graduate school. Go to a school that does research in areas that you might be interested in. You can talk to people there, and work in different fields, and make up your mind during the first couple of years, while you're doing your coursework.

During my first summer in graduate school, I worked in a low-temperature lab, but I ended up doing my dissertation in experimental high-energy particle physics.
 
  • #6
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
2019 Award
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but it grinds away at your will to live eventually
Then you've learned something valuable - that a career as a research physicist is not for you. This kind of repetitive checking a zillion things out even though they probably don't matter is the very nature of the job. If that's not for you, neither is the job.
 
  • #7
I think I should have been more specific about my motivations. I have over a year to kill since I'm taking the GRE in April, and applying the following fall. I have no idea what to do in the meantime, other than my current job (which is unrelated to physics).

I'm not opposed to being a research physicist at all. I enjoy working with my hands (currently I'm working as carpenter's apprentice), and two of my favorite classes were analog and digital. I'm just, for the time being, sick of nuclear electronics.

To rephrase my question: What ways exist for doing post-baccalaureate research without being a graduate student?
 

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