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How much Academic Knowledge is used in industry?

  1. Dec 21, 2009 #1
    Hello everyone, and happy holidays.

    I had a question that recently popped into my head as I am in my last three semesters of my undergraduate university. Some background, I am thinking of applying for a professional Masters degree (2 yrs long) before finding work in industry.

    But I was wondering, how much of the information (not the tools or techniques in lab/calculations), but the actual knowledge of science (ex. how we take courses that focus on certain aspects of cell biology) will be important and used in industry. I have heard from quite a few people that most of the time, when your given projects you will have to do background research and some of the information we study in school is not that important in a real life scenario other than for students in traditional Masters/PhD.

    So my question basically is if I should try to learn everything now in as much detail as possible or only what I am given to study? I know it may be a weird question, but I thought we could discuss it.

    Again Happy Holidays everyone.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2009 #2
    The likelihood of you using the specific knowledge you learn in grad school in the job market is very small. This is just the nature of grad school. You are supposed to learn one topic in detail. This is even more true of PhD than Master's level work. The odds of you being hired to do that specific topic are small.

    However, this should not stop you from trying to learn as much as possible about your chosen topic. Why is this? I think that http://www.av8n.com/physics/breadth-depth.htm" [Broken] has done a better job than me of explaining why, so I think you should read what he has to say. If you do not, I will summarize.

    Developing technical depth is a great benefit. Depth in any one subject can be helpful in understanding other technical fields. If you do not develop this early, it is harder to do later. However, you also need to spend time in college becoming well-educated. This is important in enabling you to develop technical skills in other areas, as well as becoming successful in life.

    Spend time becoming an expert, but don't be upset when you can't find a job in that area. It will still be useful.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Dec 22, 2009 #3
    I read the article, and like you summarized he does mention that it would be hard; because the student wold not have the previous experience as to how to approach in depth studies. I guess this does connect back to my original post, where it seems that technical skills in how to research background information and in-depth information are more important in the applied industry.

    Although, I agree that any field can be in some way beneficial to other fields. Even if it is just the thinking process a person develops from one course (ie. Organic Chemistry or Physics).
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