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Programs How much money would I be needing to finish a PhD in Physics?

  1. Aug 14, 2011 #1
    Let's say I don't use any financial aid or any scholarship. How much would I be paying from 1st year college until my PhD in Physics. Just give an average or if you have a PhD in Physics how much did you spend getting it.

    Another Question. I'm going in a community college right now because it's really cheap there. Is that a bad thing for a Physicist specifically an Astrophysicist? Should have I gone into a better college or university? It's only for two years. I will be transferring into a university after that.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 14, 2011 #2


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    Undergrad can cost up to 60k a year depending on the school you attend. Grad school pays you to get your degree - do not attend a grad school if you don't get an assistantship that waives tuition and pays you to teach or do research for them. Most people don't have to take out too much more in loans in grad school; maybe less than 5k a year or nothing at all. It depends on how much the school pays you, how much it costs to live near the school, and how much you need to pay in fees (usually not covered in the tuition waiver).

    Community colleges don't offer much in the way of advanced courses or research opportunities, so you might be a little behind other students applying for grad school - many spend all summers of undergrad doing research, and you'll only have one summer to do that in all probability. But it really depends on the schools you're applying to.
  4. Aug 14, 2011 #3


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    As eri says, most of your loans will come from your undergrad education. A PhD in physics is almost always funded by teaching/research assistantships, which will cover your tuition and pay you a (very modest) stipend in return for teaching or research duties.
  5. Aug 14, 2011 #4
    Ok thx, so I don't have to worry about money to finish Physics.

    BTW I'm going to take my Bachelor's degree on UIC(University of Illinois at Chicago) and possibly my Master's and PhD. Know anything about this univ?
  6. Aug 18, 2011 #5
    It's all undergraduate. Graduate school is covered by stipends, as you work as an indentured servant to pay for your education. Also a lot of the undergraduate loans have no payments/no interest while you are in graduate school.

    The finances of physics Ph.D. really makes it a great deal. Once you get a Ph.D., you are going to have limited debt. This makes it a great degree for hard economic times. If you get a physics Ph.D., and there are literally no jobs available, you can do something that just pays the bills and wait for things to get better. This puts you in a *LOT* better position than someone that has gone to med or law school and is $300K in debt.

    As long as you do really well in your upper division classes, no one will care much where/how you did your lower division.
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