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How much time does it REALLY take?

  1. Apr 7, 2009 #1
    I am very seriously considering going to the administration building tomorrow at Purdue and switching my major to Physics. I tried today but the entire place's computers crashed when I walked up to the counter.... Omen? hahaha

    Anyway, there is still one thing bothering me about it. I feel for some reason like Physics as a career will take a LOT of time compared to some other career. I'm not sure why I get this opinion, or if it's true, but it is the one thing still causing me issues. I have SO many interests that I'm not sure I could focus ALL of my time (meaning also the time that wouldn't normally be spent on the job) on my job.

    I have been considering teaching as a professor, but I really don't know what I would like to do. How much time is involved with a Physics career? Could you maybe separate your answer into something like being a professor, working for the government or industry, and then working as some sort of theoretical/experimental physicist?

    Thanks for any help :)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2009 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Don't all careers take decades - from the time you start working until the time you retire?
     
  4. Apr 7, 2009 #3

    Choppy

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    Very roughly...
    B.Sc. ~ 4 years
    M.Sc. ~ 2 years
    Ph.D. ~ 4 years
    Post-doctoral work ~ 4 years
     
  5. Apr 7, 2009 #4
    I'm pretty sure, Choppy, including the time dedicated to your final, *original* research thesis, your total grad school time is at least 5 years, maybe 6. If you (Mzachman) check out the American Institute of Physics web site (aip.org) mouse over the Physics Resources tab and click on Statistical Research. It'll give you some good statistics, plus its based on people who actually go through grad school so you can trust the info you get.
     
  6. Apr 7, 2009 #5
    Haha, sorry, I should have specified guys.... I meant basically "time spent working during the week" once you're done with school. Compared to a standard 40 hours, how much would someone who is a professor, in industry, working for the government or otherwise work in physics?

    That's good info about the schooling though, and I was wondering about that too, so thanks :).
     
  7. Apr 8, 2009 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    Some work 40 hour weeks, some work 60 hour weeks, and sometimes there are 80 hour weeks if you have an experiment going on. There's no single number.
     
  8. Apr 8, 2009 #7

    MATLABdude

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  9. Apr 8, 2009 #8
    Irrelevant to the thread, but I should say that the length of a PhD varies vastly depending on where you go. In the UK, it's possible to do a PhD in two years (though thats an extreme minimum, i'm not aware of anyone actually doing it) and the normal length is 3 years however some may be funded for as long as 4. In other places, using France as an example, PhD programmes are limited to 3 years - so in most cases you need to be finished by that time.
     
  10. Apr 9, 2009 #9
    I would recommend asking one of your physics professors about how they spend their time.

    I think physicists may work long hours, but it's usually because they're excited by the work (and sometimes it seems like they are racing each other to figure something out first).
     
  11. Apr 12, 2009 #10
    yeah, even though I am still studying I know quite a numeber of post docs and doctoral students at my faculty. they all work al lot, but it is not really work for them, that's their life.
     
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