Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Im a little bit confused.

  1. Mar 7, 2008 #1
    I graduated from high school about a year ago, during which time i had taken some college classes and had managed to get my A+ certification, along with 2 lvls of cisco certification. after that i got a decent job, but decided the field was not for me. so here i am now, trying to presue my child hood dream of becoming a physicist. im about to start attending college but im a little lost, id like to major in condensed matter physics, with maybe a minor in bio-chemistry or something to that nature, but im not sure exactly how to do so. all the colleges i look at offer 4-year degrees in "physics" but theres no specialized devisions(i.e. solid state, quantum mechanics, theoretical) are the course im looking for later in my educational career? like during grad school? sorry if this seems like a really stupid question, but unfortunately i payed little attention during high school to anything college related, i was sure i wanted to do computer networking for a living.

    also if anyone could suggest a minor, or possibly another major that would coincide with my physics major(solid state, condensed matter) and would help my chances of employment, i would be very grateful. thanks.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    An initial undergrad physics course will not have any specific emphasis until perhaps the third or fourth year when you'll take courses that are more relevant to a specific area of your choice. This is because you need a good grounding in the basics of physics before you can specialise.
  4. Mar 7, 2008 #3
    thanks for the reply.

    so i shouldn't just look for a college that offers a masters in physics, but also one with condensed matter courses? also how many classes on condensed matter would i need to take in order to be considered a physicist in that category?
  5. Mar 7, 2008 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Well if thats at all possible and what you're interested in. Most places will have a course on condensed matter but if you plan to take it beyond undergrad then find a university with a good condensed matter department and try there.

    I couldn't possibly answer that.
  6. Mar 7, 2008 #5
    I would like to give an advice, if you accept it.

    I do not recommend pursuing a career in physics (and science and engineering in general). I would suggest going into a better field in terms of career prospects, such as business management, finance & accounting, law, etc. I know you might not like what you're hearing, but bear on with me.

    These days, almost everything related to technology, science, R&D is being moved to China and India. This is becoming the norm, not the exception. And I'm not talking about day-to-day manufacturing and assembly, I am talking about innovative advanced R&D.

    I totally understand your position. I know how excited you are about solid state physics, condensed matter, and quantum mechanics. These topics are indeed intellectually stimulating. However, as a career choice, as a way to bring food on the table, don't waste your time. I hate to be rude, and I know you are ambitious, but sometime in the future, these issues of career and salary would be very significant.

    But by all means, if you like these topics, don't give up on them. Consider it as a hobby. Read some books on these topics every now and then. This has the benefit of studying as a hobby, which is way more interesting than studying as a career necessity.

    I am writing this post because I wish someone would've given me some advice on these issues when considering college majors. This period of your life is very confusing and the options are many.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook