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Is a B.S. in Physics really worth it.( I have search and read other threads on here)

  1. Dec 26, 2011 #1
    Is a B.S. in Physics really worth it.(I have searched and read other threads on here)

    Well its almost time to declare my major at my school. I am a sophomore at Penn State. I am currently on the path for Aerospace engineering and or Mechanical engineering but I feel like engineering isn't for me. I can't explain it, I guess I am more of a why person rather than how. I love physics. Anyway, I have heard that a B.S. in Physics is worthless. I have been searching this site for advice on this.. On if the degree is worth the debt I will be in when I get out of college (I have private loans and government loans) or if I should go with the engineering route. From what I have read a physics degree can get other jobs but most of what I read on this forum regards engineering and because I want to be able to pay back these loans I have after school, the engineering route seems like a better option. So my questions are:

    If I got a physics degree with some engineering or other minors would that be the same or better as the single engineering degree?

    What if I decide not to got to grad school for physics?
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2011
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  3. Dec 26, 2011 #2

    fss

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    Re: Is a B.S. in Physics really worth it.( I have search and read other threads on he

    If you want to be an engineer, do an engineering degree. Your question is virtually no different than any of the other dozen threads posted in the past few weeks about the benefits of a physics degree vs those of an engineering degree.
     
  4. Dec 28, 2011 #3
    Re: Is a B.S. in Physics really worth it.( I have search and read other threads on he

    A Physics degree is worthless if at the end of the day you feel like it's worthless. If you believe you have a good education and have the skills to succeed in a job you're applying for then it comes down to how you sell yourself to the employer. Just because the job description says something other than 'physicist' doesn't mean a physics grad would be useless. Most employers find physicists to be excellent employees because we tend to be more versatile and flexible to adaptation(source: various seminars I have attended at my university where people like 3M and other company reps have come to talk)
     
  5. Dec 28, 2011 #4
    Re: Is a B.S. in Physics really worth it.( I have search and read other threads on he

    it all depends on what you want to do, getting a mba or other professional degree will help your employ-ability if that is what you are looking for at the end of the day. a physics degree would be a great basis for this since you greatly develop your problem solving skills, and get a great understanding about how things work.
     
  6. Dec 28, 2011 #5
    Re: Is a B.S. in Physics really worth it.( I have search and read other threads on he

    I don't think its worth it.

    I did chemical engineering; you have way more job options at the end of your 4(...?) years.

    UPenn has an excellent program from what I recall. I would investigate that. But, at the end of the day, if physics is what tickles you, go for it.
     
  7. Dec 28, 2011 #6

    Choppy

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    Re: Is a B.S. in Physics really worth it.( I have search and read other threads on he

    Whenever I read someone stating that a physics degree is worthless, I tend to think of overly melodramatic teenagers who view the world with arbitrary black or white criteria established by their peers without any other basis beyond their own self-supporting anecdotal experience.

    Actual data, when you bother to look it up, shows that physics majors do very well on average in relation to their peers in terms of employment, starting salary, and career progression. Because physics graduates come from an academic program and not a professional one, they tend to have broader distributions in salary, for example, than their professional (engineering) conterparts.

    When comparing median starting salaries, physics graduates tend to finish in the middle of the back when compared with all disciplines of engineering.

    But because they are not consistently number 1, and because finding a job often involves more than surfing through the "physics" section on MONSTER, because the wide distribution means that your brother's friend's ex-girlfriend's roommate's dance instructor knows a guy who went through a physics program and now works at a minimum wage job... physics programs are labelled "worthless."

    /RANT
     
  8. Dec 28, 2011 #7
  9. Dec 29, 2011 #8
    Re: Is a B.S. in Physics really worth it.( I have search and read other threads on he

    If you know physics and know some skills that someone in industry can use to train you, and you have a pretty good GPA, you'll get employed somewhere decent. Learn how to program, learn some statistics, do some projects involving simulations and modeling. Read about things that are useful in areas of employment that you really want to go into.

    To have your shot at "explaining the universe using physics" for a living, you should get a PhD and try to become a researcher. Most try and fail.

    I would be less brief, but that's all the questions asked so far seem to warrant.
     
  10. Dec 29, 2011 #9
    Re: Is a B.S. in Physics really worth it.( I have search and read other threads on he

    I am graduating from PSU next semester with a physics degree. I plan to go to grad school, but I can tell you that my friends looking for work are having no trouble. A physics degree puts you in a position to work in almost any field. I know people who have gotten job offers from financial institutions, engineering positions, research positions at national labs, software development, etc... Basically you have a ton of options.

    If you want to be an engineer however, I can tell you that the course load is less intense for engineering majors (at psu that is) than a physics majors (although I've heard aerospace is very heavy as well, and none of the engineering majors are easy).

    As a side note, if you just want to make money, go into chemical engineering (it's possible to make 6 figures out of school). Although, I know of someone with a physics degree from West Chester that makes 6 figures now, about 6-7 years out of school. He is an incredibly driven person, I don't mean that his case is the norm, but I'm just trying to say it's possible to make good money with the degree.
     
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