1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is a double major worth it? (Physics, chemistry)

  1. Jul 31, 2015 #1
    Yes, another one of these threads. GET OVER IT! Just kidding LOL.

    A few disclaimers: I do have a practical reason for considering a double major. A career path I have been strongly considering in the past two years is to become a forensic scientist (crime lab technician). Also, this isn't just a "CSI phase", because I've read several books and web-articles on the actual aspects of the career. Plus, I don't watch those shows anyway. Jeopardy! is my favorite.

    It might be a bit naïve to think a double major gives you better employment prospects, but I honestly don't see why not in this case, considering both fields can be applied on the job (ballistics, toxicology, accident reconstruction, etc.)

    Do you think all of the extra work would be worth it? I asked the physics department at the school I'm attending and they recommended the "materials science" track. I checked it out, and it seems like that's more of an engineering route.

    If it's stupid and unrealistic, don't be afraid to say so. I can handle it. I'd be willing to settle with a different science or math related career.

    Thanks everyone for your input.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2015 #2
    Lab technicians only do one thing. They do molecular biology. They do chemical analysis. They do ballistics. They don't do all three. Your job is to carry out these analysis perfectly, because a lot of it depends on it. Therefore, you can't do one thing one day, then another the other. At your lab you are to be the expect in one or several related analysis methods. If people rotate, no one knows anything.

    Engineering is completely unrelated. You then will be building stuff, solving engineering problems, rather than doing lab analysis.

    If you already exactly know what you want to do, combining two science degrees are never worth it. But then again, people here sometimes seem to have a different definition of a 'double major' or 'double degree'. To me it means you get two degrees, but you get some shortcuts in having to do only one thesis or internship and shared courses of course cut down the ECTS from 360/6 years to something more manageable. Others seem to mean to just get the same amount of credits, but just divide it among two subjects.

    They probably direct you to material science at the physics department because physics has so little to do with forensics.
    Like most science subjects, material science can also be taught the engineering way or the science way.
  4. Jul 31, 2015 #3


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    If you have the time and the strength to learn more, then learning more is better than learning less. Even so, as Almeisan suggests, be careful about taking short-cuts. You may need more time for double-major
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook