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M.S. in physics

  1. Jun 30, 2006 #1
    Hi there,

    I am considering majoring in physics, and I was wondering what advantage there is in getting a masters in physics, as opposed to a B.S. or going all the way for the PhD. What kind of jobs can you get with an M.S? Also, do schools award you with a master's en route to a PhD?

    Thanks,

    Starchild75
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 30, 2006 #2

    Dr Transport

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    Depending on where you live, i.e. what country you live in, you may have a problem getting employment with a PhD. Industry isn't hiring PhDs for the most part. My corporation isn't hiring PhD's who do not have extensive experience and the research for the degree isn't really counted unles you worked on a project for an indistrial or military type program. As for countries other than the US, I have not got a real good handle on their employment situations.

    Get a Master's then go back......
     
  4. Jun 30, 2006 #3
    But if you want to get into academia, a PhD is a must.
     
  5. Jun 30, 2006 #4
    I live in the United States. So the prospects currently would be better for a master's than a phD, outside academia? What would going back for a PhD entail? Can you go back part time? How much longer would a PhD take once you have the masters completed?
     
  6. Jul 2, 2006 #5

    Dr Transport

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    Quite correct, but a small proportion of the people who earn PhD's end up in academia. You're best bet in the US is a Masters then get a PhD later while you are employed. I stand by what I said previously, if you want a reasonable chane at an industrrial position, get a masters. If you are intent on trying to get an academic position, go for it, but you'll live like a pauper, have at least 2 if not 3 post-docs over the course of 5-7 years after getting your degree then if you are lucky to slide into academia in a tenure-track position, it will be 5 years at a minimum before you get tenure.

    Think about this, if you get your degree at age 25, you'll be in your late 30's befrore you have tenure or a chance at tenure and you will have lost 10 years of earning power that most likely you will never make up....
     
  7. Jul 2, 2006 #6
    I was considering this option but the more people tell me this stuff, the scarier it becomes.
     
  8. Jul 2, 2006 #7
    What kind of jobs can I get with a masters in physics?
     
  9. Jul 3, 2006 #8

    Dr Transport

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    I went back for a PhD after a break. When I started out I was essentially part-time, and working part-time to support my family. The university gave me an assistanship after a year or so because their students that came on scholarship all either flunked their qualifying exams or left because of grades. To give you a perspective on the where I am coming from, 3 people finished their PhD out of 25 and of the balance, 10 didn't even get their masters.

    The company I work for (and I won't divulge that info here) will pay for you to go back for education in any area regardless of whether or not it affects your job, i.e. if you want to go back and get a degree in art while working as a scientist/engineer not a problem. Many people go and get a masters and stop.

    As for a timeline, ther isn't one. From my personal experience, a masters takes about 2-3 years full-time. I have seen PhD's in as little as 2 years past a masters and in as many as 7-10 years total. Mine took 7 after I got my second masters because I was busy working to support my wife and kids because the university I went to didn't have a scholarships for anyone past 4 years, if you were not on contract with a funding agency, i.e. the government too bad, you starved. I was lucky that after a couple of jobs tanked, the department chair was looking for TA's and he felt that I was the most qualified to teach not only freshman labs but I was the instructor of record for the graduate math methods course.
     
  10. Jul 3, 2006 #9

    Astronuc

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    I observed much the same experience as metioned by Dr. Transport in Nuclear Engineering, although the rate of attrition was as great as that cited by DT.

    My company prefers to hire MS or PhDs, and the salaries are much higher for MS and still greater for PhDs.

    In a nutshell - MS implies some directed research, while PhD infers indepedent research. Both imply the ability to solve 'new' problems and the capability of contributing to the knowledge or state-of-the-art.

    With a BS, one might be considered capable of running programs, processing data and writing reports. Of course, one will learn a lot on the job.

    And of course, there are exceptional situations like Bill Gates who go off and start up big companies without finishing a baccalaureate.
     
  11. Jul 3, 2006 #10

    Dr Transport

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    Well put....in this day and age, if you cannot solve new problems, you'll be unemployed at worst or under-employed at best.
     
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