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Major Decision (ha)

  1. Jul 13, 2010 #1
    Hey guys,

    I've been a fly on the wall in these forums for a while, and I'd like some advice from everyone.

    I just received my acceptance letter for the University of Rochester, my major is Physics. I completed Calc I through III and Physics I and II at a local community college, and enjoyed all the classes.

    I also have strong interests in EE, and Comp Sci. I also have room to double major, but I am having a difficult time deciding what exactly.

    I was hoping that if I provide a description of my "ideal job", you all could make some suggestions and point me in the right direction.

    I would love to work in the middle of the mountains at some sort of remote sensing lab, research lab, etc. Doing mainly data analysis, troubleshooting, researching, or setting up new equipment, making reports, that sort of thing. If its electrical/computer, I could spend 24/7 working with it. Small group of people, working together, with no accountants or customers needing help ringing my phone. A good daily mix of programming, studying/analyzing, building/repairing, you get the idea.

    I realize this may be highly fictional, I am only trying to explain my interests.

    If i had it my way, I could spend the next 15 years of my life studying everything that interests me, but that cant happen. I do intent on attending graduate school, but am unsure of the combination of degree programs mentioned. I feel I have a too diverse area of interests to just study physics in undergrad/grad school.

    Thanks for your help
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 21, 2010 #2
    Oops, I should have posted this in the Academic Guidance section. Can someone move it?

    Anyone with input yet?
  4. Jul 24, 2010 #3
    I think in a lot of ways it is a coin toss. Engineering can open a lot of doors but from what you wrote, CS sounds like it would be a great fit for you.

    My only advice would be to throw in some extra math, at least up to ODEs and Linear Algebra. That background helps if you start looking at graduate school.
  5. Jul 29, 2010 #4
    Thanks for your input.

    I pretty much have it narrowed down to either phd physics or ms EE after I complete my BS physics.

    I want a kick *** job after I graduate, and I'd like to start a family soon after as well. I am afraid that if I go phd I will be further away from that (true?/false?) and have less luck finding a decent paying job with potential. However, at some point, I would like to retire and teach, be it at a community college or university. That is a large reason I keep my eye on the phd.

    ---> I am especially interested in radio astronomy.

    If I dual major in physics and EE, and then go phd in physics, will I still be able to find jobs that would interest me (see 1st post) or would I be over-qualified? or perhaps phd in EE?

    I have been reading the forums more and more each day and you must forgive me, I have noticed these questions are all over the place. Thanks for checking my thread out, and thanks in advance for your input.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  6. Jul 30, 2010 #5
    Well this depends on many factors. Ultimately it will open up many opportunities. Yes it will take extra time and it wont be easier, but it could be well worth it.
  7. Jul 30, 2010 #6
    yep, i agree. if you want it, just go for it!
  8. Aug 5, 2010 #7
    After doing some more reading, I feel I am approaching my decision. I'm becoming especially interested in communication systems and radio astronomy (as mentioned above) and I definitely want to study EE, be it undergrad or grad. I am now becoming afraid that if I choose physics for undergrad and ee for grad, I will loose out on some beneficial learning for ee. Is this true?

    Do companies look for people specifically with both undergrad ee and grad ee?

    Does having a physics undergrad and ee grad make me better at an ee employed position?
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  9. Aug 8, 2010 #8
    If you're really interested in becoming a serious researcher, then you really should go for a PhD in a relevant field. But there's no reason you can't work for a year or two before starting your PhD. After working for a bit and interacting with people who work in astronomy, you'll probably have a much better idea of exactly what you want to research for your PhD.
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