Master in physics to math phd?

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  • Thread starter quasar_4
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  • #1
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I know of several people in my department who did physics/math dual majors as undergrads, then math masters' degrees, then physics PhD.

But I don't know of anyone doing a physics master's and a math PhD. Has it ever been known to occur?

Have any of you done this?
 

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  • #2
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Hey quasar,

What is your math background like? If you took courses like Linear Algebra (with proofs), Abstract Algebra, Analysis, Topology and maybe some courses in PDE's (I think as a physics major you will probably have some familiarity with PDE's) or differential geometry, you could definitely apply.

Also maybe because you are coming from a different field, they might want to see a nice math GRE score, that is the subject exam.

But I think if you have a good math background, decent GRE Math scores, you will be a good candidate. I don't know how much the physics masters helps, but it certainly does not hurt.
 
  • #3
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Thanks for the quick reply!

I actually am math/physics undergrad. I planned over the whole time to do physics grad school, did physics research (in theory, though, so lots of math) and prepared for the physics GRE. But, in the last few months, now that I've already got plans for where to apply and am a week from taking the physics GRE, I'm beginning to question if I really want to do physics. Thing is, I really love physics best when I'm doing something with geometry, or linear algebra, or thinking about null sequences, or whatever - it's the math in quantum and my other classes that really gets my heart going - so I'm suddenly wishing I'd prepared for a math GRE instead... because the theory market is SMALL, and I'm not sure I really want to keep doing physics if it isn't mathy.

But I keep flip-flopping and thinking I'd miss physics if I just did pure math, so I was thinking maybe I'll just stick with the original plan - do physics grad program - and see if I am still into it after a year of coursework. If not, then I could take the physics master's and go into math (and I'd be more than willing to start at the bottom with the math master-level courses, even if it takes longer). I'm reasonably sure that with a bit of review/study, I could do quite well on the math GRE. I would like to make sure I don't doom myself if I discover halfway to a PhD that I really should have done math instead of physics... :P Or the other way around, since I change my mind about every week regarding which field to go into...
 

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