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Programs Masters to PhD in Physics

I just graduated with a bachelor's in physics and I am having trouble getting accepted to a PhD program. I transferred to the university from a community college where my GPA was something like a 2.1 (I went back and took some classes and it is not a 2.5) and I spent my first year in chemistry at the 4 year university, where my GPA was a 2.2. I realized that chemistry wasn't for me because I really like doing math. So I moved from the chemistry department to the physics department. My GPA went way up. I finished with a 3.7 in the physics program. Overall, my 4 year university says I have a 3.2 cumulative GPA, but with the community college GPA, I think that brings it down to below 3.0 and it hurts my prospects for getting into a PhD program.

However, I was accepted into a masters program. Ultimately I would like to get a PhD, so I'm wondering if I should just take the opportunity to do the master's program and transfer to a PhD and risk loosing a bunch of credits, or should I just go to industry and work for a while. Use the money I make to pay for courses at the community college and do some grade replaces to bring up my GPA.
 
I would ask, what do you want to do for a career? Why do you want a physics PhD? Not to be condescending, but you didn't mention any research interests, and that's literally all a PhD is...

Regarding the masters, it's hard to say. Do you have to pay for it out of pocket? Is it in a research area that you want to pursue? What have people who have completed the program gone on to do? Is it so simple to transfer to a PhD?

My advice recently has been think about what you want to do, not what degrees you want to get. With that as a starting point, then think about how to make yourself qualified for what you want to do.
 
A Master's program gives you a good, firm foundation for pursuing your Ph.D. I got into a Master's program after getting my Bachelor's and got into five out of six Doctoral programs in Astrophysics that I had applied to!
 

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