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Medicine to Physics

  1. Yes

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. No

    5 vote(s)
    100.0%
  1. Aug 29, 2012 #1
    Hello all,

    I am due to begin studying medicine this year but have lost my enthusiasm for it. I have gained lots of medical experience over the last few years in almost all medical scenarios. It still interests me but the idea of a long medical degree, with never ending competition is very daunting to me. I have always loved mathematics and physics and am thinking of switching to physics. Are there any other factors i should consider before making the switch?

    Also, opinions on whether or not I should switch would be appreciated.

    Thank you
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2012 #2

    ZapperZ

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    Do you think pursuing a degree and career in mathematics and physics do not have the same things?

    Zz.
     
  4. Aug 29, 2012 #3
    Of course they have competition, but I don't think they have as much competition as medicine
     
  5. Aug 29, 2012 #4

    ZapperZ

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    And how do you know this?

    Zz.
     
  6. Aug 29, 2012 #5

    Ryan_m_b

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    Any scientific field is incredibly competitive. In academia you have to constantly work for your reputation, funding and often your contract in competition with other people. Medicine is competative but the difference isn't as great as you think.
     
  7. Aug 29, 2012 #6
    I am in the UK.. and i don't have any figures but there are considerably more med school rejects than physics rejects. Im not sure about later on, after you graduate. But with medicine there are exams at each level of progression - junior, specialising, and so on. So it is an almost endless series of "fixed" exams where you don't have the freedom to explore areas you like. Even though physics is competitive, I will enjoy it
     
  8. Aug 29, 2012 #7

    Ryan_m_b

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    I'm from the UK also. I agree that competition to get onto a medical course is more fierce than a physics course but the competition and pressure are equal (in different ways) in both careers. As a physicist you'll have to go through your BSc, perhaps an MSc, PhD, Post doc etc etc each with rapidly increasing difficulty and requirements and then after that you can look forward to a career of constantly fighting for funding, publishing your work before someone else can, building a reputation and generally surviving in academia (or industry if that's your route).

    Can I ask what conceptions you have of a career in science? From this thread they seem to be misplaced.

    Also if you haven't applied to university yet I guess you're starting A2 in a couple of weeks? If that's the case there is still plenty of time to write to hospitals and physics departments asking for work experience or even just a tour. Look into open and experience days as well, when I was in 6th form I wasn't sure if I wanted to do biology or law so attended loads of talks on both about what it was like to study them and what the careers were like.
     
  9. Aug 29, 2012 #8
    Please tell me if i'm wrong. For a physicist, I'd imagine a typical job would be in research/development for a company, likely to be engineering related. To get there, you'd complete your course, gain experience and do a PhD?

    I have applied and have a place at medical school. I've finished A2 and have about a month before my university starts and I have to choose between medicine and physics

    Thank you for your reply
     
  10. Aug 29, 2012 #9

    Ryan_m_b

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    I'm not sure there is such a thing as a typical job for a physicist, the field is so huge. I'm also not sure about how it works in industry compared to academia but there is still going to be huge competition.
    OK, in that case my advice would be to think carefully about what you want from a career. If you don't like competition or constantly having to be tested or learn then any science career is going to be hard. If you don't want to do medicine then you should be passionate about it otherwise by your 3rd year when you have two more years ahead of you you're going to have a tough time.
     
  11. Aug 29, 2012 #10
    I enjoy constantly learning, but don't like memorising large amounts of information as medical students do. Thanks for the advice.

    Would you say the job prospects for a physics graduate are good?
     
  12. Aug 29, 2012 #11
    Physics is worst than Medicine because after finishing medical degree you work as M.D. while after Physics degree you work as programmer or in finance (or as medical physicist :P).

    In Medicine you can specialize in very different areas - you can be either surgeon or psychiatrist and you will still find a job while in Physics you need to specialize only in few, very narrow areas in order to get engineering-related job. If you really want to land engineering-related job you should get engineering degree.
     
  13. Aug 29, 2012 #12

    Ryan_m_b

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    I can't really say. If you do medicine you'll graduate in 2017, physics 2015 (unless you do a sandwich course or take a master's in which case 2016). Considering the state of the UK economy and job market anything could happen in that time. Either one in good economic times has good prospects with the exception that due to how diverse physics is (in spite of what the previous poster has said) if you want to work in specific fields you might find your geography restricted. On the other hand hospitals and GP surgeries are everywhere with few cases of very specialised facilities e.g. Great Ormond Street or Stoke Mandeville.
     
  14. Aug 29, 2012 #13
    That all makes sense. But what is the diversity of a physics career - Is it really possible to be researching nuclear fusion, or am I very likely to end up in finance or programming, as the previous post suggests?
     
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