Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Programs MS degree: How "bad" is my situation?

  1. Aug 12, 2018 #1
    HI, it is not the first time I ask for advice, but I was very messy in my old posts because I wasn't even sure what I wanted. Now - I think - I finally got a glimpse of what I would like to do, but I would like your opinion whether or not it could be a good "plan".

    So here is the deal (I'll try to be very quick).

    When I enrolled to my university I was a bit of an idiot (I didn't like anything, I didn't want to study, very low GPA and I went for a BS in chemE just "for the sake of it" - I almost flipped a coin to choose my degree -, plus I was always doing the minimum amount of work to pass exams). During my second year I started to be interested in physics and math and I began to study harder and harder. Now I am really "addicted" to physics - just because I like it it doesn't mean I'm good at it though :frown: - and now I really want to do a M.S in physics. But I can't obviously: I have a sucky GPA and BS in engineering... If I really want to pursue a career in Physics I think the only reasonable option is to start all over again.
    Well, my family is not ok with starting all over again so I can't do that either.

    So I came up with this idea: since I became interested in particles physics (I'd like to study it rigorously and not just read some divulgative books about it) I thought "What if I go for a M.S in Nuclear engineering and then I try a PhD in Nuclear Physics?". Does it sound reasonable ? Or stupid ?

    https://www4.ceda.polimi.it/manifes...OffertaInvisibile=false&semestre=ALL_SEMESTRI (these are some courses offered by my university)

    Thanks
    Ric
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2018 #2

    Orodruin

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    I think you need to think about and pursue a path that lets you have reasonable exit options along the way. Physics in general is a very competitive field and in no way does a master degree guarantee you will find a PhD, a PhD does definitely not guarantee that you will find a postdoc, and several postdocs do not guarantee you will find a tenure track position. This is true even for people who take the "straight path" and for someone in your position it is even more important to consider the exit options at every stage.
     
  4. Aug 12, 2018 #3
    Thank you for your answer.

    You are absolutely right, and that is the reason why I considered Nuclear engineering. It seems to offer a lot even if you don't end up in nuclear plant (maybe I'm wrong).

    What actually scares me more than not finding a job is that I could be studying for an other 2 or more years something I don't really care about and eventually ending up doing it for the rest of my life. The natural choice would be to stick with chemE, but I noticed I am not that into it: for example I really like fluid mechanics and thermodynamics, but I don't like the engineering approach.

    I feel like I got lost at the very beginning and now I'm struggling very hard to get on the right track, but maybe I just have to give up and accept my situation... :frown:
     
  5. Aug 12, 2018 #4

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    So why do you think you will like nuclear engineering any better?
     
  6. Aug 12, 2018 #5
    I talked to one professor of nuclear engineering in charge of evaluating the students' study plans proposals and he said "nuclear engineering is for those who likes physics and it offers a lot of courses of the physics department, but still prepares you as an engineer". So, in the end: yes, there will be things I don't like, but I don't see an other options. Should I sit and wait ? Or force myself to like chemE ?

    I've been thinking about this a lot, and I could not come up with a better idea...

    Anyway, the conclusion you suggest is to keep studying chemE?
     
  7. Aug 12, 2018 #6

    verty

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Usually your first year marks don't count towards the result. So if you are able to study really hard and get your marks up (with help from this site I suppose), it could still work out. I mean, I think it can be rescued.

    If you are saying that you don't want to do it anymore, that just sounds like you don't really know what you want to do.
     
  8. Aug 12, 2018 #7
    Do what? I do not understand.

    I have just one exam left... I can't do much about it. If I calculated it right I went from 2 (the beginning of my second year) to 3 (maybe a little less - here we a different grading system). But I don't understand how it could help

    Thank you all for the responses :smile:
     
  9. Aug 12, 2018 #8

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    What about going into EE and specializing in Accelerator Science?

    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/accelerator-physics-a-field-where-jobs-go-begging.410271/

    There ARE other options than just NE if you want to do more physics but keep being an engineer.

    Zz.
     
  10. Aug 12, 2018 #9

    verty

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Oh sorry, I thought you were in your second year.

    You could be a chemist with a nice white coat. Or you could work in a factory doing tests. My dad did that and he dropped out of his university studies. He did a lesser qualification instead. And he worked in the industry his whole career. I think it's a very stable career choice, chemistry. I think your choice of degree wasn't too bad.
     
  11. Aug 12, 2018 #10
    We do not have a specialization in Accelerator Science in my university.

    But after your suggestion I searched and I did find a course named "Accelerator Physics" and it belongs to the Nuclear engineering degree program.

    I think I'm pretty much out of luck... I don't see a way out...

    I think I'll go for NE hoping it turns out something I could enjoy.
     
  12. Aug 12, 2018 #11

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    A lot of schools do not have that. It is why there are particle accelerator schools being offered at various times of the year.

    All you need is a faculty member who is familiar with the program and willing to be your advisor. However, the program must be approved by your dept.

    Zz.
     
  13. Aug 12, 2018 #12
    Let's say I get my BS degree next month. I then apply to grad school and ask for this particular program?
     
  14. Aug 12, 2018 #13

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    No, you must first check and see if any of the faculty members is already familiar with the accelerator science program and has supervised students in that area.

    Zz.
     
  15. Aug 12, 2018 #14
    Thank you @ZapperZ , your post gave me a bit of hope to find something new and interesting :smile:
     
  16. Aug 13, 2018 #15

    Klystron

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Ric, Noticed several of the courses -- differential geometry, particle physics, et cetera -- required for advanced physics are taught in what I presume is your native language. This may help you focus on the core material, though your written English is excellent.

    I am not advising a military career, in fact took a vow after serving my country never to use my education for harm or to design weapon systems. With that caveat the Italian navy, presuming you are a citizen, may offer cadet officer training (called ROTC in the United States) and experience in nuclear propulsion systems and other applied fields such as electronics.

    All my adult relatives served -- my mother performed data entry for the air force, my favourite auntie was a navy commander -- so my youthful orientation is different from many scientists. Perhaps a few weeks at sea working with advanced machinery beyond university budgets could inform your career choices while you complete your education. If military discipline is not to your liking, a civil internship may offer comparable experience.

    --Norm
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted