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MSci or BSc? (Physics)

  1. Aug 23, 2013 #1
    I'm a little stuck in making this decision. I'm 29 years old and about to enter year 4 of my degree. Initially this was supposed to be me final year, since I opted for the BSc to get into employment ASAP.

    One of my professors has contacted me to offer me a place in the MSci should I wish to change my mind - highlighting the benefits of the MSci.

    From what I gather the MSci is the obvious choice if you wish to continue academically and start a PhD. Since the teaching staff at my university have all gone this path, I figured it would be best to come here and get some advice from people with a more employment-based background.

    Is a 31 year old with a MSci going to have considerably better employment prospects than a 30 year old with a BSc? For me the degree has always been a means to an end, I'm doing it for the qualification - so I can get into employment in my preferred field.

    My patience with the academic process is already wearing thin, and I'm ready to get into employment now. Of course I'll go through the motions to get the degree, but I'm wondering if I'd be making a dire mistake by passing up the offer of the MSci.

    Any thoughts on this from first-hand experience in graduate employment would be appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2013 #2
    What are you majoring in? That's an important piece of information. If you're an engineer you can go pretty far with just a bachelors and enter into just about any field. If you're majoring in physics you need at least a masters from what I've seen here and people o know personally
  4. Aug 23, 2013 #3
    From what I have read, you should go for the B.Sc then move on to Ph.D and along the way to earning your Ph.D you can obtain your M.Sc if you wish, as during a doctoral program you should fulfill the requirements for a M.Sc.

    This is just based on what I have read, I am yet to start college, so please correct me if I am wrong.
  5. Aug 23, 2013 #4
    This is for the USA: Depending on the jobs you are looking for, a Masters might help. Particularly if you are looking for teaching jobs at community colleges, lab tech positions at government labs, or lab assistant/lecturer jobs at four year colleges.

    For many other jobs, a Masters doesn't cut it and you need a Ph.D. For many other jobs, a Masters doesn't really get you anything more than a B.S. would. It's hard to say. If you could land some type of internship or co-op as part of your Masters, or instead of your Masters, I think that would improve your chances of employment more than the actual degree.

    So what is your preferred field? Does your department have ties to industry in that field?
  6. Aug 23, 2013 #5
    Thank you all for the input so far. To clear a few things up:

    I'm in the UK, my course is just BSc Physics, no major as such.

    As for my preferred field, I just mean Physics in general (as opposed to having no qualifications). As for the job I'd like, I'm not entirely sure. I know I don't want to go into research or teaching though - that's why I'm dubious about the pay-off another year of study will grant me.
  7. Aug 23, 2013 #6
    If you have no intentions on doing research or teaching, then I would say a M.Sc would do you just fine for the most part, it really depends on the kind of job you want, since you aren't sure yet, but from what I've seen, jobs that require doctorates are research and teaching, maybe a few other things. For jobs outside of that spectrum, I would think a masters would suit you fine.
  8. Aug 23, 2013 #7
    What I'm wondering is if the BSc will be sufficient. The question is whether the MSci is going to be worth the extra year of hoop-jumping.
  9. Aug 23, 2013 #8
    Personally, I think that the M.Sc is a must, to get a higher salary, (this being dependent on if you care about money or not, of course.) as well to get some jobs. Some places I believe require a masters or higher. I think that a B.Sc wouldn't be sufficient, but again, its dependent on what you want to do, how much money you care about, etc.. (liking school is probably a deciding factor to some people)
  10. Aug 23, 2013 #9
    What kind of masters is it? If its just a generic physics masters where you study Jackson, Goldstein, etc. then I don't think it would be worth much to an employer. If it has some specific skill set, job training or internship like a professional scientist masters degree then I think it could be worthwhile.
  11. Aug 23, 2013 #10
    Like I said above, unless you want to end up at a government lab like NIST or LANL as some kind of technician/operator, or a lecturer at a 4 year college (the people who help set up lab sessions), I don't think a Masters in physics will get you much.
  12. Aug 23, 2013 #11
    What kind of jobs are you looking at?

    For the most part a BSc is fine, however for more physics specific things the MSci, or at least a masters level qualification, is becoming increasingly important.
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