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Need advice on what to minor

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  • Thread starter kaos86
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My physics professor told me something alarming today. There were 500 physics ph.d jobs lost in today's economy. I'm worried that physics may not be important anymore and I may have to change my physics topic to Astrophysicist.

I wanted to minor in math, but I've been told its pointless in this forum because of my desire to get a ph.d in physics. So, I want to minor in physical chemistry and maybe get a masters degree in this field as my minor. Any suggestions are welcome.

BTW, I'm in stats and I'm thinking of withdrawing this class if its not needed in the future. Thus, advice on withdrawing this class would be helpful. Thanks.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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So, because you're worried about employment, you're going to drop your highly employable physics degree for a more specialized and less employable astrophysics degree? I'm confused.

I got a minor in math just because I only needed 1 more course beyond courses required for physics. Nothing wrong with minoring in chem, it doesn't matter a huge amount.

A basic knowledge of statistics is pretty useful. I don't see why you would withdraw if you don't have to.
 
  • #3
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Well it seems like you're not from the US, but just incase you are there's only physics and applied physics, you don't major in astrophysics as an undergraduate. Besides that, it doesn't matter what field in physics you want to do because that's a decision you make as a graduate student. Also, just because this economy is bad now doesn't mean it will be by the time you get your Ph.D. That being said, you should always be cautious and assume the worst and prepare for that by picking up marketable skills like programming.

You should do what you love to do, because there are jobs out there for people who work hard and usually it's because people love their jobs that they work hard at it.
 
  • #4
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How the hell is math pointless if you want a PhD in physics? o_O
 
  • #5
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How the hell is math pointless if you want a PhD in physics? o_O
I think you miss understood something:I wanted to minor in math, but I've been told its pointless in this forum because of my desire to get a ph.d in physics.
 
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  • #6
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So, because you're worried about employment, you're going to drop your highly employable physics degree for a more specialized and less employable astrophysics degree? I'm confused.

I got a minor in math just because I only needed 1 more course beyond courses required for physics. Nothing wrong with minoring in chem, it doesn't matter a huge amount.

A basic knowledge of statistics is pretty useful. I don't see why you would withdraw if you don't have to.
Well, I live in America and jobs are disappearing. I want to have some sort of back up plan and right now minoring in chem seems like a good option. I want to major in theoretical physics or physics(its the same thing as I've been told in the forums), but in America I'm struggling to make a good choice in the ph.d physics field.
 
  • #7
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Well it seems like you're not from the US, but just incase you are there's only physics and applied physics, you don't major in astrophysics as an undergraduate. Besides that, it doesn't matter what field in physics you want to do because that's a decision you make as a graduate student. Also, just because this economy is bad now doesn't mean it will be by the time you get your Ph.D. That being said, you should always be cautious and assume the worst and prepare for that by picking up marketable skills like programming.

You should do what you love to do, because there are jobs out there for people who work hard and usually it's because people love their jobs that they work hard at it.
You got a good point. By the time I get my Ph.d, maybe the economy will pick up. Also, programming seems like an interesting subject. However, what makes a useful physicist? Chemistry is like the backbone of physics because of the ability to manipulate the elements and create newer ones. I really like to hear opinions on what minor SHOULD a physicist have in the science field.
 
  • #8
fss
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My physics professor told me something alarming today. There were 500 physics ph.d jobs lost in today's economy.
Did you ask what the source of this figure is?

I'm worried that physics may not be important anymore and I may have to change my physics topic to Astrophysicist.
I bet some astrophysicists were lumped in with the 500... if that number is even true.

I wanted to minor in math, but I've been told its pointless in this forum because of my desire to get a ph.d in physics. So, I want to minor in physical chemistry and maybe get a masters degree in this field as my minor. Any suggestions are welcome.
A math minor is not pointless if you want to get a PhD in physics. Depending on what kind of physics you want to do, a PChem minor may or may not be pointless.
 
  • #9
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Did you ask what the source of this figure is?
No, I'll ask him tomorrow and update it on this topic.



I bet some astrophysicists were lumped in with the 500... if that number is even true.
I bet the astrophysicists were in that number as well. I'll ask him about the source to this.



A math minor is not pointless if you want to get a PhD in physics. Depending on what kind of physics you want to do, a PChem minor may or may not be pointless.
Then I should just stay on my course to have a minor in mathematics. Maybe it will be useful to me but some have a different opinion.
 
  • #10
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Maybe it will be useful to me but some have a different opinion.
I think people are only questioning the usefulness of a "minor", not the classes per se. But I find it hard to imagine the "minor" tag would get you anywhere you wouldn't otherwise be able to.
 
  • #11
Choppy
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I have to agree with Ryker. Taking math courses beyond those required for to complete a physics degree is generally an advantage for further work in physics. The fact that you have a minor in math will not generally lead to any advantage when applying to graduate school for physics, because anyone in a position to assess your application is well aware that such minors are awarded for merely taking one or two courses in addition to those required for your physics degree. In fact, some universities refuse to award a math minor to physics or engineering majors because of the redundancy.

Other minors don't really matter in gradaute applications either so no one can tell you what an aspiring physicist "should" minor in. Take the courses that interest you. You might even want to try taking something completely different - some humanities or social science courses for example, just to round out your education and perhaps even open doors that you didn't know existed.
 
  • #12
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My physics professor told me something alarming today. There were 500 physics ph.d jobs lost in today's economy.
And how would he know this? One thing that I learned is that professors are experts in their topic of expertise, but they can be amazingly ignorant in areas outside of it.
 
  • #13
eri
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There are far fewer jobs for astronomers than there are for physicists. You should not be planning to go into astronomy unless you don't want to do anything else - it is not a good backup plan.

The one minor that could help you quite a bit is computer science. Physicists these days need to be able to use multiple operating systems, programming languages, and pick up new programs easily. And for some reason, most physics majors aren't even required to take a single programming course. Having a programming background will help for graduate school and when applying for internships.
 
  • #14
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Well, I live in America and jobs are disappearing. I want to have some sort of back up plan and right now minoring in chem seems like a good option.
My suggestion is that while you are getting your physics degree, go buy some books on economics and politics and teach yourself economics and politics. Don't major in it. Don't tell anyone that you are doing it. Just go out and inform yourself.

1) I hate it when people just passively accept things. If you don't like the fact that jobs are disappearing then *do* something about it. If you can do nothing else, read up on the issues and *VOTE*. Run for office. If you are totally despair and no one will give you a job, figure out what you need to do to start your own company.

2) Even if you can't do anything, reading up on politics and economics helps you a lot in trying to figure out what to do in a bad economy. One thing that I did in 2008, was to read up on what people did in the Great Depression. You can also find someone from a place where the economy collapsed like Russia or Argentina to see what they did.

I want to major in theoretical physics or physics(its the same thing as I've been told in the forums), but in America I'm struggling to make a good choice in the ph.d physics field.
How the economy is now is irrelevant. What matters to you is what the economy is like in 2015. If the economy is decent then you'll be able to get something useful with your Ph.D.

If the economy gets *really* bad (i.e. Russia-1990 bad or China-1948-bad), then your minor is not going to matter. What you'll end up doing is to get some menial job to survive or to leave the country. I figure that if you had a total economic collapse, what I'll be doing is to sell apples, and lead street protests, and my first priority would be to keep the *really crazy* people from getting power.
 
  • #15
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There are far fewer jobs for astronomers than there are for physicists. You should not be planning to go into astronomy unless you don't want to do anything else - it is not a good backup plan.
I don't think that's true.

I'm also rather dubious of the statistics. I know that we are hiring, and we are having difficulty getting qualified people. Also think about it. *500* jobs. There are probably more than 500 people working at your local Walmart.
 
  • #16
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Physics is the backbone of chemistry, not really the other way around. Just wanted to say that.
 
  • #17
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and math is the backbone of physics
 
  • #18
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and math is the backbone of physics
and philosophy is the backbone of math <3
 
  • #19
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Eh, philosophy and math are really the same at the most fundamental levels, they're just applied differently.
 
  • #20
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And reason is the backbone of philosophy!
 
  • #21
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and intuition is the backbone of reason...
 
  • #22
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and being alive is the backbone of intuition...
 
  • #23
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And the lord and savior Jesus Christ almighty is the backbone of us wonderful creations of God being alive.
 
  • #24
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And Zeus puts the backbone into lightning!
 

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