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Need help planning my future

  1. Nov 9, 2008 #1
    i spent most of college preparing for grad school in either theoretical physics or pure math. after taking many upper-divs (and enjoying them)and an REU, I'm pretty sure that I don't want to do pure math, and not experimental physics either. Also, probably not theoretical physics, but i'm more open to that.

    i'm leaning now towards more applicable careers like finance, engineering, or applied math. which one is right for me? i have absolutely no background in finance. i'm not really a hands-on person, dont like experiments, and didnt really like my experimental physics REU, so maybe engineering isnt right for me. on the other hand, i heard some areas like grad level EE can be very theoretical, which sounds like i may like it. the only applied math i've taken are upper-div DEs and PDEs and they were rather boring as well. what the hell should i do now?

    also, i have about the same number of units left to get either physics or applied math degree, so which should i get?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2008 #2
    well actually upperdiv DEs and PDEs were alright, i enjoyed them, just not passionate about them

    i heard that at the phD level, engineers do alot of theory and not hands on work, is this true?

    also, i only took one programming class, c++, and didnt really like it
  4. Nov 13, 2008 #3
    Most engineers I know did experimental work in their Ph.D. programs... even one student whose thesis was originally just supposed to be theoretical. Although there are things like signal processing, etc. that might be more computational.

    Generally, it is easier to get funding in a physics program when your work is experimental, but students can do theory work... it's just a bit more likely that they'll have to TA, to fund their way through.

    I'm not sure how funding goes in an applied math department... but it sounds to me like that might be the route for you... while most of the applied math people I knew/know where/are working on physics problems (biophysics modeling, etc), I'd imagine a fair number are working on financial problems, traffic problems, security processes, etc.

    What I'd really suggest doing is an internet search on graduate programs in different types of departments. Looking at the various research around (and what preparation you'd need to be accepted) might might help you narrow down what to do now.
  5. Nov 14, 2008 #4
    hasnt anyone else experienced the same dillemma as me?
  6. Nov 18, 2008 #5
    I would advise you to choose an engineering career such as; electrical or computer engineering and double major with physics or maths if you can. You can also be an engineer and research theoretical sciences, as engineering also provides you much about theoretical sciences alone, opens your way for mastering various sciences, and of course to applied sciences;)
  7. Nov 18, 2008 #6
    well learning about circuits and computers sounds so boring, which is why i'm very hesistant about EE and computer engineering. mechanical/aerospace sounds mroe interesting but i'm concerned they use alot of fluid mechanics which i didnt enjoy in freshman physics. the physics i enjoyed the most are quantum and stat mech
  8. Nov 18, 2008 #7
    yeah i noticed some applied math faculty are doing work in physics and statistical mechanics and such which sounds interesting.
  9. Nov 20, 2008 #8
    i think i'm gonna do applied math for grad school as it seems to have more options rather than ME or EE in signals, which seems kinda restricted to engineering
  10. Dec 16, 2008 #9
    Hum... difficult figuring out what type of job you'll enjoy when you get out of school.

    But you seem to enjoy math and the advanced courses related to mathematics. the people that i've known to get math degrees honestly become actuaries for insurance companies.. but the brightest/coolest girl math major I knew got her B.A. in Math and now works for a company named Accenture.. which looks like a fricking sweet company. I'll send you a few links for it..

    http://www.accenture.com/home/default.htm [Broken]

    So, if I were in your position, I'd go ahead and go into applied math and check out that company. The girl working there loves it.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
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