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Programs PhD in HEP vs PhD Cosmology&GR

  • Thread starter CharlieCW
  • Start date
Hello there. I just finished my Bsc. in Engineering Physics+M.eng and I'm about to enter my Msc in Physics (no direct PhD in my country), so I'm choosing which electives to take on my first semester (as my professors suggested me to skip most of the basics).

While I entered with the idea to study theoretical particle physics, after speaking with several members and conducting some research on statistics and job prospects, I'm a bit afraid it would be very difficult to land an academic position given how saturared the market is. Therefore, I was thinking to switch towards phenomenology or experimental particle physics, given my strong background in computing and engineering.

However, I was also looking at some topics in GR and Cosmology and found them still very interesting, particularly the approaches to alternative theories of gravity*. I don't know if this could be a better idea regarding PhD/postdoc opportunities than HEP phenomenology or both options are roughly the same (in which case I would prefer HEP).

I have looked at job prospects for HEP pheno and Cosmo&GR and they seem to be roughly the same for the moment, but this could change in 5-6 years after I finish my PhD. Could you give me some advice here?

*PS: Funny fact, I went to college wanting to study GR but since it wasn't available in my faculty I slowly gravitated towards HEP (in my country there's no support to study away from your hometown).
Hello there. I'm starting my Msc in Physics and I was thinking about which electives to take to start focusing on my research career (as I would like to keep working in the same area for my PhD).

I was very interested in working in HEP phenomenology or experiments, as I'm very passionate about the recent problems such as BSM, CP violation, and baryogenesis.

However, I also became a bit curious about the field of GR&Cosmology, since there's also a strong group in Gravity&Field Theory at my university.

Which one do you think has the better prospects in finding a postdoc and potentially a job in the academia or something related to science? From my research on the web, the opportunities for both careers (as long as they aren't pure theory) are roughly similar, but I'm aware this could change in 5-6 years after finishing my PhD.

I'm also aware that, despite all my efforts, I may or may not land a job in the academia, so I'm planning in any case to develop strong computing skills during my research.
I merged your two threads as they are basically the same topic.

Job prospects in academia are not good in any field. Just think of how many PhD students a senior staff member will have in their life - while opening only one position when they retire. Most PhD students go elsewhere afterwards. That is fine - just be prepared to do so. Experience with programming, electronics, data analysis, ... can be useful in "the industry" as well, and general problem solving skills are very valuable (but hard to show in a CV). What you do depends more on the specific position than on the field of science.
The unemployment rate for physicists is very low but you might have to look into more different types of jobs than e.g. a chemist would.

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