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Programs PhD woes

  1. Aug 2, 2005 #1
    Hi guys.

    I'm coming to the end of my BSc degree in Physics as I start my final year, so its time to think about the future. After working at RAL for a year a major scientific lab in the UK (though admittedly not doing science) I'm thinking of taking my degree further.

    However how can I be sure a PhD is right for me. I had planned to travel for a year after I finished however if I am to spend three years further study how is this possible?

    So basically what i'm asking is, Is a PhD truly vital to persuing a career in science or can I get by with an MSc. Is it just for research or if I want persue instrumentation or applied physics will I still need a PhD? With so many research areas out there how I can pick one to dedicate my life to? My current interests are space and medical physics instrumentation but how can I tell if this is right for me?

    Sorry to unload like that, but I've decided its time to think ahead and its all a bit overwhelming :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 4, 2005 #2
    No one to help? Okay I'll go back to panicing?

  4. Aug 4, 2005 #3


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    A PhD is not necessary for an interesting or well-paying career in science or technology, but in general, it will open up more paths than just an MSc, particularly in research.

    Pick a research area that is of personal interest.

    Only you can determine what is right (meaningful) to yourself. No one esle can read your mind.
  5. Aug 4, 2005 #4

    matt grime

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    and it would also depend on the country.
  6. Aug 4, 2005 #5

    Doc Al

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    Three years! You plan on going from B.S. to Ph.D. in only three years? :bugeye:
  7. Aug 4, 2005 #6
    Uh in the UK most PhD's are expected to take between 3-4 years to complete.

    Thanks for the reply astronuc. I just wonder because from what else I have seen in the Uk there does not seem to be many paths for physicists without PhDs (but loads for chemists and biologists which is just unfair *frumps*)

    The4 great trouble with picking a reseach area is my interests never seem to stay in one place. And even in most areas there are far more choices. Its all confusing
  8. Aug 4, 2005 #7


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    It's always amusing to see how things are miscommunicated especially when there's cross-educational system.

    In the UK (and maybe even most of Europe and Asia), you systematically go for your Ph.D first, and M.Sc, and Ph.D. So the "3-4 years" to complete a Ph.D is counted from the end of M.Sc. This is, of course, unlike the schools in the US where you apply for a Ph.D program right out of your undergraduate B.Sc degree. So the time period being counted starts from the end of the B.Sc degree.

    Of course, this is just a general description of the system. There are a gazillion variation to this, such as an "undergraduate masters" degree, a "diploma" degree, etc... The words may be the same, but the meaning can differ greatly here.

  9. Aug 4, 2005 #8

    matt grime

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    there is some surprise cos in the US thy're supposed to take 5-7 years, but they require qaul exams and other hoops to be jumped through. IT would be no surprise in mathematics, say, for a starting PhD student to onkw hardly any group theory, or what a diferential manifold is.

    if you want to work in industry (in the UK) a phd is not required, though it may be advantageous in some areas and even a prerequisite. there are even some that require a post doc experience
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