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Physics as a Major

  1. Oct 23, 2013 #1
    Hey guys,

    I am a high school senior and the time has come for me to apply to schools and start making some big life decisions. Since I took my first physics course, I have been in love with the subject. I know that I want to do something with physics in my life but I a having trouble choosing a good major. I am going to apply to Stanford, MIT and Berkeley.

    What would you recommend for a major?

    Also, what jobs would I be able to get with that degree?

    Thank you,

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 23, 2013 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If you are planning on just getting a bachelor's, then going into physics is problematic. Hiring managers have *no* idea what skills a physics major has. Engineering is the way to go, if you don't plan on going to grad school, IMO.

    Search around on the forum, there are many threads on the trials, trevails, and triumphs physics majors have had in the job market.

    The good news is, you don't have to decide on a major right away, because the first ~2 years of STEM curricula are very similar. Join the physics club, the math club, an engineering club, etc. to get a taste of working in the field. Something will click :smile:.

    Oh and I hope you also apply to some 'safety' schools -- each of those schools turns away thousands of exceptionally well-qualified candidates each year!
  4. Oct 23, 2013 #3
    I am definitely planning on going to graduates school..

    Also, I know that I need some 'safety' schools but I am having trouble choosing them. Do you have any recommendations? I am considering UCSB as one..

    Thanks again for the help!!
  5. Oct 23, 2013 #4
    Its easier to go from some type of physics engineering / applied physics program to a regular grad program than it is to convince HR people that your regular physics still means you have useful skills.

    An HR software package will bounce your applications because you have a physics degree but no grad program will bounce your application because if you are an applied physics major or you have an ee major with a physics minor as long as you have a good PGRE .
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