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Physics Physics BS Degree Worth My Time?

  1. Aug 24, 2010 #1
    Hi, I am about to start school and I am majoring in Physics. I enjoy learning about it a lot and I want to continue to pursue it in college, but from what I hear is that there are not a lot of jobs out there with physics degrees. I've been talking to a few people who are engineers or have been majoring in engineering and a lot of them have said that all I can do with a physics degree is become a teacher. I considered becoming a professor and found out that the probability of becoming one is very low. I want to know if anyone has some kind of idea of what chances I have of getting a decent paying job(60k and plus) with a physics degree? Also what kind of jobs are out there for a BS degree in Physics or MS degree in Physics I enjoy physics, but I don't plan to live like an artist who has no money. What I really want to do is do my own research and get funding for my own experiments. The only way I am aware of doing that is via becoming a professor. Does anyone know any other way that I would (or group of people) would be able to get funding for research/experiments?
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  3. Aug 26, 2010 #2
    Well, a 4yr BSc in physics may not line you up for a specific high paying job right off the bat but it is certainly not something employers are going to be scoffing at, and it gives a very solid background in higher math and problem solving skills. These are things you can take a lot of different places. It sounds to me like you would best take a degree like that and use it to get into something like engineering (or depending on where you go to school you might just go straight into an integrated engineering focused program).

    Engineering usually pays rather well. Or if the just get the physics BSc and decide you are sick of equations then you can use that degree to go into something like law or medicine.

    But I MAY BE WRONG about some things. I too am still completing my physics BSc so I'm not actually talking from first hand experience, just what I have heard.

    But in my opinion a physics degree is never a waste of time. But then again I don't care much about money. If you are in it to make the big bucks then science/theory probably isn't for you.
  4. Aug 26, 2010 #3
    There are tons of jobs out there. A lot depends on how far you want to take things.


    Lots of jobs in mathematical modelling. I know quite a few people that went into business consulting. Also the good thing about an undergraduate physics degree is that you can move into law, medicine, or most types of engineering for graduate school.

    It's a bit more complicated than that. A lot of what I do is "I'm interested in X, how do I convince Y, that they can make money if I study X." Professors also have to craft their research programs to fit what the funders are looking for.
  5. Aug 26, 2010 #4


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    What do they know about being physicists? It's quite odd they say that considering physicists are well placed to take jobs away from engineers. The thing about being a physics major is that you develop a lot of skills and i think, more importantly, the ability to acquire new skills! If you're a good physicists (and by that I mean someone who doesn't cloister themselves or for some reason has no interest in learning new things), you get a better understanding of the myriad of skills there are out there in the world. More importantly, you realize you know how to acquire those skills if need be. I think once you get out of STEM majors, you run into programs where you don't actually acquire many useful skills and I would doubt you'd know how to acquire new skills.

    It seems to me that one thing that is pervasive in society today is the idea that if someone sees something difficult to do or something they need to learn, unless they are absolutely forced to learn it or do it, they will never even try to learn it or do it.
  6. Aug 27, 2010 #5
    I think two-fish mentioned this in one of his quants posts. An MBA student who doesn't know how to do something will sit around while the PhD student will pick up a book, ask questions, etc.
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