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Physics Evening Masters at the University of Washington

  1. Feb 16, 2014 #1
    Is it worth doing this type of Masters course? I come from a chemistry background (quit a PhD years ago) and want to do a PhD in physics after a gap of several years working in unrelated fields. I don't feel I have sufficient background in physics to step immediately into a PhD program, and I need to get some academic references as any I might be able to get are too out of date and not physics related.

    Here's the course page:
    https://sharepoint.washington.edu/phys/grad/EMSP/Pages/default.aspx

    I've seen comments that the courses offered are not very rigorous and rather easy compared to PhD track 500-level courses. Is this true? If so, is it a disadvantage? I may be able to do some daytime 400 or 500 level courses as I intend to not be working full time for at least some of the course's duration.

    Is there a better way for me to get into physics from a different science background, after a long gap?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2014 #2

    lisab

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    I'm familiar with this very program. I took a few of their classes "for fun" and they were definitely less rigorous than the uppper-division classes (I got my BS in physics from UW). But people who had degrees in other subjects (e.g., engineering, math, etc.) really struggled.

    Many of students in the program work at Boeing, so it's a good way to make contacts if you ever want to work there.

    It's considered a "terminal Master's" program, meaning it is not intended to prepare you for a PhD program. But possibly it could be what you're looking for - a "bridge" to get to the next step. Have you spoken with any of the profs?
     
  4. Feb 17, 2014 #3
    Thanks for the information. Yes, I spoke to some of the professors, and I've sat in on several of the current quarter's electromagnetism classes. It looks interesting and fun and seems like it is the kind of "bridge" I need.

    Since you're familiar with the UW physics department, do you have any suggestions of good daytime 400 or 500 level courses I should do? I plan to make use of the option of taking some non-evening courses as credit for this masters.
     
  5. Feb 17, 2014 #4

    lisab

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    If you haven't yet had upper-division QM or E&M, I think you should take them if your goal is to be considered for a PhD program. They're "only" 300-level classes, and "only" 3 credits each, but this is a case where the course numbers and credits are entirely deceptive.

    Most 400- and 500-level classes build on these two courses anyway.
     
  6. Feb 17, 2014 #5

    jtbell

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    The "core four" courses that Ph.D. programs generally expect incoming students to have taken as a bare minimum are upper-level classical mechanics, E&M, QM, and thermodynamics / statistical mechanics.

    At some schools, thermo and stat mech are in a single combined course, at others they're separate courses.
     
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