Physics major for applied physics career?

In summary, the conversation discussed the possibility of getting a job in applied physics with a degree in physics, the importance of a PhD for certain positions, and the advantages of a minor or double major in physics. It was also mentioned that the definition of "applied physics" can vary and it is recommended to start with a general major in physics before specializing.
  • #1
nst.john
163
1
If I was to major in physics in college, could I get a job in applied physics? If yes, would I need my PhD?
 
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  • #2
If I wanted to be an applied physicist should I major in physics and have s minor or double major?
 
  • #3
You could get a job as a physicist with just a bachelors. That is typically something like a lab technician.

Getting a master's opens up opportunity to more positions (still something like a lab tech).

With a PhD you start to work independently, still could end up a lab tech but you also chose the course of direction for some projects.

Minor/Double Major all depends on what you want to do.

I recommend this thread: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=240792
 
  • #4
I don't know if you understand what in trying to say (sorry if that sounds rude). But I mean I love physics but I feel like I can't help people and make applications so I looked at applied physics, but is applied physics a good major? Or is it just not as good as physics, or engineering physics which I'm afraid is more engineering than physics.
 
  • #5
nst.john said:
If I was to major in physics in college, could I get a job in applied physics? If yes, would I need my PhD?

Yes. Having the PhD depends. Most people who study physics (bachelors or PhD) go on to do other things because physics itself is not really a profession. Most people who finish at the BSc level are limited to laboratory technician level work if they remain in physics at all. If you want to try for a job doing research in physics, a PhD is the route to take.

nst.john said:
If I wanted to be an applied physicist should I major in physics and have s minor or double major?

Major in physics.

nst.john said:
I don't know if you understand what in trying to say (sorry if that sounds rude). But I mean I love physics but I feel like I can't help people and make applications so I looked at applied physics, but is applied physics a good major? Or is it just not as good as physics, or engineering physics which I'm afraid is more engineering than physics.

I'm not sure what you mean that you can't help people or make applications with physics. Didn't you start a thread not too long ago that was specifically about how physics could be used to help people? Some of the answers in there should have given you some ideas.

No one can tell you whether "applied" physics is a "good" major, because that's an extremely broad question. Applied physics can mean different things at different schools. And what makes a major "good" by your standards may not be the same things that make it "good" by mine.

If you're not sure what to do, but know you like physics than start with that as your major. The first two years of undergraduate degrees in physics, honours physics, applied physics, engineering physics, geophysics, medical physics, theoretical physics, mathematics and physics, etc. are all pretty interchangeable. Such specialized undergraduate courses tend to vary only in the elective and core courses they require in upper years. And if I were to offer any advice it would be to avoid specializing too much too early. Start general. Move into something more specific later on. Keep doors open.
 
  • #6
Thank you, that helps alot
 

1. What is the difference between a physics major and an applied physics major?

A physics major typically focuses on the fundamental principles and theories of physics, while an applied physics major combines these principles with practical applications in real-world settings.

2. What types of careers can I pursue with a degree in applied physics?

Applied physics majors can pursue careers in a wide range of industries, including engineering, technology, research and development, and defense. Some common job titles include materials scientist, aerospace engineer, and research physicist.

3. Is a physics major for applied physics career more challenging than a traditional physics major?

Both majors require a strong foundation in mathematics and physics, but a physics major for applied physics career may also include coursework in engineering, computer science, and other related fields. This can make the major more challenging, but also more versatile in terms of career opportunities.

4. What skills do I need to be successful in an applied physics career?

In addition to strong analytical and problem-solving skills, individuals pursuing an applied physics career should have a solid understanding of mathematics, computer programming, and data analysis. Good communication and teamwork skills are also important for working in interdisciplinary environments.

5. Can I still pursue a career in research with a degree in applied physics?

Yes, many applied physics majors go on to work in research positions, either in industry or in academic settings. With a strong background in practical applications, these individuals can bring a unique perspective to research projects and contribute to advancements in various fields of physics.

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