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Physics major for applied physics career?

  1. Aug 31, 2013 #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?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2013 #2
    If I wanted to be an applied physicist should I major in physics and have s minor or double major?
  4. Sep 10, 2013 #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
  5. Sep 10, 2013 #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.
  6. Sep 10, 2013 #5


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    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.

    Major in 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.
  7. Sep 10, 2013 #6
    Thank you, that helps alot
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