• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

Physics undergraduate choosing Masters

  • Physics
  • Thread starter Isotropicaf
  • Start date
  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hello everyone this is my first post,

im looking for some prespective in career paths. I love physics but im not that prodigy student, im not ready for a masters in physics right now so im considering a masters in data science my question is, can i make a career of physics data science? Is that even a thing?

What kinda stuff you guys do? How does it pay? How is your day like professionally. Im really trying to decide my future here i want the big picture. Thank you so much for reading .

All the best !
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
972
222
You can always take a year or two off, and study material in preparation for a masters program in physics?
 
  • #3
Cant, my family needs me to start working as soon as i can
 
  • #4
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
5,758
985
Cant, my family needs me to start working as soon as i can
If that part of your case is extremely important, then Physics as a degree objective is not the best fit for you. Maybe consider Engineering degree or vocational training instead; but if you have enough time, include some Physics courses beyond what the chosen major field requires. On the other hand, an undergraduate degree in Physics combined with other applied courses (Engineering, Computer Science/skills/programming) could be beneficial.
 
  • #5
972
222
Cant, my family needs me to start working as soon as i can
You can work, while taking time off. Many people do it.....
 
  • #6
If that part of your case is extremely important, then Physics as a degree objective is not the best fit for you. Maybe consider Engineering degree or vocational training instead; but if you have enough time, include some Physics courses beyond what the chosen major field requires. On the other hand, an undergraduate degree in Physics combined with other applied courses (Engineering, Computer Science/skills/programming) could be beneficial.
Thank you for your answer. Its actually a lil late to change majors since i am 5 courses away from my phd. I would like a computer science/ programming mixed with physics kinda job, i just have no knowledge of what i could do in those areas that has to do with physics( professionally wise). I really likes numeric methods and computer physics as subjects... Maybe something with that?
 
  • #7
You can work, while taking time off. Many people do it.....
Yeah, i did'nt explain myself well. What i meant is that with a phd in physics, in Portugal ( my wereabouts), i doubt there are that many jobs in the area , the few jobs that are available are so for masters and whatnot. So if i dont follow thru my academic path now, ill probably have to work minimum wage at a regular job, not exacly why i sign up for this! Plus my idea is that an experimental physicists will be more underpaid than a phd in physics and masters in something useful guy.
 
  • #8
CrysPhys
Education Advisor
645
336
im looking for some prespective in career paths. I love physics but im not that prodigy student, im not ready for a masters in physics right now so im considering a masters in data science my question is, can i make a career of physics data science? Is that even a thing?
Its actually a lil late to change majors since i am 5 courses away from my phd. I would like a computer science/ programming mixed with physics kinda job, i just have no knowledge of what i could do in those areas that has to do with physics( professionally wise). I really likes numeric methods and computer physics as subjects... Maybe something with that?
Yeah, i did'nt explain myself well. What i meant is that with a phd in physics, in Portugal ( my wereabouts), i doubt there are that many jobs in the area , the few jobs that are available are so for masters and whatnot. So if i dont follow thru my academic path now, ill probably have to work minimum wage at a regular job, not exacly why i sign up for this! Plus my idea is that an experimental physicists will be more underpaid than a phd in physics and masters in something useful guy.
OP: You really need to clarify what stage your educational program is in. I’m totally befuddled. In your Post #1, you said that you are not yet ready for a masters in physics, but are considering a masters in data science. But then in your Post #6, you said you are just 5 courses away from a PhD (presumably in physics, based on your Post #7). And in your Post #7, you said you are in Portugal, with the goal of a PhD in experimental physics plus a masters in something more useful.

Unlike in the US, in many European countries, you need to first obtain a masters in physics before applying for a PhD program in physics. What is your situation in Portugal? And even if you are just 5 courses away from a PhD, what about your research thesis? That typically takes up a major chunk of a PhD program, especially in experimental physics. So again, what degrees have you completed, and what educational program are you currently enrolled in?
 
Last edited:
  • #9
OP: You really need to clarify what stage your educational program is in. I’m totally befuddled. In your Post #1, you said that you are not yet ready for a masters in physics, but are considering a masters in data science. But then in your Post #6, you said you are just 5 courses away from a PhD (presumably in physics, based on your Post #7). And in your Post #7, you said you are in Portugal, with the goal of a PhD in experimental physics plus a masters in something more useful.

Unlike in the US, in many European countries, you need to first obtain a masters in physics before applying for a PhD program in physics. What is your situation in Portugal? And even if you are just 5 courses away from a PhD, what about your research thesis? That typically takes up a major chunk of a PhD program, especially in experimental physics. So again, what degrees have you completed, and what educational program are you currently enrolled in?
Im sorry my kind sir im mistaken with the academic terms in english. Im in my last year of major in physics and im looking for advice for a possible masters in data science , i used phd thinking i was talking about a major.
 
  • #10
1,803
167
In the US it is not uncommon for folks in data science to have varying backgrounds. We have folks with physics and math backgrounds show up in our department now and then and generally perform very well. However, they typically leveraged programming in their work prior to making the switch.

Never forget, all analytics is software development; the people who think it isn't are just doing really awful software development.
 
  • #11
In the US it is not uncommon for folks in data science to have varying backgrounds. We have folks with physics and math backgrounds show up in our department now and then and generally perform very well. However, they typically leveraged programming in their work prior to making the switch.

Never forget, all analytics is software development; the people who think it isn't are just doing really awful software development.
Thank you for your answer! Im still trying to figure out what a Data scientist does.. specifically one with a physics background. Does it carry many job opportunities?
 
  • #12
CrysPhys
Education Advisor
645
336
Never forget, all analytics is software development; the people who think it isn't are just doing really awful software development.
Could you clarify this, please? (I'm not in the field of analytics.) Does this mean that in analytics there is no work at a more abstract level, such as development of new approaches, techniques, and algorithms that are then subsequently fed into software development?
 
  • #13
185
16
It's totally possible to do an MSc in data science, scientific computing or similar and combine with you BSc physics. The issue is where you go from there. If you want to pursue a physics PhD you may be more qualified for projects that involve machine learning for example, which are becoming increasingly common, but I don't think data science would make much difference in terms of general numeric modelling and simulation etc.

In terms of jobs you will have a lot to choose from, but they will be mostly in data science or software engineering. Most opportunities will not really be related to physics, more like data analytics: think amazon :p

In terms of research, honestly most job descriptions these days are asking for PhD holders, whatever the field imo.
 
  • #14
It's totally possible to do an MSc in data science, scientific computing or similar and combine with you BSc physics. The issue is where you go from there. If you want to pursue a physics PhD you may be more qualified for projects that involve machine learning for example, which are becoming increasingly common, but I don't think data science would make much difference in terms of general numeric modelling and simulation etc.

In terms of jobs you will have a lot to choose from, but they will be mostly in data science or software engineering. Most opportunities will not really be related to physics, more like data analytics: think amazon :p

In terms of research, honestly most job descriptions these days are asking for PhD holders, whatever the field imo.
First of thanks so much for your answer, but just to clarify what youre telling me is that i wont have many opportunities of physic related data science projects? I was thinking of projects like corporations want some product simulations done or, a consultant project for a big constrution those type of stuff, you think that is out of reach for a physics major with masters in data science?
 
  • #15
185
16
First of thanks so much for your answer, but just to clarify what youre telling me is that i wont have many opportunities of physic related data science projects? I was thinking of projects like corporations want some product simulations done or, a consultant project for a big constrution those type of stuff, you think that is out of reach for a physics major with masters in data science?
Hi, of course it depends what we mean by physics. I guess many engineering-type software jobs will be available. You can have a look on https://www.indeed.co.uk/jobs?q=physics+data+science&l= there are loads of finance, and data analytics jobs available. Many machine learning and data analysis adverts are open to graduates from a variety of natural sciences. SO I guess you're not alone in considering this move. Also there are a few MSc Data Science degrees in the UK which include a 12 month industry placement. Here are some examples, but I can't vouch for any particular course or anything https://www.mastersportal.com/search/#q=ci-30|kw-data science|lv-master|dg-msc|de-fulltime|dur-[720,720]

Good luck!
 
  • #16
ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
35,374
4,154
This has got to be one of the MOST CONFUSING thread that I have ever come across.

Zz.
 
  • #17
185
16
This has got to be one of the MOST CONFUSING thread that I have ever come across.

Zz.
How so? I think most physics students end up realising they need to find a real job eventually ;)
 
  • #18
1,803
167
Could you clarify this, please? (I'm not in the field of analytics.) Does this mean that in analytics there is no work at a more abstract level, such as development of new approaches, techniques, and algorithms that are then subsequently fed into software development?
I think there's probably a thin slice of work at universities that doesn't fit what I said well. But I never hear that work described as "analytics". Its comp sci or operations research or such.

When I think of analytics, I think of it as an applied discipline - you're analyzing something. And everything but the simplest analysis requires code, even if it's just SQL.
 
  • #19
1,803
167
Thank you for your answer! Im still trying to figure out what a Data scientist does.. specifically one with a physics background. Does it carry many job opportunities?
It depends on your skill set.

Someone who knows lots of physics but lacks knowledge of modern software engineering, computer science, statistics or machine learning is going to have a very hard time getting work in modern analytics areas, except maybe at the most rudimentary level (and that work sucks).

However folks with some physics background that have one or more of those skills can do well, in my limited experience. Physics is not an efficient path to be a data scientist, but it's not a barrier either.
 
  • #20
185
16
Could you clarify this, please? (I'm not in the field of analytics.) Does this mean that in analytics there is no work at a more abstract level, such as development of new approaches, techniques, and algorithms that are then subsequently fed into software development?
If you want to do research in machine learning (which is basically a huge part of data analytics), then you will need to do a PhD. This goes for all fields these days.
https://ml.inf.ethz.ch/
https://inf.ethz.ch/doctorate.html
 

Related Threads for: Physics undergraduate choosing Masters

  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
40
Views
5K
Replies
9
Views
882
Replies
1
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
1K
Replies
1
Views
709
Top