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Should I go for physics?

  1. Nov 1, 2011 #1
    In the past few months I've really began to like physics. In the past year, I was sure I was going to become an English teacher/translator or something language related but in the light of the last physics lessons we learned (my class doesn't have physics as a subject anymore) I decided that I would prefer becoming a physics teacher (or a scientist!). However, there are a few problems. At math, I'm pretty knowledgeable on the basic stuff (also no more maths for my class for the next 1 and a half year) and I'm familiar with the basic principles of physics, but before choosing which University I'm going to enroll at and which course, I have 1 and a half year (my knowledge might decrease, but I'm thinking of homeschooling myself not to forget them). I have come down to two options (if I decide for physics): general physics (then becoming a teacher) or experimental and theoretical physics (then getting a Phd, becoming a scientist). Now, I'm worried that this basic stuff will be enough to enable me to enroll at one of those courses, but also that it won't be enough for me to successfully finish one of them. So, my question would be: Should I go for general or e&t physics? Remember that I have basic understandings of both and both seem equally interesting to me (ok... maybe QM a bit more interesting).
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 1, 2011 #2


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    What country are you in? In the US, you'd just major in physics. There's no differentiation at the undergrad level.
  4. Nov 1, 2011 #3
    In the UK, if you're worried about not having the prerequisites, you can apply for a "Foundation Year", where you just go and cover the 2 years of A level Physics and Maths, then you rejoin the main programme for a 3 year BSc.

    In the UK you can do things like "theoretical physics" at undergrad, but there is little effective distinction in terms of employability, just a slightly different courseload. (less labs and more computing/maths).
  5. Nov 2, 2011 #4
    I'm in Serbia and things are a bit different here than in the US. After 3 years of general physics in a physics faculty (college for physics, dunno if that's what you call it) I can become a teacher, but I need 4 years of e&t physics to continue education or try to get a job. My main concern is, will I be able to finish those 3 years successfully? Like I said in my previous post, I have basic understandings of both math and physics and that would be enough for me to enroll it, but will it be enough to help me finish it? Is it very hard?
  6. Nov 2, 2011 #5
    You say "my class doesn't have physics as a subject anymore ... also no more maths for my class for the next 1 and a half year..." That seems pretty strange for anyone thinking of doing a physics degree! Can't you insist on changing to do mostly maths & physics? Even if it means repeating a year, or changing schools?
  7. Nov 2, 2011 #6
    This is a weird question.The whole point of going to a university is that you want increase your level of knowledge. A couple of weeks into your first semester your level of knowledge will be above your level when you enrolled.Getting your degree depends on your ability to raise yourself at the level required by the university not on your initial level of understanding.

    Knowing as much stuff at the beginning helps, but if it would be enough to get you trough your degree than why would you bother.
  8. Nov 2, 2011 #7
    I could do that, but that would mean I would have to pass a few tests and pay some money to get transferred. Also, losing a year here is a big taboo - people start looking at you like you're mentally ill or something like that.

    Thank you, your words are reassuring and they actually make a lot of sense. My mind isn't yet completely set, but I'm probably going to try physics and hopefully I won't fail.
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