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Should physics be my major

  1. Jun 8, 2007 #1
    i am trying to decide if physics should be my major. could any of you tell me, what i can do with a career in physics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2007 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

  4. Jun 8, 2007 #3
    Physics is a huge discipline that encompasses many fields and areas of research. As such, the number of things physicists can end up doing is vast and includes many different careers in wildly different fields. Thus the question of what you can do in a physics career has almost limitless answers.

    You can do university research in everything from thin film magnetism to galactic x-ray emissions to studies in DNA to the physics of super high pressure environments. Outside of the university physicists are employed by the military, in defense contract research, in hospitals, in private condensed matter research, and in many jobs traditionally thought of as being engineering jobs.

    This is NOT to say that you can do any of those things by getting a bachelors degree in physics - nor can you do all of them with a PhD. You'll end up specializing greatly. This means that (and this has been discussed in other threads) just talking about how much money physicists make and how good their employment prospects are is deceiving, since some areas are poor in both those categories and others are much better.

    To actually know whether any of these career options might be right for you, we'd need to know a whole lot more about you.
  5. Jun 8, 2007 #4
    The short answer (from my own experiences): if you get a BS in physics, you can work in industry as an engineer or an analyst. An MS opens up the possibility of being a physics researcher in industry, as well as lower-level teaching jobs in academic. A PhD allows one to be a physics researcher in either academia or industry, as well as professorships.
  6. Jun 9, 2007 #5
    i think i am going to get my Ph.D in physics. i would love to do research and teach at the same time. i think i want to major in the field of cosmology or astrophysics. my heros in physics are of course Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne. it was actually Feynmans lectures on physics that got me into the field. i was in 8th grade, and i had no idea what i was reading lol. but i was fascinated by it so i wanted to learn more. my interests are Cosmic Strings, wormholes/blackholes, time and so much more.
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