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Situation for Applied Physicists in Industry?

  1. Sep 18, 2012 #1
    I've heard a lot about the situation for physicists in industry (typical jobs they take, difficulty finding a job, salaries, best subfields to transition into industry, etc.) but how about APPLIED physicists (people who graduated with Phds in Applied Physics from programs such as Cornell or Stanford where the physics and applied physics are separate departments)?

    I did my undergrad in physics with an emphasis in solid-state/materials physics and am currently applying for grad school. I know I definitely want to do a Phd then continue onto industry afterwards. I'm conflicted between Materials Science & Engineering and Applied Physics programs. Is there much of a difference between the two?

    I heard people in applied physics focus more on doing research to create new technology and solve engineering problems while people in MSE or other types of engineering focus on doing research to improve already existing technologies. Is this distinction true? I'd prefer to do research on the frontier of technology.

    I've also heard MSE Phds have an easier time getting jobs and make more money in industry than Physics Phds because the MSE Phd is classified as an engineering degree. Does this also apply for Applied Physics Phds or are employers more likely to classify applied physicists as engineers?

    Any input is appreciated and thanks for the help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2012 #2
    it doesn't matter in industry really.
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