The Major Conundrum: Why Physics Majors have a Major Problem When I read threads like this and this a small sense of urgency wells up in the pit of my stomach. You see, I didn't even like physics before I took it in high school. *SNORE*, how could a science about things dropping to the ground and electricity from the wall outlets. Then I took it, and fell in love. Ever since I couldn't dream of doing anything but physics. And maybe I'm your average physics undergrad, yes, just like you out there on Physics Forums and in the world. Who else would major in physics if they weren't in love with it? The mathematical articulacy, the worldly how-stuff-works insight, the problem-solving skills... The crappy job market. I'm going from what I've seen on Physics Forums. And maybe I'm repeatedly scared out of my wits for nothing, but I don't want to be doing secretarial work for the rest of my life. You see, most of the people that love physics love physics for it's mental challenge and beautiful unity of theory and experiment. I liken it to that since mathematics are the "language", physics is the "poetry" so elegantly wielded out of it (engineers, I don't mean this in a belittling way, but engineers are like the people that write those little paper instruction manuals that come with your household appliances). I really would love to doing physics for the rest of my life. Will I? No. Those who have a B.S. in physics on Physics Forums seem to mostly be doing work outside of physics (i.e. working as engineers). Is an M.S. or a Ph.D. any more hire-able? Maybe. Maybe not. Sure, maybe I'm asking for my hopes and dreams to be crushed, thinking I can major in physics, arrogantly and insolently shaking my fist at the hands of both fate and reality. But I was hoping that with all the time, effort and $$$ being put into my education in physics, that maybe I had a chance of doing something that pertained to what I love (I don't consider engineering as pertinent, personally). I know I don't have any talent in physics, I just love what I do, but this is rarely enough. Personally, and widely amongst physics undergrads, these questions come up again and again: B.A. or B.S. in physics? Pure or Applied Physics? Grad school? M.S.? Ph.D.? Interdisciplinary studies with physics? Stick with physics or go into other disciplines? I ask you, Physics Forums, physicists and those interested in physics, does it matter? Or rather, does anything but the last question matter. Where will the lone soldiers of physics go when school is out? Back to the drawing board? Personally speaking, that's a nightmare to me (to have to go for an upper degree in another discipline), it's one of the last things I want to do (but will do if necessary). I originally had my quixotic hope of being a professor after getting my Ph.D. in biophysics but this has been smeared away. So I'd like to reformulate this list of questions a little: What kind of careers are regionally dependent? (Personally I live in California and am staying) How can you make contacts in the "world of physics"? (Hey! I thought I was majoring in physics, not business...) The unusual interdiscipline: What kind of opportunities are there for biophysics, physics and journalism, physics and law, etc.? (How many are looking to hire, and how are the salaries for the more unusual jobs?) How does one supplement an already intense curriculum with even more classes outside of the discipline? (We don't have a biophysics undergrad major where I go so I've been supplementing my classes with Biology and Chemistry and it's a huge stress on my GPA in addition to Honors Physics, again the same question is asked for the interdisciplinary studies above) And yet again, to stay or go (in physics) if I have to give it up (which personally, I won't on physics, but for those of you that are considering it)? (P.S. I was inspired by this headline on the msn.com front page today, Top 10 Jobs in Science. The physicist job market growing, really? Or are those engineers doing physics jobs now ?) Thank you for any and all replies, especially those who can relate and those who are in the job market right now or employ budding young scientists.