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Programs Thinking on getting my a PhD in physics.

  1. Aug 2, 2011 #1
    Hi, I am currently doing a major in mechanical engineering. Im starting my 3rd year now. After i finish my major I'm thinking of getting my masters in aerospace engineering. I think that is going to take me like 5 or 6 years till i finish both things. Afters my masters, I what to do a major, a masters and a PhD in physics.

    How long will it take me to finish a phD in physics having the engineering background?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 2, 2011 #2


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    Why do you want to get all of those degrees? No one job would require them all, or even use them all, so it's a waste of your time and the school's money. Try picking a field and sticking with it instead.
  4. Aug 2, 2011 #3
    The physics ones are for self satisfaction. With engineering you don't get to learn all about quantum mechanics and stuff like that. Which is it easier to find a job? As a physicist or an engineer?
  5. Aug 2, 2011 #4


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    An engineer but your idea sounds a bit crazy. If you get a phd in physics, you've pretty much thrown your engineering education away. You'll have been doing physics for a decade and probably forgotten everything about engineering in the meantime. No one does a physics PHD for self satisfaction.
  6. Aug 2, 2011 #5
    Pengwuino: Thanks for your opinion. Just looking for different opinions to make my choice.
  7. Aug 2, 2011 #6
    If it's just for self-satisfaction, why not do a physics minor? At my school, a minor is 10 physics courses, which allows you to get a good amount of physics in. If you're really into physics you could start right now and try to double major, and at least take advantage of the overlap between physics and engineering. I see no reason for you to do a masters or PhD in physics if it's just for self-satisfaction. A minor/major in physics will give you plenty of physics, and you'll save a heck of a lot of time and money by doing it that way. Do you really want to be in school for 15-20 years?
  8. Aug 2, 2011 #7
    I have not EVER seen this work. Most schools will absolutely refuse to grant you a second bachelor's degree if you have one already and even those few that do, they will certainly not admit someone with a PhD in a related field. I don't know if you're fantasizing about being the science-equivalent of a Doctor-Ninja-Lawyer-Firefighter, but I can tell you that there is absolutely no way you're going to be an Engineer/Physicist with degrees from Harvard and MIT. I'm sorry to be tough about it, but there is a reason more people don't do double degrees and it's not because they're lazy or uninterested; it's because it's hard as hell and not really useful in the end.

    Engineering is a far cry from physics at the graduate school level. You need quantum mechanics, electrodynamics, and analytical mechanics in addition to lab courses, math, and research to get into a decent grad school. You have none of these at the end of your aerospace degree that will transfer seamlessly, except perhaps some math.
  9. Aug 2, 2011 #8


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    However, if you have NOT completed your first BS, you CAN dual major; this is quite common. Once the first degree is granted though, you really are done with though as MissSilvy says.

    Also, to add to what everyone is saying, getting a PhD in Physics is nothing anyone does basically 'for fun'. You're talking about 80 hour a week work for 6+ years.
  10. Aug 2, 2011 #9


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  11. Aug 2, 2011 #10
    Absolutely nothing to do with this threads subject, but I laughed from one of the comments and I can't hold myself from mentioning that I know a guy who is actually a Doctor-Ninja-Lawyer (not a firefighter though...).

    He deals with medical negligence lawsuits and practised Ninjutsu for many years... :P
    He also volunteers in the civil guards so he is a "law enforcer" or " Bringer of Jusice" in a way...

    Last edited: Aug 2, 2011
  12. Aug 2, 2011 #11
    Actually, you can be the science-equivalent of Doctor-Ninja-Lawyer-Firefighter, but it's overkill to get multiple degrees for that.

    And if you are interested in those topics, it's easier and cheaper to just buy books from Amazon. Something about physics graduate school is that after the first two years, you are going to be exclusively focused on one problem (i.e. your dissertation), so if you just are interested in learning QM, just take a course, and you are done.
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