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Programs What bachelors degree should I get to get my masters in Physics?

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What should I get my bachelor's degree in if I want to major in physics? I plan to get my masters degree in physics, and probably a phd in physics after that. Should I major in math or physics? Or something else?

(On a side note, how much money do physicists employed by the government make? And how hard is it to get a job working for the government?)
 

ZapperZ

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What should I get my bachelor's degree in if I want to major in physics? I plan to get my masters degree in physics, and probably a phd in physics after that. Should I major in math or physics? Or something else?
<scratching head>

Maybe I'm missing something here. But why is it not obvious that you should get a Bachelor's degree in physics?

Zz.
 
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In what country do you live?

I ask because in the US, you don't need a master's in physics.
 

fss

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What should I get my bachelor's degree in if I want to major in physics?
Physics.

(On a side note, how much money do physicists employed by the government make? And how hard is it to get a job working for the government?)
It depends.

I ask because in the US, you don't need a master's in physics.
You might not "need" a master's in physics to do a particular job, but having a masters' gets you through one more round of "weed out" requirements in any given job qualifications statement. For some positions if you don't have the required education, your resume goes directly to the circular file.
 
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I made kind of a mistake in my original post. I didn't mean to say 'what should I major in if i want to get a masters degree in physics.' as in, can i major in mathematics? I ask because the university I plan on going to for my bachelors degree doesn't have the best physics department.
 

ZapperZ

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I made kind of a mistake in my original post. I didn't mean to say 'what should I major in if i want to get a masters degree in physics.' as in, can i major in mathematics? I ask because the university I plan on going to for my bachelors degree doesn't have the best physics department.
This is even more puzzling. You will only major in that subject only if you are at the best department? This implies that you'll only major in physics if you are at the school with the best physics department?

And does this also mean that your school has the "best" mathematics department, since you'd rather major in mathematics?

This is a very strange thread.

Zz.
 
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This is even more puzzling. You will only major in that subject only if you are at the best department? This implies that you'll only major in physics if you are at the school with the best physics department?

And does this also mean that your school has the "best" mathematics department, since you'd rather major in mathematics?

This is a very strange thread.

Zz.
It's confusing, I know, so just forget that first question. I'm just refining my question down to the last two, I think I got a good enough answer for my first one.
 

fss

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I made kind of a mistake in my original post. I didn't mean to say 'what should I major in if i want to get a masters degree in physics.' as in, can i major in mathematics?
Depends on whether or not the graduate institution will accept a math degree in lieu of the usually-required physics degree.

I ask because the university I plan on going to for my bachelors degree doesn't have the best physics department.
So what? Undergraduate physics programs are generally very similar. It's just as much what you make of it in the "aboves and beyonds" no matter where you go.
 
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Depends on whether or not the graduate institution will accept a math degree in lieu of the usually-required physics degree.



So what? Undergraduate physics programs are generally very similar. It's just as much what you make of it in the "aboves and beyonds" no matter where you go.
okay, thanks. That's what I was looking for.
 
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You might not "need" a master's in physics to do a particular job, but having a masters' gets you through one more round of "weed out" requirements in any given job qualifications statement. For some positions if you don't have the required education, your resume goes directly to the circular file.
He was talking about going into a Ph.D. program, and therefore so was I.
 
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He was talking about going into a Ph.D. program, and therefore so was I.
wait, so you don't have to have a master's degree to get into a Ph.D. program?
 
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as it turns out, I just found out that you can only major in Mathematical Physics, and minor in physics. Is this okay to get into a masters program, or should I consider a different university?
 
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I think that's probably fine as long as you get most of the normal courses. Can you post the list of required courses for the mathematical physics major?
 
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I think that's probably fine as long as you get most of the normal courses. Can you post the list of required courses for the mathematical physics major?
Here's for the mathematical physics major:

MATH 181 Calculus I 4

MATH 282 Calculus II 4

MATH 283 Calculus III 4

MATH 321 Differential Equations 3

MATH 361 Introduction to Linear Algebra 3

MATH381 Complex Variables 3

MAT Numerical Analysis 3

MATH 431 Modern Algebra or

MATH 471 Advanced Calculus 3

MATH455 Probability Theory 3

PHYS 121 General Physics I 4

PHYS 122 General Physics II 4

PHYS 221 General Physics with Calculus I 1

PHYS 222 General Physics with Calculus II 1

PHYS 311 Modern Physics 3

PHYS 322 Classical Mechanics 3

PHYS 351 Electromagnetic Fields 3

PHYS 411 Quantum Mechanics 3

Total: (30 upper division) 52

Required cognates: MATH 201, MATH 485; or CHEM 201; CHEM 111, 112; and CSIS 110; or equivalent.
 
585
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What are required cognates?
 
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Yea but what does it mean and what is MTH 485? You will basically be missing a semester in all 4 cornerstone undergrad subjects.
 
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here, leme just link you to the website. http://www.swau.edu/academics/mathematics-and-physical-sciences [Broken]
 
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Vanadium 50

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Your school doesn't have a physics major. It has a "physical sciences" major, geared towards secondary ed majors, and the "mathematical physics" degree, which in my opinion would leave you unprepared for graduate school. No stat/mech thermo. No advanced lab. The classical mechanics and E&M classes don't seem to go very far. There is only one faculty member who seems to be a PhD physicist.
 
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This is even more puzzling. You will only major in that subject only if you are at the best department? This implies that you'll only major in physics if you are at the school with the best physics department?

And does this also mean that your school has the "best" mathematics department, since you'd rather major in mathematics?

This is a very strange thread.

Zz.
Where I live an Engineering physics degree will prepare you better for everything including grad school than your average physics degree. It is simply a tougher program where you learn more physics, maths, programming, engineering stuff and you got more freedom to study extra advanced subjects.

The point is that all degrees are not created equal, especially in Europe where there are larger differences between the degrees than just which courses you take. The Eng Phys degree is simply better but of course it assumes that you can stomach the much higher tempo.
 

ZapperZ

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Where I live an Engineering physics degree will prepare you better for everything including grad school than your average physics degree. It is simply a tougher program where you learn more physics, maths, programming, engineering stuff and you got more freedom to study extra advanced subjects.

The point is that all degrees are not created equal, especially in Europe where there are larger differences between the degrees than just which courses you take. The Eng Phys degree is simply better but of course it assumes that you can stomach the much higher tempo.
Your post here has nothing to do with my post that you quoted.

I also don't quite buy that your engineering degree will prepare you better for a physics graduate program than a physics degree. If you took THAT many physics courses, especially advanced physics courses, in your typical engineering program, then when do you have the time to take actual engineering subjects, especially advanced ones? If what you claim is true, then the engineering program from where you are are producing poor engineers!

Zz.
 
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Your post here has nothing to do with my post that you quoted.

I also don't quite buy that your engineering degree will prepare you better for a physics graduate program than a physics degree. If you took THAT many physics courses, especially advanced physics courses, in your typical engineering program, then when do you have the time to take actual engineering subjects, especially advanced ones? If what you claim is true, then the engineering program from where you are are producing poor engineers!

Zz.
Since it is an Engineering physics program there isn't that many engineering specific courses, it is tailored to prepare you for phd studies by focusing on theory, 1/3 of the students continue on to do a phd in physics/maths or some engineering discipline.

As for the depth of the courses in the first 3 years we go up to Gasiorowicz in quantum, Griffits in EM, Bowley/Sanchez in stat mech and Kittel in solid states and a local book for classical mechanics, we also take maths courses in complex analysis, PDE's, real analysis and a math metods of physics for more pde's, variational calc and greens functions etc, throw in a course in nummerical methods, some circuit theory/strength of materials/automated control/probability and statistics/programming/computer science to lay a foundation for engineering theory.

By that time you got your bachelor and you can do your master in just about any of the subjects touched by the bachelor, such as in most of the more physics heavy engineering masters, any physics master or any maths master. Btw, it is standard that engineering degrees are masters here.

Edit: The reason I posted this is because sometimes a physics degree is not the best if you want to get a phd in physics. At least where I live you would want to do the eng phys degree since it pushes you a ton harder by forcing you to both take more physics courses and take more other courses at the same time while the standard physics program do it slowly kinda like the standard us curriculum.

Edit edit: And I can assure you that people who graduate from this degree have no problems at all getting engineering jobs if they want them. Most high tech companies needs a few engineers who can crunch the numbers and who knows the theory better than your average engineer.
 
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