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What can I do in the physics field with a physics degree specializing

  1. Jan 10, 2014 #1
    That's what's called, according to the UCSD catalog, a physics degree with an emphasis in earth science. I want to enter the geology field, but my school doesn't offer a true geology (or geophysics) major, so I'm thinking a physics degree is a viable path towards entering that field.

    What kind of job opportunities are out there ? I'm trying to do some research on potential opportunities, so any feedback from you guys would be greatly appreciated. Ideally, I'd like to get into oil and gas. How do employers see a potential candidate with that type of physics degree, knowing that it's effectively a physics degree with some earth science classes.

    As of right now, I have all my lower division math and physics prerequisites completed.

    (side-note: engineering is out of the question for undergrad. )

    Thanks guys.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 11, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Welcome to PF;
    Just because it isn't called "geophysics" don't mean you cannot study it - so the workaround is probably OK.
    I shared an office with a guy doing just that and he spent his time, post-grad, studying rainfall.
    One of my thesis options as a postgrad was modelling Martian weather.

    Environmental science on the whole has been something of a growth industry but there is a lot of competition - you have to be pro-active about getting a position. Don't expect anything before grad school.

    The other direction for your interest is engineering.
    What was it about geology that appealed to you?
  4. Jan 11, 2014 #3
    I am also a physics major (Geo minor) interested in geophysics. Though I hope to stay in academia. From what I've heard, grad schools often prefer physics majors over geology/geophysics majors due to the heavier quantitative background. The geology part is easier to pick up.

    I don't think the same holds true for employers, at least at the BS level. I think you probably need at least a masters in geophysics. I met someone last summer with a BS physics, MS geophysics working for noble energy doing surveying. On the other hand, my advisor did his PhD in physics studying seismology and also ended up working for an oil company for several years. I guess there are different avenues that get you to the same place.

    If you're interested in oil and gas, seismology is the way to go. I did an REU last summer called IRIS that would be worth checking out.
  5. Jan 11, 2014 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    It will depend on the grad school - I'm in the wrong country to comment.
    In NZ grad schools tend to have more geophysics paces than straight physics - there's a skew here towards environmental sciences.
  6. Jan 11, 2014 #5
    I think you may have misunderstood what I was meaning. I was referring to geophysics grad programs actually. I've heard they often prefer physics majors vs geology.
  7. Jan 11, 2014 #6
    Thanks guys. I'm leaning towards majoring in physics. But just recently, I took an introductory geology course, and enjoyed it thoroughly. I asked because my school doesn't offer my major, so I was a little concerned here.

    Another quick question: do grad schools care if it's a regular physics degree, or a physics degree with an emphasis on a certain subject.
  8. Jan 12, 2014 #7

    Simon Bridge

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    Oh right - yeah that's pretty much the same down here too.

    Depends on the grad school.
    Usually they will take whoever is interested in the field and can convince a supervisor they should be allowed to do it.
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