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What is the difference between

  1. Aug 25, 2010 #1
    what is the difference between a M.S. in physics and Ph.D in physics? I ask this because I' am making my final decision on picking a university. The university I'm interested in is The University of Vermont. I want to move up there and maybe live in that small city. The problem is that they don't offer a Ph.D in physics(my GPA in college is 3.0 and I'm getting an A.A. degree this fall semester. I better pass the Spanish CLEP exam).

    Oh, BTW, I'm sorry for making so many topics. I'm just excited that I'm finally leaving my parents home(23 yrs old is a great time to leave the nest.....I guess).
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 25, 2010 #2
    It's a huge difference. An M.S. takes a year or two and is just a slightly more advanced version of undergrad. A Ph.D will average 5-7 years and you are expected to do real scientific research. You're basically a scientist-in-training.

    In either case, you're talking about going to an UNDERGRAD university. This has nothing to do with where you go for GRADUATE school. It's uncommon to go to the same school for both undergrad and grad school.

    The grad school offerings should have nothing to do with where you go for undergrad.

    Read ZapperZ's sticky post in this forum for all you could ever want to know about a physics degree.
  4. Aug 25, 2010 #3
    Just a quick note: If you're still working on your bachelor's degree, don't worry if the institution doesn't offer a Ph.D. ... take things one step at a time (Jack21222 notes this above also). Typically you would attend somewhere else for your graduate degree anyway...

    You may, however, want to see what the undergraduate alumni of the University of Vermont have done: what jobs they've taken after employment or what universities they've attended for graduate school.
  5. Aug 25, 2010 #4
    Thanks for the understanding @physics girl phd and @Jack21222. I'm going to get my undergraduate degree(B.S. in physics) and hopefully transfer to a university that offers a Ph.D in Physics. I think a Ph.D in Physics works for me because I really want to research stuff and present theories in the future.
  6. Aug 25, 2010 #5


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    Keep in mind that 'transferring' refers to changing universities in the middle of a degree - finishing one degree and starting another somewhere else isn't transferring, it's normal. And a masters in physics took me and my friends 2-3 years; I've only seen people finish it in one if they enrolled in a BS/MS 5 year program.
  7. Aug 25, 2010 #6
    There are some programs designed to be a 1 year program, but it might not be a pure physics program. One I had in mind is this:

    http://www.aep.cornell.edu/eng10_page.cfm?webpageID=31 [Broken]

    but that's more of an engineering program, not physics.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Aug 25, 2010 #7
    What do you mean by that? Normal as undergraduate admission?
  9. Aug 25, 2010 #8


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    I don't usually answer for other members, but what eri means is the term "transfer" means you begin your BS degree at one institution and finish it elsewhere. This could mean getting an AA at one school, then moving on to a different school to finish your BS, like you're planning to do. Or it could mean just taking a class or several (not earning an AA), then moving on to a different school to earn your bachelor's.

    But when you finish your bachelor's degree, then go to a different school to earn an MS or a PhD, that's not referred to as "transferring". In fact I don't think there's an actual word for that, which is why eri called it "normal" :smile:.
  10. Aug 25, 2010 #9
    oh! Well, that answers my questions. Now, I need money to visit this campus. I have financial aid this semester and my refund will be $892. Should I get student loans to cover this trip? I have no job and I live in Orlando, FL. gain, moving to a small city will increase my chances of getting job(I hate getting into debt but its the only way). I want a scholarship, but I cannot receive any because of the financial aid(federal pell grant).

    I really need some advice with this situation.
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