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What to do about grad school? What does an engineer do on a day to day basis?

  1. Nov 23, 2011 #1
    I’m currently a physics/math major. I work very hard and am proud of my 4.0 GPA. However, as my peers and professors begin to talk about grad school I realize I don’t have a clue what I'm supposed to do. My goal is to go to Penn State for an advanced degree in some type of engineering or physics. I have several questions if anyone can answer any of them at all that would be great.

    What do I do about getting accepted to grad school? I'm going to try to apply to REU's over the summer but are there other things I should be doing to improve my chance of getting accepted?

    If I get into grad school for physics I would really enjoy being a professor someday, but I hear so many negatives about the profession (long hours, under paid, stressful, etc.). What is it really like? At the university I go to they seem to love their jobs and what they do.

    Finally, What exactly does an engineer do? If I got an advanced degree in some field of engineering what do they do on a day to day basis?

    I hope someone will be able to at least answer some of my questions. I love physics and building things but when it finally comes time to seriously consider grad school I want to be sure I'm doing what I need to get me where I want to go.

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2011 #2


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    A 4.0 GPA is a great start. REUs would contribute to the cause. Graduate schools would also like to see a longer-term research effort with a professor working in some area of engineering, preferably the one you want to go into.

    Varies greatly. Circuit design, management, drawing review, and lots of other things are all possible if not probable.
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