What to do after MSci Physics? Physics/aerospace/etc...?

  • #1
Please excuse any rambling, I’m going to try and make this as concise as possible.

My background: I’m currently about to enter my 4th (final) year of an integrated masters in ‘Physics with Particle Physics and Cosmology’ – all that means is that all the particle and cosmology modules were compulsory for me, and tbh there wasn’t much cosmology.

When I applied for this course it was because I was interested in particle physics and learning about the fundamental building blocks of the universe. I wanted to go into research as a physicist and be a part of figuring out how it all works. I always assumed I’d go on to do a phd after I graduated. In the last few months I decided to do a phd focussed on particle detector R&D (although I would still have to do some data analysis and such) and as such I also decided that my masters project would also be on detector R&D (I will be looking at upgrades for LHCb’s ECAL – looking at radiation hard technologies and making some study of the physics impact of different designs using GEANT4)

However… I’m not 100% sure this is what I want to do forever, and a phd is a big commitment.

As I’ve progressed through my degree I’ve discovered that rather than working out why things happen, I want to be the one making them happen, which is why I suppose I’ve been leaning towards designing particle detectors over analysing data collected from them.

And here’s where it gets more complicated. I also have a strong interest in space exploration (the dream is to be an astronaut, but as that is extremely unlikely it would be nice to be involved in some way with furthering our progress into space).

So at the moment I’m kind of stuck between:
1) continuing on my route with the phd in detector R&D, after which I could:
a) stay in detector R&D for colliders
b) or I could go into designing particle detectors that will eventually go into space (or maybe some other kind of measurement instrument that could put my physics knowledge to use.)​

2) getting a 2nd masters in something like aerospace/space engineering (if you can explain the difference to me you’d be a star because I honestly don’t see much if any difference between them) or space science after which I could:
a) get a career in that subject (and maybe a phd down the line)
b) or get a career/phd that combines that subject with physics (something in between would be ideal, although I don’t know what that could be)​

I would love to take a year out after graduating and get some experience in aerospace, but that seems to be difficult to do without an aerospace degree.

And this is where I need help. If you have any experience in these fields, especially if you did a physics degree and then switched to some area of space exploration, I would love to hear about it. What you did, why you did it, your thoughts on it. If you were ever stuck between subjects, like I am, and how you decided. Or if you can point me in the direction of any subjects/careers I haven’t considered (I’m doing my research, there’s just a lot out there!) Honestly any advice would be appreciated at this point.

Answers and Replies

  • #2
I got a MSc in Fusion Energy in the UK and now I am doing a master's in medical physics.

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