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What to do with my Physics Degree (low GPA)

  1. Feb 1, 2015 #1
    Hi everyone,

    This post is a hybrid between career guidance and academic guidance.

    I'll be graduating with my B.Sc. in Physics next year in April 2016, from a Canadian university. I had a very rough first couple years, but I seem to be improving. My GPA is really low right now 2.33, I think (my school doesn't use a 4.0 scale), or a high C. After this semester it should be around a 2.5, or a mid C+. I doubt it'll get much higher than that since next year I'm taking all upper year physics courses. Maybe around a 2.8, if I don't leave my study room for 8 months.

    My question is: what can I do in my situation? I'm not interested in working in academia or any form of teaching, but it seems every interesting career I learn about recommends a masters, or even a PhD. Some careers I've come across were data analyst/scientist, quant analyst, risk analyst... pretty much anything with analyst in the job title. Of course, they don't all require a masters or PhD, but to be competitive, I think I should.

    For the three careers I listed above, it seems the masters degree of choice is (applied) statistics. But, every masters program I look into requires a minimum B+ average in the last year or two. My grades for the courses that would be included in my last two years so far are B+, B+, B, C. I'm taking 4 courses each semester, including summer, until I graduate in April 2016.

    I'm currently a tutor for high school math and physics.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2015 #2

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Perhaps you can take some courses beyond the undergrad and get good grades so that you can say and demonstrate that you had a rough start but have turned things around and that might help you get into a masters program.
     
  4. Feb 1, 2015 #3
    Thanks for the info. I contacted the department offering a masters in statistics regarding taking graduate level courses as a non-degree student first to improve my application. I got a response today saying I could enroll in 4th year courses and assuming I do well in them, there is a good chance I'll be accepted.

    Does this mean I need to take courses until I reach a GPA of 3.5 or only need to demonstrate my capabilities by getting a B+ in only those courses?
     
  5. Feb 1, 2015 #4

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Again you need to ask them but I think there's some discretion on their part. Just do the best you can and learn as much as you can and things will work out. It's really about adapting and finding your way that counts.
     
  6. Feb 1, 2015 #5
    I would look at software, especially gaming or aerospace. For instance, the place I work at hires a lot of physics majors as software engineers. A lot of them have just a BS degree or at the most a masters.
     
  7. Feb 1, 2015 #6

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    I am one of them people BS in Physics, MS in Comp Sci, fingers in many projects, curiosity abounding and physics burning in the background ever so strongly...
     
  8. Feb 2, 2015 #7
    Software is interesting. I'll definitely look into that. Although we take computer science courses, I don't think it's at a sufficient level; at least for getting a job.

    Beautiful. MS in CS, huh? Can you explain how you made the switch?
     
  9. Feb 2, 2015 #8

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Yeah, I got a BS in Physics and immediately got hired by GE and trained as a "scientific programmer" a fancy term for someone who codes in Fortran. After 10 years or so, I decided to go back to grad school in Physics but after a few courses realized that I had lost a lot of my math skills (maybe never had them to begin with ???) and decided to switch to CompSci Masters which played to my experience and was able to transfer in my physics courses to complete the grade.
     
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