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Which is more respectable?

  1. May 15, 2006 #1
    A Ph.D in Computer Engineering or a Ph.D in Quantum Physics?

    I am having a tough time deciding between the two... but I think I have made my decision based on what I am more fasinated in. Just want to hear your opinion. What I mean is which career is harder?
    Last edited: May 15, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. May 15, 2006 #2


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    Homework Helper

    What do you mean by respectable?
  4. May 15, 2006 #3
    Alright, let me rephrase, what is more difficult?
  5. May 15, 2006 #4


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    Oh, OK. This is very subjective, because people have differing abilities and aptitudes. But by and large, I believe quantum physics is heavier in intellectually intensive subjects like advanced mathematics, etc., so many would consider that more "difficult".

    I'm not in either field, so I could be wrong. I'm sure someone with more direct experience will be around to answer your question soon.
  6. May 15, 2006 #5
    One question, did you even finish your undergrad yet?
  7. May 15, 2006 #6


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    Great point. I was taking him seriously there for a minute. If he were applying for grad school, he would be able to answer his own question. :rofl:
  8. May 16, 2006 #7
    That's a stupid question. There is no singular career associated with each particular degree and the degrees themselves can be as hard as you make them. There are no absolutes when judging entire fields.
  9. May 16, 2006 #8
    Also, I don't think there is such thing as "PhD in Quantum physics" (nor "PhD in Classical physics"). The closest to that would be Quantum Information or maybe interpretations of quantum physics (latter being more philosophical).

    Areas you can get (as in "areas most people" get) PhD in, are Condensed matter physics, High energy physics, etc... most of which use (more or less) quantum theory, among other things.
  10. May 16, 2006 #9


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    You can do a PhD based on any title, in any field whatsoever.

    It's not the case of which is most respectable but simply how good are the results of your study.

    Doing a PhD is not like learning stuff for a degree.
  11. May 16, 2006 #10
    hmmm ok. I was just trying to help curve me decision. I am really interested in hardcore physics, so I guess I will pursue that.
  12. May 16, 2006 #11


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    ...and, funding opportunities may curve your decision more.

    (What level of eduction are you currently at?)
  13. May 16, 2006 #12
    I just graduated from high school haha. But I looked at both course's curriculum and they are different in the beginning. So I guess I have to choose now?
  14. May 16, 2006 #13
    Not necessarily, talk to your advisor in college, see if you can set up a program whereby you graduate with a dual major in 4 years. This isn't as impossible as it seems, especially as some of the courses you will have to take will help you in both majors.

    As a second note, do whatever interests you the most, if you are doing this to earn respect, that motivation will never be enough to get you through the tough times you'll need to go through in order to get your degree.

    Good luck!

  15. May 16, 2006 #14
    I suggest you wait until you get a taste of reality in college before posting any more of those types of questions.
  16. May 16, 2006 #15
    Oh so true.:rofl:
  17. May 17, 2006 #16
    Since US college student drop-out rate is so high.....

    back to topic, PhD is not something that you think it is easily approachable. I am an undergrad maths major and just went to a graduate level maths class yesterday called "quantum information". I didnt understand anything out of that class at all. Phd is a lot further than most people might think. I thought i would get a Phd but i guess i would be satisfied with a professional master degree now.
  18. May 17, 2006 #17
    Where is this coming from? I know of a few people that were kicked out because they simply were not surviving. I don't think there is a huge amount of people droping out though.

    My earlier comment is refering to what a lot of people may think about college before actually attending college. Math and Science classes in college are extremely difficult. Just wanting to get a Ph.D is not going to be easy.
  19. May 17, 2006 #18


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    There seems to still be some confusion here...

    Doing a PhD is not like doing a bachelors or masters

    You don't get taught - although I see in one thread some US schools do make them do Grad classes, although I'm not sure if this is good...

    In a PhD, you have to motivate yourself. If you need some knowledge, you pick up a book or read some journals - you're not made to follow a structure because you won't know in what direction the PhD may turn - there is no final exam, there is no test!

    Back to the OP - it's good that you're thinking of doing a PhD - when I left school, I had an idea that I could get a PhD when I was 25 (and I did), but I certainly had no idea of what field it would be in.

    Best advice would be to continue your studies - at some time you'll probably have to do a project, this will let you get an idea of what research is. Then after you finish, this project could start of a PhD or you could do something completely different.

    The main skill you should have when going into a PhD is not intimate knowledge of a specific subject, but a desire to work! You'll pick up the specific skills as you go along.
  20. May 17, 2006 #19
    Just from my observation. In "some" of my upper level classes, drop out rate from the first week of class to last day of drop out is about 30-40%. Though, i assume the rate decreases as higher degree is pursued.
  21. May 17, 2006 #20
    Awesome, I love it when you guys say the college math is very difficult. I love a challenge! can't wait. Hopefully I will understand it all, which I think I will. I took AP calc and felt that it was really easy.
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