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Working for a year before PhD

  1. Jun 7, 2012 #1
    Hi there

    I want (have) to work for a year before commencing PhD.
    I want to do PhD in astrophysics. Can any1 advise if it is reasonable to expect that I might attain a job even loosely related to astrophysics for the year?
    And also how I might go about looking for such job positions.
    (my BSc. was Physics with Astrophysics).
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2012 #2


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    In a normal job market I'd say yes, but these days even highly qualified candidates have a hard time finding work in their field. You don't say why you are working. At one extreme, you badly need money and will take the highest paying job regardless of field. On the other extreme, you don't need money so you could volunteer at your dream job. Your situation might be in the middle.

    Looking for jobs always involves the same elements. Work up a highly professional resume, with assistance from your college career guidance office. Apply to lots of postings in professional journals, Monster.com, etc. In the end, though, you will likely land a job through a personal connection. That means tapping everyone you know--professors, neighbors, relatives, professional colleagues you meet at seminars and conferences, etc--and then calling and writing everyone they know, and so on. Again, your guidance office will help you with the process. Finally, be persistent. It can take a long time.
  4. Jun 10, 2012 #3


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    Why do you want to work before starting your PhD? One thing to watch out for is that if you get a decent paying job, it might be too comfortable to leave that for the rigors of the graduate student life
  5. Jun 10, 2012 #4
    My reason for wanting (needing) to work is that I did not make any applications to universities over the course of the year for a PhD position.
    At this stage effectively all the deadlines for applications for funded PhDs has passed.

    I think then that probably the best remaining option I have is to find a job for the year (hopefully related to physics/astrophysics even loosely) and in that time make applications for PhD and perhaps also prepare to take aptitude exams such as GRE.

    In answer to Marcus, I could not afford to work in my ideal job without pay for the year but would definitely be happy to work for minimum wage so long as it was somewhat relevant to what I want to do.

    Any further thoughts/advice are welcome!
  6. Jun 10, 2012 #5

    Dr Transport

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    any job is a good job. working during the year before grad school will never look bad in your work history.
  7. Jun 20, 2012 #6
    If you can financially do it, you might want to consider staying in your university town for another year and volunteering part time in a research group in the Astronomy or Physics department. Then try to get a part time retail job to help pay the bills. This way, you'll still get to do physics while gaining research experience to put on future grad school applications.
  8. Jun 20, 2012 #7
    It's difficult, but not impossible. The type of work that I think would be most useful is to work as a lab assistant or tutor.

    Lab assistant jobs involves networking with professors.

    If all else fails, you can run ads on the local campus offering tutoring services. That looks good on an application since you'll be doing the same thing once you get into graduate school.
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