Physics to Geophysics

<p>I decided to start a new thread instead of replying again in merper68's thread.</p>

<p>I'm a junior physics major at a highly ranked state school. I really enjoy physics and math, but I've realized that getting a Ph.D. in physics is not a good idea. So I've been looking around for possible alternative careers that would appreciate a strong physics and math background. I've always had an interest in geology and field work, so when I read about geophysics it sounded very interesting to me - both the geology side and the physics/math side. I've taken a couple of intro geology courses, and since I don't have many requirements left I could easily spend next year taking more. I've read that an MS is the preferred credential for geophysics careers in oil&gas (where most of the jobs are), so</p>

<p>1) Would I be competitive for a good master's program in geophysics?</p>

<p>2) What are some good schools for this? The top-ranked geophysics grad schools seem to focus on Ph.D. students and don't appear to have great connections to the oil&gas or mining industries.</p>

<p>3) Do geophysics masters students usually need to pay the full tuition? If so, is that cost worth it?</p>

<p>and finally,</p>

<p>4) Is this even a good idea? If I should be looking elsewhere for what to do with my physics degree, do please tell me.</p>

<p>Thanks!</p>

<p>It depends what you like more and wouldn't worry about a PhD presently. If you are already junior level physics and did physical and historical geology with hopefully a lab then the transition would be easy. It depends on the strength of your schools departments and do they align with your interests. If they have a fun, funded, interesting, well equipt geophysics department then I'd do it. Good degree options are typically a BS in Geophysics, Applied Geophyiscs, Geophyiscal/Geological Engineering, and Geophysics and Planetary Science etc. </p>

<p>Some questions to ask to yourself...do you like space physics, Planetary Science? Atmospheric? Paleomagnetism? Seismology? Some classes may overlap but after you survey different aspects you will natural begin to narrow in on what area interests you. </p>

<pre><code>The schools name in geophysics isn't as important as the research that goes on within their proximity. Once again, worry about doing well and finishing your bachelors first. The rest will come together and you will know what to master in once you get there.
</code></pre>

<p>Well, I don't have enough time to actually complete a BS in geophysics - I was asking if a BS in physics plus what would essentially be a minor in geophysics would be competitive for geophysics masters programs. </p>

<p>Also, I'm primarily looking at applied geophysics for oil/gas or mining type careers. It's a fascinating field, but if I was going to do serious, non-job applicable research I would just stay in physics.</p>

<p>For oil and gas you would probably want take from the Geology department at your school not only a course in Geophysics but also courses in Mineralology, Petrology, Stratigraphy, Paleontology and Sedimentology.</p>

<p>
[quote]
1) Would I be competitive for a good master's program in geophysics?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Yes, there are plenty of former physics majors in graduate geophysics programs around the nation. </p>

<p>
[quote]
2) What are some good schools for this? The top-ranked geophysics grad schools seem to focus on Ph.D. students and don't appear to have great connections to the oil&gas or mining industries.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Programs are typically ranked based on their academic worth, not necessarily their industrial worth. In geophysics, the best applied schools are: Colorado School of Mines, Stanford, Rice, MIT, UC Berkeley, and a few others. Surprisingly, the Ivies are not well-known (or well-recruited) in applied geophysics. That being said, you can't really go wrong... It just might be harder to wind up in the position you want initially.</p>

<p>
[quote]
3) Do geophysics masters students usually need to pay the full tuition? If so, is that cost worth it?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Typically, yes. Very few master's students receive funding, but it has happened before. Depending on what program you get into, you might find that funding is more available than in other fields. </p>

<p>
[quote]
4) Is this even a good idea? If I should be looking elsewhere for what to do with my physics degree, do please tell me.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Maybe yes, maybe no. Do you want a good paying job, where you can work on pretty interesting problems? If so, geophysics might be a good fit. Are you OK with being geographically limited to where you can work? Are you OK with working in oil and gas? Are you OK working on problems that are not typically considered cutting edge (by physicists)? Are you OK working in an overlooked field? You'll never win the Nobel working in Geophysics. Otherwise you might want to stay in Physics, even though a PhD in Physics is pretty much a crapshoot.</p>