Steps Toward Grad School

Start thinking about it well before your senior year
Attend the What Physicists Do lectures, ask questions of the speakers, read Scientific American and Physics Today. Look into the Career Planning Aids listed near the top of the Jobs page. Talk to people, including those now in grad school. It is good to visit graduate schools and talk to the graduate program advisors and students well before finishing your undergraduate education.

Do you want to go to grad school?
Decide by the beginning of your senior year.

Choose a field

In some fields, including physics and astronomy, there are currently more Ph.D. job-seekers than jobs. This may change by the time you enter the job market, as many physicists and astronomers are approaching retirement, and the average physics Ph.D. spends 7 years in graduate school. Still, you may want to consider other fields. Fortunately, physics graduates are in demand in many disciplines. Sonoma State University physics graduates have earned doctorates in:

applied physics
astronomy
atmospheric physics
bioengineering
biophysics
chiropractic
computer science
geophysics


law
materials science
mathematics
medicine
physical chemistry
physics
psychophysiology
radiobiology

Other graduates have earned master's degrees in:

biochemistry
biomedical engineering
business administration
civil and environmental engineering
earth and space science
education
electrical engineering
energy engineering
geography
history of science
international management

management
mechanical engineering
nuclear engineering
physical science
political science
psychology
public administration
scientific instrumentation
security management
systems management
theology

Other possibilities include:

forensic science
library and information science

meteorology

Take a look at the careers of some of the SSU physics students who came before you. You will find information about many at the Graduates Achievements web page and in the latest issue of the department's annual newsletter, The Physics Major.

It pays to plan ahead. Some of these fields require specific undergraduate preparation. You may wish to choose SSU’s flexible BA program, which has many electives and requires you to earn 12 units in one other subject.

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