JD and MS in physics?

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expelliarmus
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JD and MS in physics?

Postby expelliarmus » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:53 pm

I am now majoring in physics, and I absolutely love it. So I want to continue my studies after I graduate from college. However, my family will not support me if I pursue a PhD, but they will support me if I pursue a JD.
I am considering JD/MS dual degree. However, I am now worried that it will take away the credibility from the JD and the MS.

My parents advised me take MS EE. However, I don't want to - because I have no background in programming and hardware from undergraduate; but the physics material learnt in EE will not be as in depth as in physics. But it will make me more employable in terms of patent law.

Can anyone enlighten me on either of the two questions: 1. Will a JD/MS in physics make both degrees less credible? 2. Is MS EE more employable than MS Physics in terms of patent law. I am not sure if I want to go into patent, but it's just good to know.

Thanks!

bdubs
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby bdubs » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:58 pm

Do you want to be a physicist? If so, you should just do the PhD program. The ones that are worthwhile come with funding.

buzzbuzz2727
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby buzzbuzz2727 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:14 pm

1. No, it will not make either degree less credible.

2. Hard science backgrounds are only required for patent prosecution. With that said, IP/patent litigation departments do favor people who have a demonstrated interest in technology, and a degree in hard science will convey that interest. It honestly doesn't matter which science degree you go with because patent law is incredibly diverse. Hence, you're going to need to learn many patent issues from ground up anyway. If it's really down to EE or Physics, I would pick EE because there's so much IP litigation involving semiconductors.

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gin
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby gin » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:29 pm

The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you want to go to law school at all. If you don't and you wanna get a PhD in physics, then go for it. As for your family, they need to respect your decisions, after all it is your life, not theirs and you are an adult (I'll be honest and admit that I don't know what kind of job you can get with a PhD in physics, but that's for you to figure out). In my opinion, you shouldn't be wasting any money on something you don't want to do just to please others, when you might end up miserable. They might have a point and you might like EE or law school, but the choice should be yours, not theirs.

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bernaldiaz
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby bernaldiaz » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:31 pm

Seriously, any decent PHD in Physics will be fully funded and you should receive a stipend. Your parents really should have nothing to do with it.

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Bronte
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby Bronte » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:35 pm

Your parents should understand that a physics PHD is far more valuable both to you and to this country than a JD. You should link your parents to some of the many articles published in the NYT, WJS, NALP, and other reputable sources about the dismal state of the legal economy. You should also detach yourself financially from your parents, because PHD programs are usually funded. More importantly, if you love physics, stick with it. There's nothing more valuable than doing what you enjoy. That may sound sappy, but when you're one of the huge group of law students that find out they hate the law and don't have the credentials to make money in the law, it will sound less so.

bdubs
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby bdubs » Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:00 pm

Bronte wrote:Your parents should understand that a physics PHD is far more valuable both to you and to this country than a JD.


I don't know about this. How many professional physicists do you know? Physics is primarily an academic/research discipline. It's not and engineering degree, which is what we, arguably, need more of.

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Bronte
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby Bronte » Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:03 pm

bdubs wrote:
Bronte wrote:Your parents should understand that a physics PHD is far more valuable both to you and to this country than a JD.


I don't know about this. How many professional physicists do you know? Physics is primarily an academic/research discipline. It's not and engineering degree, which is what we arguably need more of.


Well lack of professional physicists is not exactly evidence of lack of value or need. I'd argue it's the opposite. This country needs more scientists. PHDs in hard sciences are very marketable and valuable as far as I know.

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sach1282
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby sach1282 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:52 pm

Do the PhD in physics! Who cares about parental support? You're going to give up what you love doing because your monthly check will come from a university instead of your parents' bank account?

As said above, any decent physics PhD is fully funded, meaning they PAY YOU to go to school. Do not bother with law school, especially since you actually professed an interest in physics.

I have a friend working on a PhD in physics from the University of Oregon and he loves it. He gets tons of free time, makes his own schedule, and works on really interesting research.

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expelliarmus
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby expelliarmus » Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:49 pm

bdubs wrote:
Bronte wrote:Your parents should understand that a physics PHD is far more valuable both to you and to this country than a JD.


I don't know about this. How many professional physicists do you know? Physics is primarily an academic/research discipline. It's not and engineering degree, which is what we, arguably, need more of.


Yes. That's what I am more worried about.
Even though good PhD programs are funded, I will eventually have to face the job market one day: namely, enter a university as a research scholar or faculty. Even though very few people get physics PhDs, there are even less openings for jobs on the market. (I know this, because I do extensive research with PhD students in my own physics department - which is a decent department in a top 20 institution. And I hear them discuss this all the time.)

The reason I am considering law is not that "my parents force me to do so" - I am interested in it (because I also have philosophy background), maybe at this point not as much as physics.

That said, I am just trying to see if I can continue my interest in the sciences in law school. So it seems to me JD/MS double degree is a possibility.

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Bronte
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby Bronte » Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:48 pm

expelliarmus wrote:
bdubs wrote:
Bronte wrote:Your parents should understand that a physics PHD is far more valuable both to you and to this country than a JD.


I don't know about this. How many professional physicists do you know? Physics is primarily an academic/research discipline. It's not and engineering degree, which is what we, arguably, need more of.


Yes. That's what I am more worried about.
Even though good PhD programs are funded, I will eventually have to face the job market one day: namely, enter a university as a research scholar or faculty. Even though very few people get physics PhDs, there are even less openings for jobs on the market. (I know this, because I do extensive research with PhD students in my own physics department - which is a decent department in a top 20 institution. And I hear them discuss this all the time.)

The reason I am considering law is not that "my parents force me to do so" - I am interested in it (because I also have philosophy background), maybe at this point not as much as physics.

That said, I am just trying to see if I can continue my interest in the sciences in law school. So it seems to me JD/MS double degree is a possibility.


Dual degrees are possible, but you should know that there are also far fewer legal job openings every year than there are are new JDs.

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expelliarmus
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby expelliarmus » Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:10 pm

Bronte wrote:
expelliarmus wrote:
bdubs wrote:
Bronte wrote:Your parents should understand that a physics PHD is far more valuable both to you and to this country than a JD.


I don't know about this. How many professional physicists do you know? Physics is primarily an academic/research discipline. It's not and engineering degree, which is what we, arguably, need more of.


Yes. That's what I am more worried about.
Even though good PhD programs are funded, I will eventually have to face the job market one day: namely, enter a university as a research scholar or faculty. Even though very few people get physics PhDs, there are even less openings for jobs on the market. (I know this, because I do extensive research with PhD students in my own physics department - which is a decent department in a top 20 institution. And I hear them discuss this all the time.)

The reason I am considering law is not that "my parents force me to do so" - I am interested in it (because I also have philosophy background), maybe at this point not as much as physics.

That said, I am just trying to see if I can continue my interest in the sciences in law school. So it seems to me JD/MS double degree is a possibility.


Dual degrees are possible, but you should know that there are also far fewer legal job openings every year than there are are new JDs.


Yes. I understand that, but I think the competition facing physicist is even worse.
That said, based on my GPA right now (I haven't taken the LSAT yet as a junior), I think I will be able to get into at least a decent law school.

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lifestooquick
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby lifestooquick » Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:24 pm

First, a masters in physics will get you basically no where. If you want to be a physicist, you need a PhD. A masters in physics is the consolation prize for those that don't complete the PhD. And if you want to do patent law, your UG major in physics + JD is sufficient. And, everyone else is right, most programs will fully fund you and likely pay you.

All job markets are competitive - pick the one that you love enough to fight the competitive market for.

I am getting my JD and my husband is getting a PhD in physics. If you have more specific/substantial questions I'm happy to answer/have him answer :)

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bernaldiaz
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby bernaldiaz » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:11 pm

Why on earth would you do a masters? Way less masters programs are funded than PHD's. If you can get paid to do a PHD, which you really want to do, why would you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a JD and Masters? Seriously this makes no sense.

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JCougar
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby JCougar » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:38 pm

Getting out of physics is one of the biggest regrets of my life.

Law school is 3 years of hazing where you don't learn very much, the grading is subjective, superficial, and significantly arbitrary, there's no feedback, and all you end up being is a middle-man in between people's conflicts or transactions. It's rare that you produce anything, and you don't really invent anything new, or come up with new ideas that help the world. You don't think of new ideas. Legal work is cutting and pasting other people's opinions into briefs and motions, etc. And in school, you spend over 60% of your time studying how to take law exams, rather than thinking deeply about the law and how it can be used to create social change.

In physics, you get to do experiments and uncover new knowledge, be creative, and make the world work better, faster, and more efficiently.

By the time I decided to go to law school, it was too late for me to go back, because I switched my undergraduate major to a non-physics field. To go back and get a bachelor's and then a PhD in physics would have taken be over 8 years. But had I been able to slide right into a physics PhD program, I would have done that way before going to law school. I decided to go to law school because of the leadership opportunities it offered down the road, and I'm still kind of glad I did -- but with that said, I already can't wait for it to be over. Don't think law school teaches you anything or is intellectually rewarding. It's 3 years of reading painfully technical sophistry and copying it from the casebook from your outline and then from your outline onto your exam sheet with no learning or feedback involved, and only minimal mental processing in between.

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Bronte
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby Bronte » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:45 pm

JCougar wrote:Getting out of physics is one of the biggest regrets of my life.

Law school is 3 years of hazing where you don't learn very much, the grading is subjective, superficial, and significantly arbitrary, there's no feedback, and all you end up being is a middle-man in between people's conflicts or transactions. It's rare that you produce anything, and you don't really invent anything new, or come up with new ideas that help the world. You don't think of new ideas. Legal work is cutting and pasting other people's opinions into briefs and motions, etc. And in school, you spend over 60% of your time studying how to take law exams, rather than thinking deeply about the law and how it can be used to create social change.

In physics, you get to do experiments and uncover new knowledge, be creative, and make the world work better, faster, and more efficiently.

By the time I decided to go to law school, it was too late for me to go back, because I switched my undergraduate major to a non-physics field. To go back and get a bachelor's and then a PhD in physics would have taken be over 8 years. But had I been able to slide right into a physics PhD program, I would have done that way before going to law school. I decided to go to law school because of the leadership opportunities it offered down the road, and I'm still kind of glad I did -- but with that said, I already can't wait for it to be over. Don't think law school teaches you anything or is intellectually rewarding. It's 3 years of reading painfully technical sophistry and copying it from the casebook from your outline and then from your outline onto your exam sheet with no learning or feedback involved, and only minimal mental processing in between.


I don't feel this way at all and strongly disagree with almost everything said. However, I think the risk that OP will feel this way is very high. It's the way most people end up feeling, even those that come from liberal arts backgrounds.

WSJ_Law
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby WSJ_Law » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:02 pm

LOL @ OP. Enjoy BIGGRAVITYLAW

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expelliarmus
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby expelliarmus » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:37 am

lifestooquick wrote:First, a masters in physics will get you basically no where. If you want to be a physicist, you need a PhD. A masters in physics is the consolation prize for those that don't complete the PhD. And if you want to do patent law, your UG major in physics + JD is sufficient. And, everyone else is right, most programs will fully fund you and likely pay you.

All job markets are competitive - pick the one that you love enough to fight the competitive market for.

I am getting my JD and my husband is getting a PhD in physics. If you have more specific/substantial questions I'm happy to answer/have him answer :)


Thanks for the answer. I am really confused right now - because I feel MS/JD is sort of a "consolation prize" for myself. As I want JD for the business-world opportunities, and I want the MS for not giving up science.
I guess I just need to decide on one path, and completely abandon the other.
But is an undergrad physics degree sufficient for patent? I thought you need undergrad engineering or PhD.

06162014123
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Postby 06162014123 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:07 am

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Last edited by 06162014123 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

vulpixie
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby vulpixie » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:18 pm

expelliarmus wrote:But is an undergrad physics degree sufficient for patent? I thought you need undergrad engineering or PhD.



An undergrad degree in physics is sufficient as long as you pass the Patent Bar. You do not need an MS/PHD, though getting one would probably marginally help your employment prospects. Either way, though, patent attorneys from good law schools make $$$$$$.

vulpixie
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby vulpixie » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:20 pm

Wikipedia says: "A candidate [for patent law] must also have an adequate scientific and technical background or education to understand a client's invention. The educational requirement can be met by a bachelor's degree in a specifically enumerated major, such as biology, computer science,[46] chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, physics, and biomedical, chemical, civil, electrical or mechanical engineering... Degrees in the social sciences, mathematics, or philosophy by themselves do not meet this requirement."

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paul34
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby paul34 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:38 pm

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Last edited by paul34 on Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BigJohnso
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby BigJohnso » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:17 am

I am someone who is going to LS next year coming from a physics background. I, however, am doing it for much different reasons than you. I loved learning physics, but put me in a lab or doing theoretical computations, and I really couldn't stand it. It seems like you genuinely love everything about the field. Go for physics PHD first. Look for programs that have a masters degree award for progress while obtaining your PHD. This way, you will get funded and get a masters. If you don't see yourself as part of the top 5% of all physics PHDS (those that will actually get jobs in physics), then drop out and go to LS. This is what I would do in your situation.

bdubs
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby bdubs » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:32 pm

BigJohnso wrote:I am someone who is going to LS next year coming from a physics background. I, however, am doing it for much different reasons than you. I loved learning physics, but put me in a lab or doing theoretical computations, and I really couldn't stand it. It seems like you genuinely love everything about the field. Go for physics PHD first. Look for programs that have a masters degree award for progress while obtaining your PHD. This way, you will get funded and get a masters. If you don't see yourself as part of the top 5% of all physics PHDS (those that will actually get jobs in physics), then drop out and go to LS. This is what I would do in your situation.


+1 - this is the best compromise. Law school will still be there in 2-3 years.

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expelliarmus
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby expelliarmus » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:29 pm

BigJohnso wrote:I am someone who is going to LS next year coming from a physics background. I, however, am doing it for much different reasons than you. I loved learning physics, but put me in a lab or doing theoretical computations, and I really couldn't stand it. It seems like you genuinely love everything about the field. Go for physics PHD first. Look for programs that have a masters degree award for progress while obtaining your PHD. This way, you will get funded and get a masters. If you don't see yourself as part of the top 5% of all physics PHDS (those that will actually get jobs in physics), then drop out and go to LS. This is what I would do in your situation.


Thank you. That is very good advice.
I have a couple publications (some of them co-authored); and I am pretty good at my upper level physics classes or grad level physics classes. However, I don't think I will be 5% of all the PhD graduate students.
This may sound really vain, but I have been educated at relatively prestigious schools, and it is not okay for me to graduate and teach at a community college without real research going on. My current department is decent, but I know that most PhDs will have to travel all over the countries, and may even have to teach in colleges we have never heard of before.

That is my real concern, and if that is the case, I would just rather go to law school.




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