JD and MS in physics?

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Veyron
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby Veyron » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:12 pm

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 only difference between this law law school is that there are lots of people who get JDs. That being said, having a masters in a hard science discipline will certainly be an advantage.

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expelliarmus
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby expelliarmus » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:08 pm

Veyron wrote:
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 only difference between this law law school is that there are lots of people who get JDs. That being said, having a masters in a hard science discipline will certainly be an advantage.


Yes. But I think physics is a tiny discipline, especially the theoretical physics. But lawyers are needed more fields and disciplines than physicists. For example, one can graduate from northwestern, and have a great chance of not getting a job at all (having to leave the research forever), or one gets a teaching position in a university one has never heard of, where very little substantial research goes on. If one really loves physics like crazy, I guess that is okay. However, I just don't think that is okay for me, maybe I am just very vain.

But graduating from Northwestern Law School - given that you are a decent student, the future would not be as bleak.

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Veyron
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby Veyron » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:12 pm

expelliarmus wrote:
Veyron wrote:
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 only difference between this law law school is that there are lots of people who get JDs. That being said, having a masters in a hard science discipline will certainly be an advantage.


Yes. But I think physics is a tiny discipline, especially the theoretical physics. But lawyers are needed more fields and disciplines than physicists. For example, one can graduate from northwestern, and have a great chance of not getting a job at all (having to leave the research forever), or one gets a teaching position in a university one has never heard of, where very little substantial research goes on. If one really loves physics like crazy, I guess that is okay. However, I just don't think that is okay for me, maybe I am just very vain.

But graduating from Northwestern Law School - given that you are a decent student, the future would not be as bleak.


Tell that to the classes of 2009-12. Even many current students will be graduating sans job.

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paul34
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby paul34 » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:23 pm

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Last edited by paul34 on Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Veyron
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby Veyron » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:29 pm

paul34 wrote:I think what he saying is that even with the bleak outlook for grads of even some of the top law schools, that outlook is still not as bleak as the outlook for a physics PhD.


The difference is, you don't have to pay 200k for a PhD.

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paul34
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby paul34 » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:29 pm

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Last edited by paul34 on Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BigJohnso
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby BigJohnso » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:35 pm

expelliarmus wrote:
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.


I completely understand your views. Spending six years being a mule in the basement of a physics department as a grad student then doing the exact thing for at least two at a post doc, you would definitely want a more glamorous position. Btw, the 5% was a ballpark, not an exact figure by any means. I still think you should go for it though, it seems like you love the research (and are good at it given your publications).

Another thing that my thesis adviser made aware to me, is that he thinks that his patent attorney friends actually get more variety in their work than he does as a professor of physics. Just one more thing to consider.

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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby MachineLemon » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:52 pm

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


Yep, never attend a PhD program that asks you to pay. If they are worth their salt, they'll pay you.

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sach1282
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby sach1282 » Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:46 am

Veyron wrote:
paul34 wrote:I think what he saying is that even with the bleak outlook for grads of even some of the top law schools, that outlook is still not as bleak as the outlook for a physics PhD.


The difference is, you don't have to pay 200k for a PhD.


THIS! You go to law school, come out without a job, you just wasted a TON of money (even if in your case it was subsidized by your parents). If you go into physics, you come out having wasted no money and in no debt.

BigJohnso
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby BigJohnso » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:50 pm

You guys are missing a key thing though. Law School is three years, and getting a PHD in physics is six. Even just making 50 k per year with that difference of three years, it basically makes up for the cost difference. Not a valid argument in terms of JUST the debt.

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Veyron
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby Veyron » Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:29 pm

BigJohnso wrote:You guys are missing a key thing though. Law School is three years, and getting a PHD in physics is six. Even just making 50 k per year with that difference of three years, it basically makes up for the cost difference. Not a valid argument in terms of JUST the debt.


Stipends at good schools run almost 30k a year bro. 30 * 6 = 180k.

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lifestooquick
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby lifestooquick » Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:39 pm

Veyron wrote:
BigJohnso wrote:You guys are missing a key thing though. Law School is three years, and getting a PHD in physics is six. Even just making 50 k per year with that difference of three years, it basically makes up for the cost difference. Not a valid argument in terms of JUST the debt.


Stipends at good schools run almost 30k a year bro. 30 * 6 = 180k.

You'll only be looking at 30K if you get one of the extremely competitive high-end fellowships. The standard stipend at almost all schools for a GRA or GTA position is 20K.

OP, what kind of physics are you interested in doing?

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expelliarmus
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby expelliarmus » Sun Nov 20, 2011 1:03 am

lifestooquick wrote:
Veyron wrote:
BigJohnso wrote:You guys are missing a key thing though. Law School is three years, and getting a PHD in physics is six. Even just making 50 k per year with that difference of three years, it basically makes up for the cost difference. Not a valid argument in terms of JUST the debt.


Stipends at good schools run almost 30k a year bro. 30 * 6 = 180k.

You'll only be looking at 30K if you get one of the extremely competitive high-end fellowships. The standard stipend at almost all schools for a GRA or GTA position is 20K.

OP, what kind of physics are you interested in doing?

I cannot say about the fellowship question. Up to now, my school is pretty big on experimental physics, given its approximation to Fermi Lab.
I haven't quite decided yet. But I think high energy physics (particle physics) is something I am very interested in at this point. But I might do theoretical later.

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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby LockBox » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:08 pm

expelliarmus wrote:
lifestooquick wrote:
Veyron wrote:
BigJohnso wrote:You guys are missing a key thing though. Law School is three years, and getting a PHD in physics is six. Even just making 50 k per year with that difference of three years, it basically makes up for the cost difference. Not a valid argument in terms of JUST the debt.


Stipends at good schools run almost 30k a year bro. 30 * 6 = 180k.

You'll only be looking at 30K if you get one of the extremely competitive high-end fellowships. The standard stipend at almost all schools for a GRA or GTA position is 20K.

OP, what kind of physics are you interested in doing?

I cannot say about the fellowship question. Up to now, my school is pretty big on experimental physics, given its approximation to Fermi Lab.
I haven't quite decided yet. But I think high energy physics (particle physics) is something I am very interested in at this point. But I might do theoretical later.


As mentioned before I can corroborate the 20k estimate - that's what me and most of my colleagues received during my first year of grad school in physics (I left to due to personal reasons).

OP, have you taken the Physics GRE yet? I'm sending apps out now so I think I have a good idea of both sides of this argument and I think they both have merit. If you do decide to pursue physics just go after the Ph.D route - you most likely will not receive a stipend for enrolling as a masters student. My entering class size was about 20 and everyone was pursuing a Ph.D (either already having earned a masters or fresh from undergrad). If you don't pass the comprehensive exam (usually given at the end of your first year...you're allowed at most schools to take it again next december for a final time if you fail initially) then you'll leave with a masters. At that point you can go after a JD if you like.

The IP specialists around here can speak to the advantage of having a masters in physics/EE or anything else when going after a JD. It will most likely only apply if you're pursuing patent law.

Lastly, it seems reasonable to start grad school in physics and then decide to go after a law degree...but not the other way around. If you take time off or away from physics it will be undoubtedly more difficult to go back to it than taking time off and going to law school. I haven't been to law school, but I have seen the material 1st year grad students in physics cover and it's absolutely no joke. 1L, from what i've heard, doesn't compare to Sakurai's Quantum or Jackson for E&M. Good luck.

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MormonChristian
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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby MormonChristian » Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:12 am

expelliarmus wrote: 2. Is MS EE more employable than MS Physics in terms of patent law.!


Yes it is right now the EE degree is the most desirable degree for Patent Lawyers. If you are really ambitious than do a MS Thesis too.

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Re: JD and MS in physics?

Postby LawSchoolChampion » Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:56 pm

MS EE > Physics for employment in the legal profession - but I'd go for the Ph.D in physics.

Take your GRE, knock it out, and go to a program that pays you to attend.

If you don't like it, you'll have studied in graduate school, decided it wasn't for you, and will be free to attend law school at your leisure. You'll have a great personal statement about pursing a passion then decided to pursue a different career: law.




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