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Thread: I'm afraid of Majoring in Science.

  1. #1 I'm afraid of Majoring in Science. 
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    Science is what I'm good at. I find the memorization easy and am facinated by discussion of scientific theories (hence). However, I don't know how I would ever find a job or company where I could go to once I go in that direction. I hear all the time about Scientist working for private companies or the government.

    Well I'll get to the point. Could some of you re-assure me in a way that there are actual places to get a job?


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  3. #2  
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    There are vast numbers of places to get a job with a science degree. The nature of the job will depend upon your major, your interests, your character and your attitude.
    I can't even begin to list a shortlist of the headlines jobs that you might get. It is just about as large as you would wish it to be.
    If you can give some indication of the particular field that interests you then we might be able to come up with something more specific. Also, where in the world do you live. That can have some impact on the exact range of available work.


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  4. #3  
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    Science is quite broad and although a lot of people relate a major in science to the stereotype of "person in white lab coat thinking up of theories and experimenting", there are a lot of places you can go with a science degree. Even the army may require a major in science (for technicians and related jobs of course).
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  5. #4  
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    If you want a specific major for science, I'd suggest physics. Be warned, though, it is not a place for the faint of heart. As any disagreements can quickly become all out war. It's a fairly good major if you want to teach. Even moreso if you just want to *LEARN*.
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  6. #5  
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    So, it's only a job?
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  7. #6  
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
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    I would only add that 'typically,' a Ph.D. is required in science. So consider that when deciding.

    edit:
    Okay, perhaps 'required' is a bit strong. But I think more opportunities await if you have a Ph.D.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by william
    I would only add that 'typically,' a Ph.D. is required in science. So consider that when deciding.
    Surely you would agree this is only true if you are planning on working as a research scientist. There are countless jobs with a scientific leaning, or where a scientific background are useful, even essential, where a Bachelor''s degree is sufficient.
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  9. #8  
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    Ophiolite wrote:
    william wrote:
    I would only add that 'typically,' a Ph.D. is required in science. So consider that when deciding.
    Surely you would agree this is only true if you are planning on working as a research scientist. There are countless jobs with a scientific leaning, or where a scientific background are useful, even essential, where a Bachelor''s degree is sufficient.
    I would say that this is definitely true (that is, a Ph.D.) if one wants to become a research scientist or a professor at a 1st, 2nd, or even a 3rd tier university. Even at a community college, usually a Master's degree is required and a Ph.D. preferred (of course I'm speaking of the system in the U.S. since that is what I'm most familiar with).

    There are plenty of jobs where a Bachelor's degree is sufficient - but one would 'usually' be a 'subordinate' to a higher-degreed person (e.g., a lab technician or such). And I stress, that this is 'typical' - surely there are exceptions.

    Perhaps (???) if one wants to be successful with a 4-year degree, engineering may be more appropriate. (???)

    I'll put it this way, in physics, rarely do we not suggest going for the Ph.D. So that's why I say to plan on it.

    Cheers,
    william
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  10. #9  
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
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    Let me add one thing (I know double posting is frowned upon...)
    In light of the name of this thread "I'm afraid of majoring in science," to allay some of those fears, surely it is easier (I would think...) to get a job with a Ph.D. than a Master's or Bachelors....

    Cheers,
    william
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  11. #10  
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    What you are saying William may be true if you are wanting a job as a scientist. I am not sure if this is what is being asked. AnalogMan seems to want to know if he can get a job once he has got his degree. For this an adavanced degree is an irrelevance in most situations.
    A bachelors degree, especially a first, or upper second, suggests a certain native intellect and passable work ethic, which will be attractive to employers.
    Many employers would be disinterested in a Ph.D. because they woud fear they were too academic for the role.

    I don't have any figures at all, other than anecdotal ones, but remember that only a small percentage of people with science degrees actually work as scientists.
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  12. #11  
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    Ophiolite,
    It seems no matter what I say, you will argue with me on this.

    I am simply giving the advice that I would give to my own child. It is what I think is best....

    Oph wrote:
    Many employers would be disinterested in a Ph.D. because they woud fear they were too academic for the role.
    In science? Grad school is more like a job than it is like 'school.' You are expected to do work. Not just keep taking classes. If you are indeed correct, then the employer and you are misinformed (respectfully).

    Cheers,
    william

    P.S. Grad school (in science) is free you know (you actually get paid!). I'm speaking of the U.S. system. So it won't become a financial burden. And I don't see the harm nor your resistance to it. It is simply the advice I would give.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by william
    Ophiolite,
    It seems no matter what I say, you will argue with me on this.
    I could say it seems that no matter what I say you will misunderstand me. In those cases I shalll seek to clarify. It is my responsibility to make myself understood. I am sorry if you take my attempts to clarify as arguing.
    Quote Originally Posted by william
    I am simply giving the advice that I would give to my own child. It is what I think is best....
    Will you not permit me the same opportunity?
    Quote Originally Posted by william
    Many employers would be disinterested in a Ph.D. because they woud fear they were too academic for the role.
    In science? Grad school is more like a job than it is like 'school.' You are expected to do work. Not just keep taking classes. If you are indeed correct, then the employer and you are misinformed
    Regardless of the accuracy of their perception this is their perception. That, therefore, has a real effect on the ease or difficulty the graduate will have in obtaining a job.

    The nub of the situation is this - is the objective in taking a science degree to be able to work in science. If so a post graduate qualification is close to essential.
    Is the objective to get a degree in something that is interesting and be able to get a job on the strength of that degree. In that case only a bachelors degree is necessary.
    Are you disagreeing with these two fundamental points?
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  14. #13  
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    Please Oph, if you are going to qoute me, then do a proper job.
    Case in point:
    Oph quoted me as:
    william wrote:
    Oph wrote:
    Many employers would be disinterested in a Ph.D. because they woud fear they were too academic for the role.
    In science? Grad school is more like a job than it is like 'school.' You are expected to do work. Not just keep taking classes. If you are indeed correct, then the employer and you are misinformed
    At the end, I had written "respectfully." I hope you are not trying to make me look like an ass. Why did you leave that off Oph???

    You replied to the above as:
    Regardless of the accuracy of their perception this is their perception. That, therefore, has a real effect on the ease or difficulty the graduate will have in obtaining a job.
    Oph, I would wager that this "perception" is the minority. And for those that have this perception, it is the applicant's responsibility to change this perception. It is that simple. And for someone who is capable of getting a Ph.D., this shouldn't be the toughest task they ever had to perform.

    Okay, now then,
    Oph wrote:
    william wrote:
    Ophiolite,
    It seems no matter what I say, you will argue with me on this.
    I could say it seems that no matter what I say you will misunderstand me. In those cases I shalll seek to clarify. It is my responsibility to make myself understood. I am sorry if you take my attempts to clarify as arguing.
    I hope you are not the type that thinks you are always misunderstood.... It's annoying and arrogant. Stop it.
    And "arguing" is not necessarily a bad thing.

    Oph wrote:
    william wrote:
    I am simply giving the advice that I would give to my own child. It is what I think is best....
    Will you not permit me the same opportunity?
    Oph, who's not permitting you to do whatever you want? You are a moderator afterall....

    Oph wrote:
    The nub of the situation is this - is the objective in taking a science degree to be able to work in science. If so a post graduate qualification is close to essential.
    Is the objective to get a degree in something that is interesting and be able to get a job on the strength of that degree. In that case only a bachelors degree is necessary.
    Are you disagreeing with these two fundamental points?
    For the most part I agree. I might contend that in some cases, even a bachelors isn't necessary. I've always said there are exceptions.

    Look Oph, all I'm saying is that more education (the Ph.D.) is probably the better route overall. If an employer prefers a B.S. (with all else being equal for the sake of argument), then I think the employer is misguided. And there will be more (and even better) opportunities for the Ph.D. Further, I stated that grad school is free (and one gets a stipend!), so it will not become a financial burden. If it were a financial burden, then I would alter my argument.

    Oph, if a group of students were to take my advice, and another were to take your advice, I think 'in the end,' there may be more students upset with you than with me. This is my opinion.

    You must also realize the mindset of the typical physics major (I use physics because that is my specialty). If a student chooses to major in physics, then they typically want to learn as much about it as possible - it's a lifelong obsession. In the cases where the student leaves with a B.S., it is usually because they discovered physics was not for them afterall (for whatever reason) and they usually want to get away from physics. Of course there are exceptions, but I claim that the above is what happens in most cases.

    Bottom line: The Ph.D. opens much more doors than not.

    Bottom-bottom line: This is such a stupid discussion you are engaging me in Oph. High school dropouts manage to get jobs. Of course a B.S. in science isn't going to hurt anyone. And all I'm saying is that I believe the Ph.D. will hurt one's chances even less.

    I am not sure how you will dispute what I said in this post... but I have the feeling you'll try.... :P

    Cheers,
    william
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  15. #14  
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    William,
    Point 1: You seem determined to try to pick an argument with me. I have no interest in that. I shall make a couple of further points then withdraw from this discussion.

    Point 2: I think your advice is poor and it appears that your knowledge of the job market in industry is warped. The original poster may read the recommendations from both of us and form his own conclusions.

    Point 3: You observed
    Quote Originally Posted by william
    Please Oph, if you are going to qoute me, then do a proper job.
    ......
    .......
    At the end, I had written "respectfully." I hope you are not trying to make me look like an ass. Why did you leave that off Oph???
    I left it off because it had no relevance to the meaning of your post. If you care to search through all of the quotations I have made of other posters I doubt you will find a single example where I have included the closing greeting.
    I have absolutely no idea why you think leaving it off would make you look like an ass.
    I do not think leaving it off made you look like an ass.
    I had no intention of making you look like an ass.
    I am beginning to believe you may have skills in that direction yourself.
    Quote Originally Posted by william
    I hope you are not the type that thinks you are always misunderstood.... It's annoying and arrogant. Stop it.
    Please stop being deliberately offensive. I have stated my fundamental belief that the primary responsibility for communication lies with the writer or speaker. Since you appear to have persistently misunderstood my intent I am accepting responsibility for that. I have attempted to clarify that misunderstanding. You choose to respond with the above insulting remarks.
    While the primary responsibility rests with the writer, some responsibility rests with the reader. I advise you to accept that responsibility now.
    Quote Originally Posted by william
    Oph, who's not permitting you to do whatever you want? You are a moderator afterall....
    My moderator status is wholly irrelevant. I am writing as an indivdual poster with the same rights and responsibilities as you.
    I disagreed with some of your conclusions, whereas you chastised me for having these different opinions. If you cannot see the difference between these two approaches, then - to the relief of many - I am speechless.
    Quote Originally Posted by william
    Look Oph, all I'm saying is that more education (the Ph.D.) is probably the better route overall.
    ..........
    I am not sure how you will dispute what I said in this post... but I have the feeling you'll try
    You are wrong. Will that suit you?
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  16. #15  
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    Oph wrote:
    William,
    Point 1: You seem determined to try to pick an argument with me. I have no interest in that. I shall make a couple of further points then withdraw from this discussion.
    Whatever Oph. Believe what you want. If I wanted to argue with you, I would have picked something other than an opinion(!!!) to argue about.
    Further, thank you for withdrawing from this discussion. I wish you would have done this long ago....

    Oph wrote:
    Point 2: I think your advice is poor and it appears that your knowledge of the job market in industry is warped. The original poster may read the recommendations from both of us and form his own conclusions.
    Advice to go for the Ph.D. is poor? This is foolish.
    My knowledge of the job market is warped? Oph, I am an insider. Though my knowledge on the job market may me incomplete, I'm sure it's more relevant than yours (respectfully).
    Yes, the original poster can decide for himself. My best wishes to him and his future.

    Oph wrote:
    ...I have absolutely no idea why you think leaving it off would make you look like an ass.
    I do not think leaving it off made you look like an ass.
    I had no intention of making you look like an ass.
    I am beginning to believe you may have skills in that direction yourself.
    While in the very next sentence you wrote:
    Please stop being deliberately offensive.
    Oph, I am losing respect for you (though I'm sure you couldn't care less...).
    As you like to use the phrase sooooooooo much, "ad hominem." Practice what you preach.

    Moreover, you keep insisting that I "misunderstand" you which is offensive (and you don't seem to care). You are stating that a Bachelors degree will suffice in many cases, and in some cases, may be preferred by some employers that believe a Ph.D. is too academic. I am stating that it is my opinion that a Ph.D. is more 'fulfilling.' Respectfully Oph, you are an outsider looking in while I am an insider. I work with students and professors every day, and have also worked in industry for 8 years. If someone gets a Ph.D. and enters the job market, if they get passed up for a promotion, at least they know it was not for lack of education.

    I would like to address this,
    Oph wrote:
    william wrote:
    I hope you are not the type that thinks you are always misunderstood.... It's annoying and arrogant. Stop it.
    Please stop being deliberately offensive. I have stated my fundamental belief that the primary responsibility for communication lies with the writer or speaker. Since you appear to have persistently misunderstood my intent I am accepting responsibility for that. I have attempted to clarify that misunderstanding. You choose to respond with the above insulting remarks.
    Oph, someone constantly claiming that they are misunderstood is annoying and arrogant! This is not meant to be offensive. It is my opinion. It's like saying, "You're too dumb to understand me." Especially with something as simple as our preceeding conversation. Don't take it as an insult. I would simply advise not doing it anymore if you care about other's feelings. But then again... you don't seem to value my advice.

    Oph wrote:
    My moderator status is wholly irrelevant.
    Not entirely Oph. You can 'boot' me from this forum at any time.

    And finally;
    Oph wrote:
    william wrote:
    Look Oph, all I'm saying is that more education (the Ph.D.) is probably the better route overall.
    ..........
    I am not sure how you will dispute what I said in this post... but I have the feeling you'll try.... :P
    You are wrong. Will that suit you?
    Again, you purposely left off the little 'face' (which I reinserted). The 'face' and the "respectfully" that I whine about, I put in so as to keep you from getting "emotional." You should leave them in....

    By the way, your previous post indicates that I was right.

    Oph, I'm starting to see why there are very few 'professional scientists' in this forum. People like you make it frustrating with the insults and the "I'm smarter than you" attitude. When the moderator makes one feel as if they may have been better off not posting, something is wrong. Is there something you feel the need to prove? If not, could you please cease these gratuitous insults such as
    I had no intention of making you look like an ass.
    I am beginning to believe you may have skills in that direction yourself.
    or is that too much to ask of you? Afterall, how many times have you admonished others for that???

    Now please Oph, let's act in a manner suitable for this forum. Okay?
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  17. #16  
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    Discussion continued off-line.
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  18. #17  
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    Discussion continued off-line.

    I don't wish to continue this discussion whether online or off. Please drop it.

    Regards,
    william
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  19. #18  
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    As a clarification: Ophiolite can not just boot you off the forum. He has responsibilities, as do I, which do not allow biased moderating. Although I do not think that there is any conflict of interest here, if there are further problems, William, feel free to PM me or e-mail me.

    Kind regards,

    HomoUniversalis
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  20. #19  
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
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    Thank you H.U.
    But there are no problems. I suspected that Oph could not, and would not 'boot' me. It was not right of me to make that statement.

    Oph sent me a PM. I have not responded to it, but I suspect a lot of what he said in that PM was appropriate (although it was a bit harsh - with a lot of 'bloodies' and such).

    Sometimes I can be an 'arse'hole. (Physicists are not really known for being 'people persons.')

    Oph,
    I do not know you,
    will probably never meet you in 'real life,'
    you are equivalent to being an infinite distance from my every-day workings,
    and your opinion of me wouldn't really affect me in any way,
    ...so with that in mind, I do hope you see the sincerity in my apology.
    I'm sorry this got out of hand. I take responsibility.

    Will you be kind enough to accept my apology?
    (Until next time that is....)

    But seriously, my apologies.

    Sincerely,
    william
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  21. #20  
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    Your gracious apology is unreservedly accepted.

    I would also apologise for the bloodies in the pm, but you should have seen how it read before I edited it. :wink:

    Regards
    Ophiolite
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  22. #21  
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    The only real degrees are science degrees, the rest are garbage. For example, you can get a business degree and work the exact same telemarketing gig you would have without it. Science degrees are real degrees and open doors. Do it!
    "I would as soon vomit over him as buy him a hamburger."-Ophiolite about Richard Dawkins

    Read my blog about my experiences defending science here!http://silkworm.wordpress.com/

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  23. #22  
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    My point is it's a degree that involves problem solving, team working and creativity. You don't HAVE to become a "scientist". I'm going to do a general course because I'm not sure what i want to do :P Viva la Science!!
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  24. #23 Re: I'm afraid of Majoring in Science. 
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnalogMan
    Science is what I'm good at. I find the memorization easy and am facinated by discussion of scientific theories (hence). However, I don't know how I would ever find a job or company where I could go to once I go in that direction. I hear all the time about Scientist working for private companies or the government.

    Well I'll get to the point. Could some of you re-assure me in a way that there are actual places to get a job?

    Depends on what branch of science you're aiming for..

    Life Sci is always in demand =) and guarantees a job right away. Not because I was told, but from what I've seen..
    Representing the Pigloo Tribe ^^
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