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Offline Jd1828

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Is grad school worth it?
« on: April 04, 2005, 09:46:55 PM »
Im about to register for next years classes.  Im just about done with a BS in Chem.  I just have a year of physical and inorganic left.  Im not sure that I want to be done with school and have been thinking about going to grad school.  My school doesnt have a PhD program so I would be going for a masters.  I just want to know if it is worth doing.  Chances are good that if I got a masters I would go to another school to get the PhD.  


Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re:Is grad school worth it?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2005, 11:04:40 PM »
what is your source of motivation: monetary gain, loves research, enjoy teaching at university?

One of my postgraduate tutor loves teaching. He finds it a fulfilling job that he decided to pursue a PhD so that he may become a university academic, to teach undergraduates.

I have a friend who is doing his chem eng PhD now because during the year he completed his undergraduate degree, all the major oil companies weren't recruiting. He had a first class honours in chemical engineering FYI.

I havent met anyone who wants to do a PhD because he wants to be scientist. Perhaps you are the first. It's your calling whether you want to do a MS in Chemistry. There's always other attractive options such as pharmacy or MBA or a graduate chemical engineering degree. Nowadays, pharmatical manufacturing requires engineers with specialised chemistry knowledge and vice versa.

What is the question you are asking yourself:
(1) Do I want to go grad school? OR
(2) Do I want to do a Master in Chemistry?

PS: If you wonder why I quote all chem eng examples.. I study chemical engineering
« Last Edit: April 04, 2005, 11:06:08 PM by geodome »
"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

Offline Jd1828

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Re:Is grad school worth it?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2005, 11:51:31 PM »
After looking around a little for jobs I found that a BS doesnt get you very far.  I also love to do research.  I use to be a ChE major but just decided one day that I was sick of it.  There was almost no enphasis on research in the ChE program here.  I was all about  applying what you learn to the real thing.  Which I guess is good and also why our grads get paid so much.  

If it was up to me I would go right into a PhD school but I know my grades are not good enough (thanks to engineering classes).   I remember a few years ago when I had a intern as a ChE.  I worked with a engineer who told me that grad school is a waste of time, at least for engineers.  

I just want to know what can I do with a phd/masters that I couldnt with a BS?
« Last Edit: April 04, 2005, 11:53:27 PM by Jd1828 »

Offline hmx9123

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Re:Is grad school worth it?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2005, 05:36:42 AM »
Grad school for chem is very different than for chem E.  Engineers don't need grad school to go out into the work force.  A BS chemist doesn't either, but can expect to earn less and not really be involved in much research, especially the higher-up project design.  If you have a PhD, you are much more likely to be involved in the research planning, and also execution.

As a friend once told me:
A BS chemist will do one process all day long.
A MS chemist will run the same machine all day long.
A PhD tells the BS and MS what to do.

That's a little cynical and supposed to be humorous, but you've got a lot more job opportunities with a PhD in chemistry.  Ironically, if you have a higher degree in chem E, you've got less job opportunities, as you are mostly employable in academics.

I will not kid you either, if you go to a grad school for chemistry, it will not be easy.  If your school is worth its salt, it is one of the hardest PhD programs out there.

I would also warn you about P-Chem, but it seems though you might be ready for it if you were a Chem E--it's a lot of math.  Evil math.  Best of luck.

Offline Jd1828

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Re:Is grad school worth it?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2005, 09:57:59 AM »
Yeah, I have heard all about the horrors of Pchem.  I was actually about a month into the ChE thermodynamics class when I changed majors.   It was a very tough class.  

I found out that I can start taking some of the grad school classes right now.  Im not sure if its a good idea but Im going to see what my advisor has to say about it.  It means that I would be taking Pchem and advanced organc chem next semester.  Might be too hard.

Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re:Is grad school worth it?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2005, 12:06:15 PM »
jd1828, you must be kidding. I love my ChE thermodynamics class. It's the most interesting subject (although I must say it is very mathematical). My ChE department is very research-focused and surprisingly most of the staff here are not PhD chemical engineers but physical chemists.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2005, 12:10:48 PM by geodome »
"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

Offline hmx9123

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Re:Is grad school worth it?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2005, 03:32:18 PM »
Geodome, you're a ChemE.  Of course you'd like thermo.  I'm a chemist.  I hate it. :)

Offline Jd1828

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Re:Is grad school worth it?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2005, 04:23:02 PM »
Geodome, you're a ChemE.  Of course you'd like thermo.  I'm a chemist.  I hate it. :)

Its funny that I was actually sitting in that thermo class when I decided that I didnt want to be a ChE anymore.   I realized that I hate this class and need to do anything I can to avoid taking it.  

It really wasnt that bad of a class it was more the bad the prof.  I have had some boring teachers but this guy made my brain go numb.  

Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re:Is grad school worth it?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2005, 07:03:41 PM »
i think the nuclear technology field is a very promising field to enter. There's alot of interest and curiousity in the effect of extreme radiation on the nuclear reactor materials and their chemical properties.
"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

Offline movies

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Re:Is grad school worth it?
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2005, 08:29:16 PM »
BTW, a lot of chem grad schools don't offer an MS program.  You have to at least apply as a PhD student, although you can usually leave after a year or two with an MS.

Also, your overall grades don't matter all that much when applying to grad school as long as you did well in your major subject.  It's certainly helpful to have good grades all around, but definitely not imperitive.

gravenewworld

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Re:Is grad school worth it?
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2005, 12:45:11 AM »
I know this was posted a long time ago, but I am new to the board and I feel as though this thread will always have some use no matter how old it is.  I currently have a job doing medicinal chemistry work at a pharmaceutical company and only have (or will have in about 2 weeks) a BS.  From my experience, if you want to work in industry I would highly recommend that you don't get a PHD.  It is much much more difficult to get a job in industry if you have a PHD. There are simply way too many people with phds vs. job spots.  If you want to work in industry a BS will be good enough to get you through the door.  It is true, MAs will get you more income.  Getting a MA is probably the best option if you want to do nonacademic work.  Companies higher mostly people with Masters and a good amount of experience.  Get your phd, if you love the subject.  By getting a phd vs. say a masters you will be forfeiting anywhere from 2-4 years of Income only to earn say 10,000 more per year than a person with a masters (thats assuming you are lucky enough to find a job with a phd).  A phd is for a person who will likely be involved in academics.  Ask yourself is it really worth the hassle to get a phd?  It has to be something you really really want to do.  Also, depending on what field you get your phd jobs in industry may be easier or harder to find. Jobs are a lot easier to find for a phd specializing in organic and analytical chem than for a phd specializing in physical chem.  

Offline hmx9123

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Re:Is grad school worth it?
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2005, 03:39:37 AM »
I agree with your statement that says to make sure you really really want a PhD, but I disagree a little with your statement that it's harder to get a job with a PhD in chemistry than a BS.  While your specific field, medicinal chemistry, that may be true, when you look at synthetic chemistry jobs, that's not the case.  I can't speak to physical chemistry, biochem, physics, or medicinal chemistry, but if you take a look through Chemical and Engineering News, almost all the job opportunities are for those with a PhD and experience.  That's hard to come by.  Academia of course requires a PhD, but industry likes them a lot, too.  Again, this is very specific to the field.  There's a huge difference between ChemE, biochem, and synthetic chemistry, I know for sure.  I have worked for three different companies through internships, etc., and all of them told me that it's easier to get hired if you have a PhD--it's what the look for.  It is one of the major reasons that I'm getting a PhD.  Also, if you want a government job at a national lab, you better have a PhD.  They used to hire a lot more BS and MS chemists, but they're headed toward the all PhD route.  Anyway, those people that I know leaving with a PhD are getting good jobs, many in pharmaceuticals and consulting, and few have trouble finding a job.  Conversely, almost all those that I went to undergrad with who left with a BS have been unable to find a job in industry.  Several of them I know wound up working the food service industry at my old dorm because the pay was better.

Offline constant thinker

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Re:Is grad school worth it?
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2005, 09:34:58 PM »
I'm glad this post came back to the top. I'm really lost as to what I want to do in my life. I'm somewhere between pharmaceutical (research) and computer science (research  also). I enjoy teaching people who understand things. Some people just aren't meant to go into the advanced things or just can't learn well. I've learnt so much from this site.

From this post though I'm hoping that grades aren't going to be extremely important to go for a MS or PhD. If I get a boring teacher I do bad in the class usually. I also need to be hands on person usually. If I'm not kept entertained by something I move on extremely fast.

I have a question for poeple in/have been through college. Do you have to take English in college? If you do I'm going to die. That is such a boring class no matter what for me.
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gravenewworld

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Re:Is grad school worth it?
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2005, 12:10:46 PM »
You should read this article by Katz (physicist) about pursuing advanced degrees in science.  http://wuphys.wustl.edu/~katz/scientist.html  Pretty much everything he said is true, no matter how many people don't want to believe it.  


Quote
I'm somewhere between pharmaceutical (research) and computer science (research  also).

Try doing some computational chemistry.  Computational chem is starting to become huge in the pharm industry.  

Chrataxe

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Re:Is grad school worth it?
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2005, 08:50:55 AM »

I have a question for poeple in/have been through college. Do you have to take English in college? If you do I'm going to die. That is such a boring class no matter what for me.

Indeed you will have to take English...most likely 6 hrs of English and 6 hrs of lit.  But seriously, don't get discouraged by that.  Think about the big picture of most gen ed....its stuff you have done a thousand times.  No matter what history you take (elementary, Jr High, HS, college), Lincoln is still the 16th president...and son.  Same with English...a person is still a noun.  You will just do stuff you have already done a thousand times before...nothing new.

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