Physics Major

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by MIHOSER, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. MIHOSER

    MIHOSER Member

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    Plebe son told us he plans to major in physics. What career path does that lead too? Something nuclear?
     
  2. popeyesmom

    popeyesmom Member

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    Major has little to do with career path. Anyone can choose or be chosen for nuclear.
     
  3. SteveHolt243

    SteveHolt243 Member

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    He has a few options

    Naval Aviation
    One of the other things Naval officers do
     
  4. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    As noted, virtually no connect between major academics and professional community, with some exceptions. Generally, USMC matriculants are most often bull majors. Med school appointees are all chem. Nukes are predominantly division 1 and to lesser degree 2 majors. Not many English or history majors going nukes. Beyond that, it's a virtual crap shoot. To the degree he does well as a budding physicist, he may well become a budding submariner.
     
  5. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Yes . . . and no.

    The CNO has mandated that 2/3 of mids entering the USN must have technical majors. USMC doesn't care. And, history has shown (no pun intended) that history majors are more likely to make a career of the military (USN/USMC, at least) vs. any other major at USNA. (The source for this is USNA Admissions, so don't jump all over me:smile:).

    Med school applicants can also major in Oceanography. The key is getting Organic which is a 3-6-5 course (9 hours in class/lab for 5 hrs credit). Thus, unless you've validated a LOT of hours and/or have Organic as part of your major (Chem and OceanO do), it's not going to work b/c you don't have the time in your schedule to get that course and the others you need for med school.

    It is true that most nukes are Group 1 or 2. Physics is very useful for nukes. I do know of some bull majors that went on to very successful careers as submariners (including 2 COs). But it is much more difficult -- you have to demonstrate the ability to handle the hardcore science.

    As a general rule, your major is irrelevant to your service selection. As noted above, there are a few variations on that "general" rule.
     
  6. hopefulparent

    hopefulparent Member

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    Pardon my ignorance, but what does "Group 1 or 2" refer to, and what are "bull majors"?
     
  7. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Group 1 are the engineering majors -- aero, mech, elec, systems, ocean, marine, general

    Group 2 are the science/math majors -- chem, math, oceanography, physics, etc.

    Group 3 (aka the "bull" majors) are the non-techncial majors -- English, history, poly sci, econ. I assume Chinese and Arabic are also considered bull majors, but they didn't exist in my day so . . .
     
  8. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Excellent comments above.

    We had a sponsor son who really liked Physics, so he majored in it. He wanted Marine ground from Day 1 and went that way. We had a sponsor son who was bound and determined to be a Navy test pilot and astronaut, arrived at USNA with not just a pilot's license but most of the higher ratings, majored in aero, got dq'ed for air during 2/C year and is now a submariner and happy in his new path. He easily adapted to flying underwater. His major prepared him well for the rigors of Nuclear Power School and Submarine School.

    Since everyone receives a high-quality B.S. that theoretically equips them for anything USN or USMC have in mind for them, majoring in something intellectually challenging and enjoyable is a key part of the choice.

    For MIHOSER, choosing Physics, if it's what your son wants and enjoys, great. All career paths will be open to him if he makes the cut.
     
  9. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    ditto Capt MJ on the great info here. did not know of the oceanography option for med school.

    Now to a key issue ...the 2/3 "mandate." That's been in effect now for 3 years. How's it being driven? How's it measuring up?

    I'm told by Mids that came down (for the class of '11 first) and there has been absolutely no apparent evidence of it being force-fed, enforced, or even discussed. In fact, several have said with the push for diversity, bull majors have increased and there is no desire to balance that to ensure there are equal representation among the Mids that they might reflect the fleet.

    Any insights about this? Myth, wishful thinking, reality?
     
  10. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I agree with that. It has little to nothing to do with your service "selection" assignment.

    However, your academic background can possibly determine subsequent assignments.

    I majored in Aerospace Engineering as a midshipman and went Navy Air. I didn't get Navy Air because I majored in Aerospace Engineering, however. Back in our day, anybody who qualified pretty much got to fly - even the English and Political Science majors. If a midshipman had 20/20 uncorrected vision and passed the AQT/FAR exam (aviation aptitude) - he was going to flight school. We didn't have the extensive interview/evaluation process to which current midshipmen are subjected.

    However!

    As the end of my obligated service came, I was enticed with assignments that did take my background into account. At the time, the Navy was really hurting to retain aviators as nearly all the airlines were in a hiring frenzy. They were going through your records and trying to find some "hook" that might interest you.

    For instance, I was asked if I would like to be considered for assignment to Naval Air Patuxent River for Test Pilot School. Being an Aero major was a factor.

    Also, since I could speak Russian, I was asked if I would consider assignment to the U.S. Embassy in the Soviet Union as an aide. (mid 80's) The fact that I could speak Russian was documented in my officer records as a result of validation exams taken at the Naval Academy when I was a Plebe and proficiency exams taken prior to graduation. [My wife would've hated that assignment!]

    Their "tricks" didn't work, though. :smile:
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2010
  11. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    Without a doubt. Anyone who makes the Navy a career should, by the end of their initial sea tour, begin looking for a secondary career path. The top few will be operational all the way through flag rank. The remainder will defer into a niche somewhere and their secondary career will become their primary career. One of these is systems evaluation and procurement, working with Navy engineers and civilian contractors. It is also a very lucraticve retirement career. I have always held that those with engineering degrees will do better at these NavAir, NavSea, or NavSub jobs. This is why the requirement for Group 1 and Group 2 majors.
     

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