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What to study in grad school?


kindakonfused

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So, as the title probably implies, I'm not sure what to do with myself at this point. I'm a junior double majoring in math and digital media production with a minor in psych. I thought for a while that I wanted to be a math professor. I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point I lost the will to put time into math anymore. I think math is interesting, but I hate the work associated with higher level math courses, especially anything analysis-related.

With that being the case, I feel like going to math grad school is out of the picture -- I think I lack the drive to make it there. I know I want to teach, and I don't want to have to deal with students younger than college age. I know I don't want to go into Digital Media...I just did that because video production is pretty fun. That leaves going to grad school for psych? I'm only minoring in that though...

I don't care about research at all, really I just want to teach undergrads in college. Any thoughts/ideas/etc? I'm a little lost, and any guidance would be helpful.

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I don't know how your school works, but if you're really interested in psych, perhaps you can change your major? In any case, I think you need to try to find what you're really passionate about, rather than just having a vague notion that you want to teach. After all, you do have to actually teach something.

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If all you want to do is teach (especially at a 4 year school), you don't necessarily need a PhD- you could get an instructor level position with a MS. This is especially common in Math, it seems like- and I know at least ULL (I see you're in Louisiana) recruits quite a few teachers with masters to cover all the lower level (Calc 1 and below) courses.

Psychology is going to be a lot more competitive- both to get into grad school, and to find a position to teach. You're going to need to finish up a psych degree, and then do a PhD, and then probably do at least one post-doc before you'll find a teaching position.

I think the big question is what are you interested in teaching? If you're passionate about something, it's doable... But teaching the same courses over and over each year, you'll need to really enjoy the subject material to keep going. Not to mention the 6-10 years before you even start teaching.

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I think the big question is what are you interested in teaching? If you're passionate about something, it's doable...

This is a great point! Applying to graduate school can be expensive and exhausting. You will need motivation to make it through! And as a former psychology major undergrad and a soon to be psych PhD student, I can tell you that it is very competitive. I've had good friends with good applications not get accepted the first time around.

For psych, I can't imagine that you could get around research completely. But if you're not a fan of research, I would say get an MA first. I know there are some psychology instructors at the local community college with Masters degrees.

You're very wise to be aware that research is not for you. Being aware of that is a very positive step! So by all means, find what you love, and settle for nothing less!

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usually community colleges have teachers with just a Masters. Most 4-yr universities that I know require a PhD.

as posters mentioned above, you need to teach something if you are a teacher. If you aren't into math anymore, not so keen on Psych, don't want to teach Digital media, then what will you be teaching people. I think you need to passionate about whatever you are teaching in order to be a 'good' teacher. Maybe take some more undergrad courses in different subjects to see if anything truly interests you.

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Thanks all, some very useful info here!

Question -- Is it a possible to land a full-time professorship (not just being an instructor or TA) with just a masters? If this isn't possible at a four-year university, would it be possible at a community college?

It is my understanding that even at a community college, you will still be an instructor. Maybe a tenured instructor, but an instructor nonetheless. A professor will likely require a PhD.

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Let's not sugarcoat it... The backlog in many fields of desperate, unemployed PhDs means it is becoming increasingly hard to get a job even at a CC with just a Master's degree. You will be competing for those jobs with many PhDs. Graduate school, even at the MA level, requires a deep, intellectual dedication to your field (and sub-field). It's not like getting a BA. If you're not sure what you would want to go to graduate school to study, then you're not ready for graduate school. Of course, that doesn't mean you'll never be ready. You just need to figure out what it is you want to do and then begin putting yourself in the best position possible to do that. I agree with the poster above... You're best bet is to take some time off after your BA to try out different things.

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