Consulting gig on the side?

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wavicle
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Consulting gig on the side?

Postby wavicle » Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:18 am

Anyone do consulting related to their research on the side? After 1 year of research? After how many? I've been looking at the numbers. Some of the best schools, it seems deservedly so, are also some of the worse paying. But, what does that matter if you can supplement your stipend with up to $5 k wiping engineers' asses for them?

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midwestphysics
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Re: Consulting gig on the side?

Postby midwestphysics » Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:46 am

wavicle wrote:Anyone do consulting related to their research on the side? After 1 year of research? After how many? I've been looking at the numbers. Some of the best schools, it seems deservedly so, are also some of the worse paying. But, what does that matter if you can supplement your stipend with up to $5 k wiping engineers' asses for them?


Well there are a couple of hurdles in the way of that besides your normal workload being pretty demanding as it is. You need to look at the agreement you make with the school. I know for many that they stipulate that outside work, on anything but a rare occurrence, is not permitted as part of your contract. William and Mary for example...

"Outside Employment

The Physics Department considers acceptance of a stipend by a student to imply a full-time commitment to his/her research and teaching obligations. The intention of the Department is to keep to a minimum the number of years that a student spends pursuing an advanced degree. Thus with rare exception (for which the student must receive explicit approval of the Graduate Study Committee), paid employment outside the Department while the student holds a research or teaching stipend is not permitted."

Even if you do, it really depends on your field. Maybe medical physicists might be able to get some consulting related to their research, but I'm not sure particle physicists will find much opportunity. Besides, I'd image grad students would be low on the demand list for consultants, behind outside established experts, professors, post docs, etc.

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Andromeda
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Re: Consulting gig on the side?

Postby Andromeda » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:19 am

It's a very rare school that allows its students to do work outside of grad school- you frankly aren't going to have all that much time.

That said, I don't do consulting but do engage in some freelance science writing, which can pay a few hundred bucks for an article. This is technically in violation of my contract but my adviser and department are rather supportive of my writing habit, not least because I'm always careful to list what department I'm at.

bfollinprm
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Re: Consulting gig on the side?

Postby bfollinprm » Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:50 am

You wont have time to consult, whether or not it's allowed (which it isn't). The best ways to supplement income are undergraduate tutoring and the like. You should be able to get away with charging $30 an hour, which means 2 hrs/week is generally enough to move you from subsistence income to some spending money for weekends. It helps that you don't have a lot of time to spend your money.

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InquilineKea
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Re: Consulting gig on the side?

Postby InquilineKea » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:56 am

How much time does consulting usually take up anyways?

And do some people find consulting fun? Does it sort of work like advising someone else?

For the small chance that someone might have the answer - does it work differently in the geophysical sciences than for physics?

asdfuogh
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Re: Consulting gig on the side?

Postby asdfuogh » Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:38 pm

Yeah, my business friend was recommending consulting on the side, but I always wished I could write some decent sci-fi short stories for some chump change on the side. Where do you publish your stories? I've only looked at Analog and it seemed to be an okay deal. :) Also, I'd like to read some of your stories if you would like to provide some of the titles.

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Andromeda
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Re: Consulting gig on the side?

Postby Andromeda » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:56 am

asdfuogh wrote:Yeah, my business friend was recommending consulting on the side, but I always wished I could write some decent sci-fi short stories for some chump change on the side. Where do you publish your stories? I've only looked at Analog and it seemed to be an okay deal. :) Also, I'd like to read some of your stories if you would like to provide some of the titles.


Hey, not science fiction but rather science writing, as in for Astronomy and Sky and Telescope (the biggies I've worked with so far). Currently two feature-length articles are in the pipeline for both of those, but printed so far were two travel guides to astronomy sites in northern and southern California in the July and December 2011 issues, respectively... The Astronomy feature will show up this spring and the Sky and Telescope feature sometime after that ("feature" here refers to a long piece in the 1500-2000 word range, typically for a magazine like Astronomy you only have two of those a month and the rest are shorter articles probably in the 500 word range).

I've written a few sci-fi stories but haven't really done that angle, but my understanding from one or two friends who have published in that medium is it is way harder to break into as they get so many submissions (and, incidentally, doesn't pay anywhere near as well as science writing if that's your angle). The thing about science journalism is while it's rather competitive as well any person who is at the graduate level in science has a huge advantage just by having more knowledge and technical expertise- the problem often more is whether a scientist has the chops for writing and communication to go along with it.

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InquilineKea
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Re: Consulting gig on the side?

Postby InquilineKea » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:50 am

What about writing for sci-fi computer games? :D

I'm sure someone is going to make some story out of some of the newly discovered exoplanets. They'll provide some rich settings.




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