I have disappeared for a while, but it looks like I'm back in the game. Thanks to all for sharing your knowledge/wisdom, and congratulations to those who got accepted to good places!
I plan on applying for Applied Physics (AP) Ph.D. programs this year. This is because AP programs seem to be more interdisciplinary than just Physics, and since my current majors are Engineering Physics and Applied Math, I think my skills and interests fall in the AP realm. I currently don't plan on becoming a university professor, but rather I see myself working for government or private sector. However this can all change.
Regarding AP programs, I am unable to find a professor in my department that can help guide me to AP programs. The graduate head of my physics department has told me that a masters in physics is meaningless, and can probably hurt, as it is a "Scarlet Letter" of being a Ph.D. dropout. I will perform my own research, but basically I'm asking this for those who applied to (and attend) AP programs:
1) Are there other reasons to pursue AP (rather than Physics Ph.D. programs) other than the fact it is simply a more interdisciplinary field? The way I see it, the main difference between AP and Physics Ph.D. programs is that AP Ph.D. programs include subfields from engineering, applied math, and physics, as a Physics Ph.D. program would include only subfields in physics. Is this true?
2) After reading numerous posts, I see that a masters in AP isn't necessarily a bad thing like the Physics masters, and one can even apply to a Ph.D. program after a masters in AP. Is this opinion, or does someone have information about this?
3) I'm starting to perform my research in what schools I'm applying to. Sure, I'd like to get in some good/excellent programs, but I really need to see which AP programs are best for me. Has anyone done this for AP? If so, if you are willing to give any advice about AP programs across the USA then I (and hopefully others) would be greatly appreciated. (Like which subfields in AP are the best in what places, etc., or maybe which AP are best in general).
The thing that bothers me, is that I'm not exactly sure what subfield in AP I am really interested in. I have some ideas, but I'm not sure. It seems a lot of people are sure what subfield they are interested in, but some don't know (like me)...
Thank you kindly for your time in reading this post. I hope this post helps all those AP seekers in the future. I apologize if these questions are answered somewhere in forum, but I searched the forum and have been unable to find them to satisfy my desire of knowing.