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Industrial Engineering/Physics Major

by k.roman
Tags: industrial, major
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k.roman
#1
Apr25-11, 09:46 PM
P: 4
I'm currently finishing my freshman year as an Industrial Engineering major at UM, but I find that my interest in Physics far surpasses my interest in IE.

I need to decide on a major very soon (as in before next semester) in order to not fall behind, so I've been coming up with the pros and cons of each major. My understanding is this:


for a Physics major,

Pros:
More interesting (so far, at least)
More science-based, which I enjoy
More broad than IE
More "idealistic view" (example: I'd love to study physical phenomena for a living, as opposed to working with spreadsheets)

Cons:
Master's/Doctorate degree will be necessary for good employment?
I already got a C+ in the first portion of University Physics, putting me at a disadvantage for grad school (though I currently have an A in the second portion)


for an IE major,

Pros:
More job security out of college
MIGHT become interesting over the next semesters (I did find AP Statistics in high school somewhat interesting)

Cons:
Less interesting so far
Coursework appears to be simpler
I don't want to work in a cubicle, plugging formulas into Excel spreadsheets, for a living



Based on this information, I've been trying to make a decision. One option that I have is to double major in Industrial Engineering AND Physics. Would this make any sense? Would I simply be left with the option of abandoning one of my majors after I receive my undergraduate degree, or could they be combined in some way? Thanks for any help.
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brom123
#2
May17-11, 12:36 AM
P: 2
Don't know if you're still checking this, but why not do both? I am currently an IE major and doing a certificate (my university's equivalent to a minor) in Physics. I, too, have found that Physics is more interesting than other IE coursework, which is the main reason I decided to do the certificate. Another reason being that I plan on taking a circuits class, and the company (Rockwell Automation) I am currently interning at (and hopefully will be working full time for when I graduate in a few years) makes many electrical products, and I wanted to have some background knowledge on how circuits and everything work so I can understand what the EEs are talking about. But I also agree that solely majoring in Physics will not have the greatest job outlook with only a BS. It's up to you, of course, but I am happy with my decision to major in IE and minor in Physics, and have recommended it to several of my IE friends.
k.roman
#3
May18-11, 12:47 PM
P: 4
Interesting. My options are still open; in fact, I currently have the option to decide between a math, physics, or economics minor along with my IE major. I've been reading around in order to figure out which will be most beneficial, but I haven't come up with anything conclusive yet.

ych22
#4
May19-11, 11:16 PM
P: 115
Industrial Engineering/Physics Major

IE is actually more broad-based than physics; because of its roots in math, stats, economics, computer science and even ergonomics and management.

Well, I was in your shoes as a sophomore, being an IE major who loved physics. Eventually I decided that physics could just be a part-time interest, and I have never regretted studying IE. The job prospects are definitely better, although they may not be as exciting as being a physicist? :)

As time past, I realised that my interest in stats, maths and comp science grew while my interest in physics declined. Probably because I was starting to see the practical value of math and stats in solving everyday IE problems. Cheers.
k.roman
#5
May22-11, 05:04 PM
P: 4
Okay, I sure hope I follow the same path as you, finding my interest in stats/math/comp science more important than physics. I just went and bought Steven Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" to read over the summer, just to satisfy my interest in the conceptual part of physics, even if it's somewhat outdated by now.

Based on your experience, would you say that an Economics or a Math minor would be more helpful to an IE major?
ych22
#6
May22-11, 09:04 PM
P: 115
Quote Quote by k.roman View Post
Okay, I sure hope I follow the same path as you, finding my interest in stats/math/comp science more important than physics. I just went and bought Steven Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" to read over the summer, just to satisfy my interest in the conceptual part of physics, even if it's somewhat outdated by now.

Based on your experience, would you say that an Economics or a Math minor would be more helpful to an IE major?
At my university we have to complete 6 general electives which I have so far completed 5:
1 statistics (Applied linear models)
2 math (discrete math + real analysis I)
1 physics (sophomore-level electrcity and magnetism)
1 general engineering elective.

For my last general elective, I will probably choose either sophomore-level "mathematical statistics" from stats department or junior-level "design and analysis of algorithms" from CS department. Maybe freshmen-level "intro to economics" as a last resort.

I think one of the great things as an IE major is that you can have many diverse interests and get away with it! However I cannot qualify for a minor because my electives are scattered across a few disciplines hehe :)

I think you should pick the minor that you are more personally interested in. All things equal, you should pick a math minor if you plan to go on to graduate school, maybe econs otherwise. Is your IE department rooted in Mech Eng like Purdue's? Or more "modern" like GaTech?
Pyrrhus
#7
May22-11, 09:38 PM
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Do you like physics or math? sometimes it's hard to separate both.

If its math then IE is a good choice, especially if you also love computer programming. IE devotes a lot of time optimization, and also stochastic modeling. Thus, the math is interesting (variational inequalities, control theory, multilevel programming, random process...), and it also devotes time to coding algorithms to numerically solve these problems.
k.roman
#8
May23-11, 12:33 PM
P: 4
ych22, your system sounds very different than mine; we have quite a strict class schedule to follow for our majors. I'm just finishing Freshman year, so I haven't necessarily decided whether or not I plan on going to graduate school, but I think my IE department might be more similar to GaTech's because I am under the "Management" track (as opposed to "Manufacturing") which involves more systems designing as opposed to robotics and machinery.

Pyrrhus, the most interesting part to me is the conceptual part of physics; I enjoy math, but only as a tool to help me in my freshman and sophomore year IE/physics classes.
ych22
#9
May24-11, 12:25 AM
P: 115
Fair enough. At my school our schedules are flexible, conditioning on prerequisite classes being fulfilled. We're also pretty similar to GaTech.


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