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Engineering About switching majors to Engineering Physics

  1. Dec 11, 2011 #1
    Hi there!

    I'm a 24 years old Junior in Aerospace Engineering at a respectable public university in the US. I have not taken many upper-level classes yet, mostly pre-reqs and core classes. Lately I have become increasingly disenchanted with my major, the main reason being that I feel that I'm not learning enough in classes. I don't want to sound arrogant by saying this, what I mean is that when learning something most of the time we would be presented with the final result and how to apply it, but we fall short of understanding where it comes from or how to get to it. I also happen to love Physics and I have a burning need to learn more and more of it, more than what I'm being taught. I think I feel this way because I had the wrong expectations about my major and have just discovered this. Therefore I have decided to apply to a top US school, to their Engineering Physics program. I think this is a very good compromise that will give me maximum exposure to advanced physics subjects while at the same time keeping a connection with engineering.

    This is all new terrain for me since I never considered a career in Physics before and where advice from more experienced people will come in handy. One of my main gripes is my age: will it matter that I'm 24 years old and behind everyone else, or should I just finish my undergrad and then pursue a graduate degree in physics? After reading ZapperZ's "Do you want to be a Physicist" guide I feel that just finishing my present major will leave me with some important knowledge gaps that I would have to fill later, by myself possibly, but I'm not sure about this.

    I have also read that Engineering Physics majors are not ABET accredited and I'm not sure how this will impact me in the future. Supposing I decide to pursue a career in Physics after my Engineering Physics undergrad, will this matter much? Or is it more important if I decide to go instead into engineering?

    I realize switching over to Physics implies a completely different graduate track and that the job field and opportunities also change, I have thought about it and it is not a problem. What is really a problem for me is that I'm not happy with what I am studying right now. I don't make my career choices based on how much money I will make in the future, since I already had a good paying job as a programmer and ended up hating it, convincing me to look for higher satisfaction instead of bigger compensation.

    At last, if you feel that you have any piece of wisdom that you feel is of use in my situation, please share it!! I will deeply appreciate it. Best regards and thanks in advance!!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 11, 2011 #2
    Welcome to PF.

    From your post it sounds like you want to change to Engineering Physics.

    So I would suggest moving toward this. But I would first take a good look at the courses you have completed and required courses for an Engineering Physics degree and see if (and how long) it may delay your graduation. If it delays it, make your you have the means to complete the extra courses.
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