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Added value of an engineering BSc for a phycisist

  1. May 12, 2010 #1
    I am currently in the 2nd year of an Aerospace Engineering BSc, but have become so disappointed with the study that I am considering quitting and doing what I had strongly considered two years ago, physics. It is mainly the engineering mentality that bothered me, i.e. how do we apply it, how it works is irrelevant beyond basics. This was less noticable in the first year due to more math subjects, but now that they have all have to make room for more engineering subjects, it has began to bother me quite a lot, to an extent that I have very little motivation to study for my exams, and have not bothered with classes at all the last few months.

    My question now is whether it would be worthwhile to continue for another year and a half to finish my BSc. From what I've read here physics appears to be a fairly "fragile" degree in a sense that jobs are scarce and competitive. I guess it also depend on what you would want to do. In any case I would want to do some sort of research, definitely no finance or a random job for which any scientific BSc will suffice. Will I be more hireable with an additional degree?

    The only thing positive about next year is that I would be able to do a physics minor, which offers an introduction to basically everything, and takes about 6 months; meaning I only need to worry about engineering in the six following months. But then I do lose a year, another 8000 euro and I will be 22 when I start with physics.

    I guess my fear is that I will end up having a really difficult time of finding a proper job, or being stuck with a crappy one forever.

    Any advice is appreciated, thanks.
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. May 12, 2010 #2
    I actually met a guy who was a mechanical engineer who switched to physics for the very reasons you mentioned. I'm not sure about the european situation, but in America you can still find some physics related work with just a BSc, its not impossible but it is very difficult. Your best bet would be to get a masters/PHD in Physics.

    My recommendation would be for you to take some physics courses, and see how you like the upper year physics lab courses and if you like the research, you could consider getting a masters/PHD in the field.
  4. May 13, 2010 #3
    Thanks for your reply! I have probably been unclear though, what I meant was that I would definitely pursue a physics BSc (but probably try to do it in 2 years instead of 3), but my dilemma is whether I should do the effort do finish an engineering BSc. I mean, it would take quite some effort, but would it be helpful to have for future job applications as a physicist? The alternative is like you say, only do a few physics classes to see how they are, and continue with the AE degree at the same time. But then I still lose the year, albeit with a few physics course exempts here and there. I don't know - I'm currently leaning towards finishing the degree, but it would be helpful to hear from someone with some experience on this matter.
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