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ADVICE: Physics or Engineering?

  1. Nov 30, 2012 #1
    I am currently in my last year of highschool, and I'm kind of torn between going on to study physics or engineering (more specifically electrical engineering) in university.

    Also if I choose to study engineering in university I understand that it requires Grade 12 chemistry and as of now my chemistry grade is lower than my earth and space grade (which I could switch out for chemistry, if I choose to study physics instead).

    Any suggestions or advice for me is much appreciated!
    So will it be physics or engineerings? THANKS! :D

    And sorry if this is the wrong section to ask this question :P
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 30, 2012 #2
    Universities don't necessarily require chemistry, but rather units of sciences classes (typical in the US). Regardless, chemistry is essential for most physical sciences in one way or another.

    I think you still have plently of time to determine your major without any significant consequences (that is, losing time and money for a change of major).

    There's not much to help you narrow the choices down other than browsing the web. Go on youtube and watch physics videos or people building robots. Just know that although you pick one, you still have the luxury of taking electives from the other.

    My case. When I was a high school sophomore, I was torn between mathematics and EE. It took me until I graduated to decide on CompEE (basically EE with emphasis on computer parts). What ultimately made the decision was researching digital logics and microprocessor components on the web. Still, Im dedicating at most 1 math course per semester since math still fascinates me. Tough my focus is engineering.
  4. Nov 30, 2012 #3
    THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT and sharing your experience! I really appreciate it! No one has answered me thus far for the entire night!

    But I did some research online and it says that to get into EE chemistry is required... And of course I'm going to continue studying chemistry, although if I could avoid using this mark, it would be the best atleast for now.

    Although my teachers tell me to go into physics first and branch off after that, because it's more general... So I'm really unsure and nervous right now, and university applications are coming up!
  5. Nov 30, 2012 #4
    you don't have to worry too much. i was in your position a few weeks ago but talked to some people and got some great advice.

    take both physics and engineering courses and see what you like more. you definetly do not have to declare your major right now. they do not expect you to either.

    as for the chemistry. i know in canada i have to take first year chem in both physics and engineering
  6. Nov 30, 2012 #5
    I'm schooling in Canada as well!

    But what I mean by chem course i meant my grade 12 chem mark isn't quite up to par yet so, i'm not sure if i should use it to apply to uni!

    But also no doubt I'm not going to give up on it either!

    and again thanks for the advice and time!
  7. Nov 30, 2012 #6
    oh nice where are you thinking of going?

    my bad i'm on my phone so the worlds are a little small. you still have time to get your mark up! don't stress too much :)
  8. Nov 30, 2012 #7
    Anywhere that would accept me! haha
    U of T, Wloo, Queens, McMaster, Ryerson, Ottawa, and Western are the schools i'm going to apply to

    Haha trying not to but it's kind of hard when everyone around is stressing as much as you are! And the pressure is adding on! xP
  9. Nov 30, 2012 #8
    ohh i see. i'm in from the west. so SFU and UBC for me. most likely SFU because i like the school a lot more. yes i agree it is stressful but very exciting.

    best of luck to you!
  10. Nov 30, 2012 #9
    Good luck to you too!

    And thanks for the advice and time! i really appreciate it!!!
  11. Dec 1, 2012 #10
    I was in a similar situation and decided to start out in engineering. I would suggest doing the same if you aren't sure because you will often take a couple of engineering courses in your first year along with the same math/physics/chem sequence that physics majors take. This way you get to try out both and won't be behind if you decide to switch over to physics. With a year under your belt you'll have a much better idea about where your interests are and maybe even your career plans. Also, some universities have the option for EE/physics double major without any delay of graduation so this may be a good option. I ended up switching over to physics after my first year without any problems.
    Good luck!
  12. Dec 1, 2012 #11
    I’d expect engineering is much more likely to help you with your career in the future. My background in physics, Ph.D. string theory/general relativity, has not done anything to help me in my career (software development). I don’t regret studying physics because I really enjoyed it. If I had been torn between physics and anything else I’d probably regret not doing the other thing. For what it’s worth that’s my perspective.
  13. Dec 4, 2012 #12
    I have to throw in my 2 cents and suggest engineering. However, everyone here is right. The first year will see mostly the same courses anyway, and you'll have plenty of time to decide later, after meeting the professors, the students, seeing the facilities, etc.

    Sometimes you can combine them. I'm a geophysicist and my undergrad degree was in Geophysical Engineering.

    If you go to UBC watch out for those geophysics types. (Kidding. My old college roommate is faculty there now)
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