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Physics Aeronautics from a physics degree

  1. Mar 10, 2009 #1
    Hi everyone,

    I'm studying for an MSc in physics at the moment, in the UK and I have two more years to run on the course.

    However, I don't want to stay in physics when I graduate, and I'm thinking of trying to work in aeronautics.

    How easy is it to move from physics to aeronautics? If I need to study for, say, a masters in aeronautics or engineering science then can I get government funding for that (remember, I'm in the UK...)?

    What kind of work could I do in aeronautics with a physics degree?

    Also, say five, ten years down the line, how important is it what degree I have? If I can gain experience working in aeronautics with a physics degree will that qualify me for more aeronautical work?

    Finally, knowing that I would like to work in aeronautics, what kind of things could I be doing now to help with that?

    Last edited: Mar 10, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2009 #2


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    Er... back up a bit. It appears from your post that you have almost no clue what "aeronautics" is. So what made you think that this is what you want to do? How did you pick it?

  4. Mar 10, 2009 #3
    Okay, badly put I guess.

    I know aeronautical engineering is working with aircraft, designing components, etc.

    I was just wondering a bit more of the detail, i.e. whether they specialise in one area, like propulsion, and would stick with that their whole career.
  5. Mar 11, 2009 #4
    I'm pretty sure you would need an engineering degree (masters or Ph.D) to do the type of stuff you're interested in. Physics won't qualify you to do much in the aerospace realm, but it is a good foundation if you want to get a graduate degree in aerospace or mechanical engineering. It would probably be best to get an AE or ME degree for regular "aerospace" work. Electrical engineers also seem to be in high demand in the aerospace industry.

    I'm working on a masters in aerospace engineering, and my undergraduate degree is in physics. At my university, AE is divided into the subfields of structural design, aerodynamics/fluid dynamics, flight mechanics, and propulsion. Most of the professors seem to have stuck with the same subfield their entire career, but I'm sure there are exceptions. Keep in mind that aerospace is a highly interdisciplinary subject. Pretty much everything is interrelated.
  6. Mar 11, 2009 #5
    What specific area of physics are you currently studying? I'm sure many places have research for people in the trans/super/hyper - sonic flow research and development areas that might be well suited for a physicist.
  7. Mar 16, 2009 #6
    Hi Topher,

    Physics is a great background/springboard for aeronautical engineering or electrical engineering.
    It depends a lot on your interests but I would say you should have no trouble getting into an
    Aeronautical Masters program. The undergraduate in Physics just aids in your understanding of the
    fundamentals. Be prepared however to do a lot of self learning of the basics of engineering if
    you want to work in industry. That's OK as most engineering grads have much to learn when
    they start.

    Best of luck,
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2009
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