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Programs Aerospace Engineering or Physics?

  1. Mar 10, 2017 #1
    I'm planning on studying for 5 years. In general I like physics, literally all aspects of it. However I'm not sure if I should go for AE instead.

    Is studying AE is very limiting as opposed to the other engineering branches? (in terms of job opportunities in the aero field)

    I want to study any type of physics, the problem is that I'm not sure engineering would be right for me. I like the idea of studying AE, but not sure if I would be happy doing that. On the other hand I have physics, I absolutely love studying physics but I'm not sure a Master's would be enough for me to get a relevant job (research).

    In this case physics is the safest major, I know that I would enjoy it since I studied it last year at university. But I'm also considering AE, maybe I would like it more?

    Regarding AE I would rather like to get a job in the space industry (which seems unlikely), is this major too risky?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2017 #2
    If you go physics with plans of doing research, count on needing a PhD. In fact, I believe most engineering research positions also tend to be PhDs. You could go for a Physics undergrad and then go into a Masters engineering program, though I'd wager the reverse would be much more difficult.

    What do you want to do in the space industry? That might help people direct you considering just how vast that industry is.
  4. Mar 10, 2017 #3


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    My two cents:
    The aerospace industry is notoriously cyclical, but there are opportunities for people with Master degrees and a smart person can work his way into research eventually. Most Engineering masters degree programs would require a large number of engineering undergrad courses before being accepted. Research in physics would probably need a PhD and they are among the most difficult degrees to obtain.
  5. Mar 11, 2017 #4
    I like the idea of designing space intruments, basically objects that are meant to be in that hostile environment and function properly. Wouldn't a masters degree in this engineering help? Not sure there are PhD for that in my country.

    With normal physics I like literally everything, its just fun, that's why I assume it's the safer choice.
  6. Mar 11, 2017 #5
    AE is more about designing the fuselage, engines and general systems engineering. I think space instruments and other isolated, specialised exotic equipment are in fact often designed by physicists who've specialised in applied physics & instrumentation. The reason for this is that physicists are quite good at dealing with a completely novel problem and producing something workable.

    Anyway if you like physics I'd recommend just studying physics. You'll get many opportunities to pick courses that interest you and hence specialise in whatever direction you'd like. Also, it's quite common that kids out of HS have no idea what they really want to do, and physics keeps many doors open.
  7. Mar 11, 2017 #6
    Ok then, physics it is.
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