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After BSc Physics? (Master of applied math, CS, engineering)

  1. Nov 2, 2015 #1
    Hello everyone. Currently I am studying for BSc. Physics in Leipzig, Germany and serious considering to change into some other fields for master. Now I am considering three possibilities: Master of engineering, computer science or applied mathematics.
    I have searched quite many information about master of engineering without a corresponding bachelor degree. It appears to me that many of master programs in engineering are not accepting such students even for physics students, since the entry requirements often specify that the applicants must have already studied some engineering courses like designs, etc. that are not related to physics. And it's also not possible for ones who only owns a master of engineering degree to be a practicing engineer right?
    I don't know much about applied math and computer science masters, and are they really accessible to physics bachelor graduates. I would like to know more about it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 2, 2015 #2


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    I can only comment on the master of applied mathematics. Here are some factors to consider:
    • What exactly is "applied mathematics" depends a lot on the person you are speaking with, and the country in which you are based. It can range from being abstract, rigorous and proof-oriented all the way towards very concrete, rather sloppy and almost empirical with everything in between. Although it is my impression that in Germany most applied mathematics leans more towards the first style, I would still inquire about this if I were you, to see how well it fits your personal tastes.

    • How much freedom is there in the master program to choose your own curriculum, of course in consultation with your master adviser? This is also important in view of the first point.

    • Do you already have an idea of the application area of interest? Should it be close to physics (e.g. applied analysis and PDE) or are you looking for something rather different (e.g. discrete mathematics)? Not all universities are equally strong in all sub-disciplines. It is important to take the time to look around, browse through faculty bios and publication lists, talk with former students.

    • In view of the third point, you should perhaps consider whether you have deficiencies that need to be addressed before you start the master. For example, when you decide for a program centered around applied analysis, one might assume that you already took undergraduate courses on e.g. functional analysis and advanced differential equations. Possibly you can use some of your space for elective courses in the bachelor to cope with these gaps.
    I probably forgot some things, too, but these are the first matters that came up.
  4. Nov 2, 2015 #3


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    If you are interested in Applied Math or Computer Science, you might also want to look for schools with computational physics programs. These are likely going to be more open to physics undergrads, but will focus on the same core skill set.
  5. Nov 6, 2015 #4
    Thank you for your answers. Actually I am still not sure about which fields should I go for by now, that's why I would like to inquire for more information. But it seems to me that in undergraduate physics, the math tends to be less rigorous and abstract, so if I would go for applied maths, maybe it would require less amount of work in the transition when it's "more applied".
    About computational physics program, I guess it is more tilted to applied maths, I'm not sure whether it's related to CS. And it seems that there are very few schools providing MSc./MPhil. in computational physics.
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