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Any of you B.S. Physics guys go the engineering graduate route?

  1. Sep 24, 2010 #1
    A few of my university friends are probably going that route. I'm keeping my graduate options open, so I'm considering a myriad of things.

    M.A./M.S. Physical Sciences
    M.A./M.S. Physics
    M.A./M.S. Applied Physics
    Professional Science Masters (PSM) Physics

    or some sort engineering graduate

    For the B.S. Physics guys who went the engineering route, what was the transition like? Is engineering "easier"? Of course, a lot of that depends on which engineering specialty.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2010 #2
    I want to know how common this is and that if you do get accepted into an engr. grad. do you have to have some knowledge or taken at least some courses in engineering? Will they make you take a lot of engr. courses before you even start a thesis?
  4. Sep 25, 2010 #3
    In most cases you have to take the undergrad prerequisites to graduate engineering courses.
  5. Sep 25, 2010 #4
    speaking as an EE undergrad I think a physics major would do pretty well in an EE type program, they completely trump EE's in their analysis of electromagnetism (given their very heavy 2 semester course in the subject vs the EE's light 1 semester version), their varied backgrounds in all kinds of physics would make them good for control theory and any area of applied math the ee might specialize on (like signals) and their knowledge of quantum mechanics are good for materials and solid-state devices as well, where the engineering undergrad trumps the physics undergrad is actually working with and analyzing the hardware plus doing labs and building things with it but I think it would depend on what you want to do in engineering with your physics background.
  6. Sep 25, 2010 #5
    One of my friends is planning on getting into a graduate EE program. He's a smart guy, but he says he's learned by majoring in physics that he doesn't want to do physics.
  7. Sep 25, 2010 #6
    could the OP just take some EE hardware classes (like network analysis/circuits?) has their physics electives? it seems the core physics/ee wouldnt be problematic....
  8. Sep 25, 2010 #7
    I'm not going into EE. You would have to check see what the undergrad prerequisites are for the EE graduate courses. I'm not sure there's a way around it. However, most graduate programs allow for at most something like three undergrad courses to count towards the hours needed for the graduate degree.
  9. Sep 28, 2010 #8
    I'm physics B.S. and in an "interdisciplinary" graduate program- in a mechanical engineer's lab. I have found that there are a lot of very useful things that I know that they don't, but then there are things that they know that I do not. However, with my physics background I have been able to self study and pick up an understanding of fluids and materials (stresses and strains and stuff that was only superficially covered by my physics). Other ME topics I have not found a use for yet and have not gone into at all. I have done this is my spare time while taking regular courses and doing research.

    I think I would have trouble with the ME qualifying exam if I took it, but could study for 3-6 months to review and fill in the many gaps I have and pass it (maybe it would take longer, but anyway I think I could pass it).

    I can't speak for EE though.
  10. Sep 28, 2010 #9
    I am applying to grad school for M.S. EE for the Fall '11 semester. I'm in my last semester of my Physics B.S. right now, graduating Dec. '10. I am taking circuits right now to prepare and it's not too hard. That's probably just because it's a sophomore class though.
  11. Sep 30, 2010 #10
    Currently in the middle of planning it now. Unfortunately, I've done a pathetic job of trying to narrow down on a single engineering topic (photonics (EE), controls (EE or MechE), plasma (from either side), MEMS).

    I don't really have much preparation in the way of it yet, but two people in my beam physics lab group who graduated this past Spring with Physics B.S. degrees are now first-year M.S. students here for Mechanical Engineering. One took a substantial courseload from the MAE Dept. (2 upper-div fluid dynamics classes + 1 grad seminar) and the other has never taken a single engineering course before this quarter.

    I was trying to decide between Signals and Systems (EE) v.s. an Intro to Astronautics course this quarter, but ended up settling on the former just because I was convinced it was a bit more general and that I'd be seeing its material more often. Next quarter, I'm probably doing a circuits class from the Physics Dept. along with maybe a Fluids class. Whether it'll be too late for it to really matter on grad apps or not, I wouldn't know.
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