Applied physics or engineering physics

In summary, the podcast host recommends doing a lot of research into what you want to do before deciding on a degree, and to consider what type of career would be best suited for you. He also suggests thinking about what you want to do in terms of career goals and what skills you have that would be best suited for that career.
  • #1
brymcfly21
26
3
I know I see many forums with this question but I still want to know which is the better choice. I am a senior about to graduate and go to University.

I originally wanted to do pure physics undergrad and possible go for astrophysics in phd but I realize getting a job in that is very hard. So my next area of interest would getting a masters in aerospace engineering. The university in going to doesn't have it as an undergrad but rather has it as a concentration under mechanical engineering.

Should I do applied physics and take mechanical engineering electives or do engineering physics (which is not abet accredited) for undergrad in order to go for a masters in aerospace?

The only reason I won't just simply go for majoring in mechanical engineering is that I really am interested in physics so I wanted to take as much classes in it as I can. Thank you
 
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  • #2
brymcfly21 said:
I originally wanted to do pure physics undergrad and possible go for astrophysics in phd but I realize getting a job in that is very hard. So my next area of interest would getting a masters in aerospace engineering.

Engineering is not a walk in the park either, engineering degrees are often quoted as having the highest drop out rate and highest workload of all degrees.
This is a podcast interview with an aeronautical engineer about career planning:
http://theengineeringcommons.com/episode-83-career-planning/
He sheds a lot of light on the challenges of entering the aerospace/aeronautical field - How few students make it to graduate, how few of those graduates actually get a job as an engineer and how few of those actually get to do the job they wanted to do.

The university in going to doesn't have it as an undergrad but rather has it as a concentration under mechanical engineering.
That's fairly normal, aerospace engineering is a subdiscipline of mechanical.

Should I do applied physics and take mechanical engineering electives or do engineering physics (which is not abet accredited) for undergrad in order to go for a masters in aerospace?
In safety critical industries like aerospace, accreditation and licensure are often critical. Not having an ABET or sim. accredited degree may hurt/destroy your chances of entering the field.

The only reason I won't just simply go for majoring in mechanical engineering is that I really am interested in physics so I wanted to take as much classes in it as I can. Thank you
If you want to be a Physicist, do a physics degree, if you want to be an aerospace engineer do an aerospace degree. Trying to float somewhere in the middle may result in you not being able to do either.
 
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  • #3
Thank you so much and I realize both fields are tough but I know for a fact there's very less jobs open for physicist to do actual physics work, and I just thought anything with "engineering" in the title would be good for the job market
 
  • #4
brymcfly21 said:
Thank you so much and I realize both fields are tough but I know for a fact there's very less jobs open for physicist to do actual physics work, and I just thought anything with "engineering" in the title would be good for the job market

You're welcome. And I do generally agree with that statement.
I just wanted to point out that getting an engineering degree does not earn one direct entry to an engineering career. By most accounts engineering does have a 'strong job market' but this is a relative assessment and doesn't mean all engineering graduates get to be engineers. The podcast has some discussion and stats around this (only 1 in 3 engineering degree holders work as engineers..).

My advice is to go in with an open mind, I did ME and when I started I had my heart set on working in power generation, then I did an internship at a power plant and realized it wasn't for me. Then I wanted to work in aerospace, then I had a couple interviews at Rocket Lab and the long hours and low pay turned me off that (less $/hr than my starting rate as an electrician's apprentice 8 years ago..). Now I work in product development and it's my dream job. In hindsight, product development aligns so well with my personal projects & interests I don't know why I considered anything else. I just took time to find what suited me best.

Overall, I'd recommend doing a lot of googling, get an idea of whether what you think you want is actually what you think it is. What do aerospace engineers do day to day? Where are the aerospace companies located? Do you want to live there? The aerospace engineering job market is said to be boom and bust, can you handle that? What is plan b if your don't get an aerospace job? etc etc etc
 
  • #5
billy_joule said:
You're welcome. And I do generally agree with that statement.
I just wanted to point out that getting an engineering degree does not earn one direct entry to an engineering career. By most accounts engineering does have a 'strong job market' but this is a relative assessment and doesn't mean all engineering graduates get to be engineers. The podcast has some discussion and stats around this (only 1 in 3 engineering degree holders work as engineers..).

My advice is to go in with an open mind, I did ME and when I started I had my heart set on working in power generation, then I did an internship at a power plant and realized it wasn't for me. Then I wanted to work in aerospace, then I had a couple interviews at Rocket Lab and the long hours and low pay turned me off that (less $/hr than my starting rate as an electrician's apprentice 8 years ago..). Now I work in product development and it's my dream job. In hindsight, product development aligns so well with my personal projects & interests I don't know why I considered anything else. I just took time to find what suited me best.

Overall, I'd recommend doing a lot of googling, get an idea of whether what you think you want is actually what you think it is. What do aerospace engineers do day to day? Where are the aerospace companies located? Do you want to live there? The aerospace engineering job market is said to be boom and bust, can you handle that? What is plan b if your don't get an aerospace job? etc etc etc

Yeah going in with an open mind is a good idea I'm just worried I won't be able to take a variety of different career based courses to test if I like them or not. Do you have any advice or idea about a science-y engineering field that is in demand or has a good job outlook? I got accepted to the college I'm going to as a physics major and I'm still unsure what to do . Thank you
 
  • #6
brymcfly21 said:
Do you have any advice or idea about a science-y engineering field that is in demand or has a good job outlook?

Job markets are local so you'll want to find local data. High school careers advisors, local government &/or state employment data, skill shortage lists, Job listing websites, engineering association salary surveys etc etc keep in mind some fields are more cyclical and/or more vulnerable to market changes than others eg Petroleum engineers are often near the top of highest paid job lists at the moment but a shift in oil consumption/production could change that before you graduate (just an example, it's total speculation on my part)
It can take a while to sort the wheat from the chaff but if you're investing years of your life and many thousands of dollars in your education it's worth spending the time to know what return on your investment you can expect.
 

1. What is applied physics or engineering physics?

Applied physics or engineering physics is a branch of physics that focuses on the practical application of physical principles and theories to real-world problems. It combines the fundamental principles of physics with engineering techniques to develop new technologies and solve complex problems.

2. What are the career opportunities in applied physics or engineering physics?

There are various career opportunities for individuals with a degree in applied physics or engineering physics. Some common job titles include research scientist, engineering consultant, aerospace engineer, materials engineer, and data analyst. Graduates can work in industries such as aerospace, automotive, energy, and telecommunications.

3. What skills are needed to succeed in applied physics or engineering physics?

To succeed in applied physics or engineering physics, individuals need to have a strong foundation in mathematics and physics, as well as critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They should also be proficient in computer programming and have good communication skills. Practical experience through internships or research projects can also be beneficial.

4. What is the difference between applied physics and engineering physics?

The main difference between applied physics and engineering physics is their focus. Applied physics is more theoretical and focuses on understanding the fundamental principles of physics, while engineering physics is more practical and involves applying these principles to solve real-world problems and develop new technologies.

5. What are the main topics covered in applied physics or engineering physics?

The main topics covered in applied physics or engineering physics include mechanics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and materials science. Other common areas of study include optics, acoustics, and nuclear physics. Students may also have the opportunity to specialize in a specific subfield, such as aerospace engineering or renewable energy.

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