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Choosing a university faculty.

  1. Jun 22, 2013 #1
    Now that I have given the "entrance" exams that are required to enter a uni, I face a dilemma.
    Basically, I can get into any faculty that I want, but, the problem is, that I was always thinking of entering the physics department. However, talking to professors from my school and to other people, they say that going into physics is a terrible (!) choice. Even a physics professor that I asked, said that if he was in my position, he'd be going into mechanical engineering. Generally, people are saying that being an engineer is much more profitable, and actually has job opportunities (where I live, physicists can't get a job, at least the majority of them).
    So, I looked at the programs of all the engineering faculties, and the only ones that seemed interesting was electrical engineering, and chemical engineering.

    What should I do? It's a very tough choice, I know I prefer going to physics than becoming an engineer, but I fear that I might regret it when I'm older because of the job opportunities etc.

    For your information, I live in Greece.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 22, 2013 #2
    If you were living in a country with a better economy than Greece, I might have said that you should go for physics. But if you're living in Greece, then you should make yourself as marketable as possible. I highly recommmend going into some kind of engineering. Do search which kind of engineering have good job prospects there. I know that chemical engineering doesn't always get good jobs in every country.

    It is very bad to go into a field and eventually not getting a job. Try to avoid this by choosing your major very wisely.
  4. Jun 22, 2013 #3
    A word from another citizen of the PIGS states (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain*):

    Only go into physics if you really like it AND are willing+able(grades and/or money for a masters) to go to graduate school abroad and stay to settle and work, wherever that takes you.
  5. Jun 22, 2013 #4
    Thanks for your input. The thing that makes it harder is that the physics professor that teached me this year in school, said that I am very good and he thinks I could have a career in physics... My mathematician says do not make the mistake to go into physics :P.
    Some people say that I should study physics if I'm certain I want to move into another country, but, I'm not sure that I will want to do that.

    The thing with jobs here, is that basically, the government declares the working rights of each degree, and mechanical engineering, electrical and civil, have a huge advantage over the other degrees, they have the best working rights.

    For example, say you have somebody with a degree in ChemE, and somebody a chemistry degree + MSc in ChemE, the first one will be greatly preferred, because he can sign the designs of a factory for example, and has a signature recognized by the governement. The chemist doesn't, so even with his MSc, he is unlikely to be hired.

    How do things work in other countries?
  6. Jun 22, 2013 #5
    It is exactly the same as you describe in Spain for engineers. It is similar elsewhere, the general statement is that engineering is a regulated profession (it's the same in the US, I believe if you graduate from an ABET-accredited school you automatically enter this "club").

    Science and math degrees are not, they are academic degrees, just like art, philosophy, and literature (as much as some physics students hate to hear this!).

    If you go down the path of academics, be aware you will certainly need to emigrate, put off having stable relationships for many years, etc. Fortunately it looks like most Greeks have a high level of English, way better off than most Spaniards with equally terrible job prospects.
  7. Jun 22, 2013 #6
    You couldn't be more correct about emigration.
    It's very weird that there are a lot of physicists here with a PhD that teach 13-17 year olds for a living. You'd expect a better career for somebody with those "papers". Even my biology professor has an MSc in molecular biology.
  8. Jun 23, 2013 #7
    I've seen it happen here too. Public sector jobs like teaching are really the only thing that provides any sort of job stability in my country... hence why it's become so saturated. Naturally people with advanced degrees out-compete most both credential-wise and in selection exams.
  9. Jun 24, 2013 #8
    I've been told that mechanical engineering has plenty of job opportunities and is the most physics-intensive engineering subject. Is that so?
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