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College/Career Advice please

  1. Jul 21, 2008 #1
    Hey guys I am currently a Engineering Physics sophmore at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. I plan on going to grad school in something space related.. i love space and astronomy and really want to work in that field when its all said and done. Ive thought about astrophysics, astrochemistry/biology, astronomy, cosmology, and just about anything that has to do with space as far as grad school goes.

    However, ive recently saw and had people tell me that if i do not go to Grad school that i may have a hard time finding jobs with a EP bachelors. Is this true? It worries me that i may not be able to find a job... or at least one that i enjoy if for some reason i do not get to go to grad school.

    During my first year of college i discovered i had a pretty good time(and was pretty good at it) taking my gen chemistry classes and so ive considered changing over to a chemical engineering major. Which i believe would give a better chance for jobs with only a bachelors. The thought that i could spend the same amount of time working toward my EP degree could be spent working toward a CE degree with most likely better job placement and pay make me think that maybe I should change. I do like physics but i do not neccesarily think it is my passion.. my passion lies in anything that I can do that is related with space. I picked physics because i figured it was my best chance to get involved with space and do some awesome research.

    Next summer i plan on doing a internship with ORNL(Oak Ridge National Laboratory) so i will get to see and expeirence some hands on research involving space, physics, and many other things.

    So if i switch to chem engineering will i still be able to go to grad school in any of the astro related options if i choose to? Or should i just stick with the EP degree and go to grad school and if i don't will i be able to find a job with the EP bachelors??

    Thanks for your time guys.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 21, 2008 #2

    cristo

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    If you want to go to grad school and study a subject like astrophysics, or cosmology, then I'm not entirely sure why you are contemplating changing your degree from engineering physics to chemical engineering: that seems to be going the wrong way. In fact, if I were you and thinking of changing my major to anything, then I would be thinking of changing it to physics. Remember that when you are applying for graduate studies, you are up against a lot of very good applicants with degrees in physics.
     
  4. Jul 21, 2008 #3
    I am contemplating chem engineering because of the fact that im worried if i only get a bachelors in EP i won't be able to find much of a job....

    And ive thought about just plain physics but i think the EP degree here at UT is better than just the physics. When i graduate i will have a minor in Astronomy and Material Sciences Engineering to go along with my major.
     
  5. Jul 21, 2008 #4
    I won't have a problem getting into astrophysics grad school with a EP bachelors will I?
     
  6. Jul 21, 2008 #5

    cristo

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    I can't really answer this, since I've never heard of an engineering physics degree.
     
  7. Jul 21, 2008 #6
    This is the coursework for the degree its basically a Physics degree with Engineering stuff thrown in.. and I don't have to take a language... which i despise lol.


    First Year Hours Credit
    1English 101* or 118*, 102* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
    Mathematics 141* or 147*, 142* or 148* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
    Engineering Fundamentals 105, 151 or 157, 152 or 158 . . . . . . . . . . . .9
    Chemistry 120* or 128*, 130* or 138* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

    Second Year
    Mathematics 231, 241 or 247 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
    Computer Science 102 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
    2Physics 135 or 137, 136 or 138 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
    3Engineering/Technical Electives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
    Culture and Civilizations Electives* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

    Third Year
    Physics 250, 321 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
    Physics 311, 312 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
    Physics 361 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
    Physics 421 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
    3Engineering/Technical Electives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
    Social Science Electives* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

    Fourth Year
    Physics 411,412 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
    Physics 431,432 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
    Physics 461 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
    3Engineering/Technical Electives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12
    Arts and Humanities Electives* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

    Total 126
     
  8. Jul 21, 2008 #7

    cristo

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    Ok, well I'm not from the US either, so have no idea what all those numbers mean. It's probably best that someone else answer your question!

    It still seems bizarre that if you know now that you want to study astrophysics, then why do the engineering? You should also note that an engineering physics degree can't be "physics with engineering thrown in" since some physics will have to have been taken out. Anyway, just be careful not to spread yourself too thinly.
     
  9. Jul 21, 2008 #8

    eri

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    Every school numbers classes differently - we can't tell from this what physics classes you actually took. A typical physics major will take something along the lines of 2 semesters of introductory physics, 2 semesters of mathematical physics, 1 semester of modern physics, 1 semester of classical mechanics, 1-2 semesters of electricity & magnetism, 1-2 semesters of quantum mechanics, and a few electives (astrophysics, optics, nuclear physics, solid state, etc). If you've taken those, you're probably good to apply for grad programs in astronomy, astrophysics, or physics.
     
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