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Engineering Deciding between Mechanical and Electrical engineering

  1. Feb 9, 2012 #1
    Hello, I'm majoring in physics at the end of the year but I'm more interested in engineering now. The thing is that I could start taking Mechanical engineering classes now and obtaining the degree in two years from now (without obtaining the major in physics), or I could finish the physics major this year and later get a degree in Electrical engineering in three years from now.
    My problem is that I don't know which one is the better choice since I like both, so I'd be glad if you could tell me about your current job as a Mechanical engineering or as an Electrical engineering. I'd like to know what do you exactly do on a regular day. I'm also interested in programming and my marks are pretty well for now if that helps. The job prospects after graduation are important for me too.

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 9, 2012 #2
    I'd complete the degree in physics and see if you can get accepted in a graduate engineering program. With your physics background this shouldn't be much of an issue.
  4. Feb 13, 2012 #3


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    If you do as Ben Zina recommends, you will only need about 2 years of remedial undergraduate work in engineering to get caught up for the graduate work.

    One of the fundamental differences that you will encounter is this: With just a few exceptions, engineers rarely ever work with quantum mechanics (EEs do on rare occasions), astronomical problems (MEs do orbital mechanics for space travel), nuclear physics beyond power reactor physics, statistical thermodynamics. The work in physics in these areas will not have been very useful at all. On the other hand, undergraduate engineering students spend a lot of time in the lab building things, taking data, making things actually work, far more than physics students do. Where do you want to be when you finish your BS degree?
  5. Feb 13, 2012 #4
    Er not always. It really depends on the school. In many cases some graduate departments may only require a semester of remedial courses. I'd only imagine a graduate department requiring a whole additional two years of remedial courses if you're coming from a completely non technical background (say a degree in literature). But of course this varies from school to school. In op's case he might be better off enrolling directly into a graduate program if only to save time.
  6. Feb 14, 2012 #5
    Thanks for the answers. I've already decided about getting an engineering degree, but my problem is that I can't decide between Mechanical and Electrical engineering. I'm not from USA, in my country in order to get an engineering degree you must spend five years at the university, so the times involved are the ones I've described in the initial post.
  7. Feb 14, 2012 #6


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    I don't see how we can answer this question better than you can. If you like both of them and don't have a problem with the time commitment required by either, flip a coin.
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