1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Double major in engineering and physics viable?

  1. Nov 24, 2012 #1
    So I'm planning on pursuing physics in graduate work after undergrad.
    I want to do physics and engineering at this point right now though.
    Would it be better to double major in engineering physics and mechanical engineering or to double major in mechanical engineering and physics? Btw I go to Cornell and it has one of the best engineering physics programs which is why I'm considering it instead of a theoretical physics major. In addition, it may share more similar classes with mechanical engineering.
    Engineering Physics could prepare me just as well for graduate work in theoretical physics.
    In addition I would want to graduate in 4 years.

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 25, 2012 #2
    I can't speak for other universities but the Engineering Physics program I'm currently in is more than adequate for graduate physics studies. We take almost all of the same courses as the honours physics program. There is also huge overlap between undergraduate Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Physics. I see no reason why Engineering Physics alone would not be sufficient for you.
  4. Nov 26, 2012 #3
    If I were to pursue further education in mechanical engineering, would engineering physics be a suitable secondary major?
    I'm planning on double majoring in engineering physics and mechanical engineering and minor in aerospace
  5. Nov 29, 2012 #4
    In my opinion you should pursue a major in a topic in which you are interested (you might not enjoy every course but for the most part). Personally I am an Engineering Physics and Physics major because I enjoy science and the application part. Many purists, physicists and mathematicians alike, look down on engineering as a respectable profession. I had a mathematician tell me he did not put engineers on the same level as physicists and mathematicians because they are not taught to think. I do not agree with this. An engineer is taught to think within feasible project constraints and goals and for the most part might be seen as more realistic especially to other engineers. An undergraduate engineering degree prepares you for eventual licensing as an engineer, not Ph.d level research in physics. You are expected to be able to think about problems with the same critical thinking skills as an physicist or mathematician. Since you have not decided your major I assume you must be an underclassmen -> take a few courses of each and decide what you like. Then you can make an informed decision:).

    P.S. Why must college take 4 years? I spoke a Department Head of a prestigious undergraduate mechanical engineering program and he indicated that very few finish in a 4 year period and most take 5. Personally I am in my fifth year but when I graduate I will have finish all my technical courses in 3.5 years.
  6. Nov 29, 2012 #5
    Would a phd in engineering not be as prestigious or respectable as one in physics?
  7. Nov 29, 2012 #6
    Im doing the same thing!

    Both Phd's are respected! A Phd shows that an individual has drive and commitment towards what they put their mind to! Although I will say that it may (may) be easier for a studied Physicist to earn a Engineering Phd verses a Engineer earning a Physics Phd. A studied physicist may have more overlapping knowledge in areas of engineering verses an engineer having overlapping knowledge in physics. But both are very viable!
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  8. Nov 30, 2012 #7
    I agree
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook