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Dual Degree Program: Physics and Mechanical Engineering

  1. Nov 13, 2006 #1
    The school I'm considering has a program called BPPME, that offers a Bachelors in Physics and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering in as little as 5 years (I'll probably do 6 years because it's cheap and I usually need a little more time to fully grasp some concepts)...does this sound worth it? The school is the Indianapolis campus of Purdue University, so they're well known...

    Do you guys think that getting this degree would be much better than just a bachelors in Mechanical Engineering? Would it be any easier to get from college into the job market? Also, someone brought up the fact that I might overqualify myself for some jobs...should I be worried about this?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2006 #2
    Either study the physics or the engineering and get a masters degree. That is better than what amounts to two BSs. You could do that in the same amount of time.
     
  4. Nov 13, 2006 #3

    berkeman

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    What are the typical jobs that BPPME graduates hire into?
     
  5. Nov 13, 2006 #4
    no idea...

    no man, its a masters in mech engineering and a bs in physics.
     
  6. Nov 13, 2006 #5

    berkeman

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    Seems like a key question for you to look into, wouldn't you say? Maybe the department can give you an idea of where their graduates typically go. If those positions sound really interesting, then maybe it's a good major for you. If not, look at where the straight MEs and Physicists go. Or work backwards from the kind of work you'd like to get into, and find out what degrees the people who are doing well in those fields have.

    What kinds of technical subjects and work interest you the most?
     
  7. Nov 13, 2006 #6
    Mainly anything in the automotive field..engines or suspensions mostly.
     
  8. Nov 13, 2006 #7
    Is that the type of work you would like to do? If so, why bother with the physics degree? Just get an ME degree.
     
  9. Nov 13, 2006 #8
    you dont think the physics degree would help in getting a job? I honestly dont know how companies like that choose people....
     
  10. Nov 14, 2006 #9
    I think it's a lot of extra work for no reason. If you want to be an ME, get an ME degree. Do well, get good grades, get involved with societies, get to know your professors, and you'll get a job just fine.

    Now, if you are truly interested in physics enough that you want a physics degree, then by all means go for it. But adding an extra degree just because you think it will help you get a job is ridiculous.
     
  11. Nov 14, 2006 #10

    berkeman

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    I agree with Maxwell. Try this, Animal, it would be a good test. Find out what textbooks are used in the undergrad Physics classes in the BPPME program (or even the BS Physics program), and stop by the campus bookstore sometime (on a visit or whatever). Check out each of the textbooks -- open them up and skim them front to back, pretty much in the same order that you would be studying them in school.

    If you don't get goosebumps and have your breath taken away, then you probably should not bother adding in the Physics classes into your ME degree. Physics is a labor of love, not a way to try to make yourself more marketable, IMO. Physics is beauty -- very challenging to study and learn, but real beauty as you understand more and more.

    My college major decision was just the opposite of yours, actually. I loved Physics and enjoyed my EE classes, but decided that I could make more money in EE than Physics, and reluctantly focused on my BSEE and MSEE. Physics will always be my first love, though.
     
  12. Nov 14, 2006 #11
    I also had to make this decision between EE and physics, but I went the opposite way and chose physics. It was a very tough decision, and job marketablity was definitely a huge plus for EE, but in the end I had to chase my dream of being a physics professor.

    In any case, I was a gas station clerk before I went to college at the age of 25, so now matter what happens I think a physics education will give many more job oppurtunities then I had before.

    To the OP, you have to decide what you are passionate about. It could be physics, mechanical engineering, or anything else. Take some courses and get a feel for what college is about. Once you have found your field, you will know, trust me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2006
  13. Nov 14, 2006 #12

    J77

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    I can't see how these two fields could be taught together.

    I've worked in both areas, academically, and the gap between, not only how things are taught, but the mindset of physicists and mechanical engineers is huge.
     
  14. Nov 14, 2006 #13
    Like others here, I was also faced with dilemma of EE vs physics. In the end, I chose EE for the money (which I now realize was a mistake). However, I don't regret my decision, since I'm now pretty deep in the device/physical/quantum/semiconductor/whatever-you-want-to-call-it field, which I feel combines the two very well. Plus, with my physics minor, I had an excuse to take the undergrad quantum sequence and statistical mechanics courses, which are the undergrad physics courses that interested me the most anyway.
     
  15. Nov 14, 2006 #14

    berkeman

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    Yeah, EE/Physics is a much closer match than ME/Physics, it would seem.
     
  16. Nov 15, 2006 #15
    So you are saying that if someone wants to do dual degree in physics with engineering it should be electrical engieering rather than mechanical?
     
  17. Nov 15, 2006 #16

    J77

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    Yep - although I'd still choose one or the other.
     
  18. Nov 15, 2006 #17

    berkeman

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    I think it would depend on what your interests are. I was just agreeing that the EE curriculum is a lot closer to the Physics curriculum, as compared to ME. We take a lot of the same E&M classes, for example.
     
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