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!

Electrical Engineering After Physics Background

  1. Dec 14, 2012 #1
    I attend a small LAC. After having taking an electronics course this past semester, I am fascinated by it. While I am still interested in Physics, I would like to skew more towards EE while in grad school (maybe, Quantum Devices, Solid State, etc). Am I in good position to apply to such things with a Math/Physics double major? Or is it preferrable to have an engineering background? Also, it seems(after a brief research) that engineering programs do not require any subject GRE's? How do they quantify the applicants from smaller schools then?

    Any advice on the matter is welcome.

    P.S. I am not really asking whether I should do it. If I want something I will do it. Could someone just shed some light on the prospects I am facing. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 16, 2012 #2
    I actually know a couple EE grad students who did their bachelor's degrees in Physics. It's certainly doable, but I imagine your chances of getting in are going to depend quite a bit on what area of EE you try to go into. Some parts of EE overlap with physics quite a bit, and others don't overlap much at all.

    Also note that, at least in Canada, doing a physics major with a masters/PhD in engineering does not allow you to be a professional engineer. You need a bachelor's degree in engineering for that. I don't know how much that actually hurts your job prospects, but it may be something to think about.
  4. Dec 16, 2012 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    A physics/math double major would be great. I am an EE and know quite a few folks that started in physics or math undergrad and went to EE in grad school. Get good grades and recommendations and general GRE and you will be fine for admissions. You will only have a couple of courses that you are really "missing" from undergrad - in my opinion a course on signals and systems is the big missing link from the standard physics/math major, although for quantum or solid state specializations it is much less important than for some other specializations. Also, make sure you take a probability theory course. Your background will be excellent for the types of specializations you are interested in.

    The engineering subject GRE is kind of silly - it tries to cover all branches of engineering simultaneously, so it is practically useless and grad schools know this. Also, I know many EEs, and only know one that is a professional engineer (PE). FOr most jobs it just isn't required. No one I work with is a PE.

    best of luck,

  5. Dec 20, 2012 #4
    Very well :smile: I still have a few months to decide for what I would like to apply. I am seriously considering these areas.

    By the way, how easy is it to switch in and out of fundamental type problems while working on some electrical engineering issues pertaining to quantum and condensed matter?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook