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Electrical Engineering BS to Physics PhD

  1. Nov 26, 2014 #1
    Hello all, I'm an EE student who is curious about the possibilities of going to grad school in Physics. When I first started college I was a Math and Physics double major. However, I was pressured by peers and family to go into Engineering because of job prospects. Even though I've been content and somewhat enjoy my studies, I've always regretted my decision. My biggest fear is is getting older and realizing I gave up on my passions (and being forced to ask myself, what if?). I'll post some of my background information below.

    Junior Electrical Engineering major (Physical Phenomena focus)
    I go to a public school in the south that is known for having a strong engineering program.
    3.55 GPA. I plan on bringing this up to somewhere 3.6-3.7ish
    Graduation date: May 2016
    Physics courses taken: Calculus based physics I, Calculus based physics II, Modern Physics.
    Related physics courses taken in EE department: Electromagnetic Fields I, Physical Electronics (semiconductor physics) and Optoelectronic Engineering.
    Courses that I plan on taking before graduation: Electromagnetic Fields II and Electromagnetic Fields Simulation lab.
    Experience: One government research based internship (Navy) and one defense contractor internship (Raytheon). Both in Electronics design.
    No research :(

    I guess what I'm asking is, what would be some decent programs that would accept someone like me (if any) with my background. If it helps, I'm interested in experimental condensed matter physics (though this is subject to change). I'd also like to find a program that doesn't rely heavy on the PGRE. Some of the schools I'm looking at are The University of Kentucky, The University of Cincinnati, The University of South Carolina, and the Fisk-Vanderbilt masters to PhD bridge program. Thanks for taking the time to read this. All input is greatly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2014 #2


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  4. Nov 27, 2014 #3
    Hi Jason, thanks for the reply! I've actually read that thread before. I was just curious if anyone knew of any schools I would have a decent chance applying to (mainly the information from my last paragraph). I should of probably worded my question better and shorter.
  5. Dec 1, 2014 #4
    Maybe trying to go straight to PhD would be a bad idea since my undergrad isn't in Physics. Should I try to get into a Masters program to test the waters?
  6. Dec 12, 2014 #5


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    Get yourself a copy of some magazines like Physics Today and various others. Ask at your university library for suggestions. Get the edition that shows "recent graduates" and where they got jobs. Pick some schools that put grads in jobs you might like to have, whether it's academia, industry, or whatever. Possibly you can google up some recent grads at some universities.

    Google up the schools you might like to go to. Contact the profs you might like to do grad work with. Contact the school's admissions group. Ask them what prep you need for the program you want. Be sure to ask them explicitly about your major, classes you might need to pick up, grade levels, etc. Find out what it will cost. Maybe you will change your mind.

    If a prof won't answer such questions, when asked pleasantly, you probably don't want to work for him anyway. He's either too busy or too unhelpful.

    There are many possibilities. It may be that some schools ignore you unless you bring your own support, or some of it. You may need to come with a scholarship or govt support or something. You might need to pick up a couple courses in some area you missed out on. Some math or physics background or something. Some schools may be really picky about coming from a physics undergrad course. Some may put a lot of weight on a recommendation by your current profs.

    A masters degree is not always good or bad. Some schools look on it as a "consolation prize" for people who didn't get a PhD. So having a masters and no PhD is sometimes worse than only a BSc.
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