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Electrical Engineering Grad. after Physics B.Sc.

  1. Jun 11, 2015 #1
    Hello all.

    I will be graduating with a physics degree in the fall of 2016, and going to grad school. I go to a small university in the US, not very well known for its physics program, but I've been doing fairly well here, so I was aiming at a top tier university for grad school in physics. My question is how feasible would it be for me to get in to a similar tier grad school for something like electrical engineering (top 20)? Should I be lowering my expectations because of this situation?

    Several details

    -I currently have a 4.0 GPA
    -I have 2 publications in astrophysics (second and third author)
    -My current research is fairly ee heavy (quantum optics), and I expect at least 1 publication in this field before I graduate.
    -I will graduate with 9 hours of EE courses
    -I haven't taken the GRE yet, but on practice PGREs I have consistently scored ~70th percentile. I'm not sure how important this is for EE grad school since they dont require the PGRE. I'm still taking the subject test sometime this fall just in case I decide to go to phys grad school
    -My Phys BSc will take me 2.5 years because of credits I got in HS. I don't really have the funds to stay here as an undergrad for 4 years.
    -I have at least 2 solid recommendation letters.

    If I'm leaving anything out that would help please let me know

    Also, I'd like to know how good EE schools are with financial aid. The major perk for going to grad school in physics is the fact that most schools pay for you to go there. Does this hold true for EE?

    Thank You in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 11, 2015 #2


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    When I applied to EE grad schools for MS/PhD programs, every school that admitted me offered tuition waivers and stipends. Most were research assistantships, but one may have been as a teaching assistant. Also, I know quite a few EE PhDs who did physics undergrad - even top EE schools will admit physics majors you if you are a good match for some research group. What area(s) of EE would you be interested in? It is a pretty broad field, and at least when I applied I was expected to articulate at least the general area of research I wanted to pursue. My guess is that if you are interested in the more applied physics areas (electronic devices, optoelectronics, electromagnetics, plasmas, ...) that you would have a better chance, but you should go with what your interests are. .

    By the way, my EE grad work was in plasma physics - probably half of the grad students in the larger research group came in with a physics background.

  4. Jun 11, 2015 #3
    Well what I'm doing at the moment is research in optical circuits and plasmonic waveguides, and its incredibly interesting so something along these lines would be neat
  5. Jun 11, 2015 #4
    It depends on the department... When I tried to enter a mid-level MS EE program with just a physics background I needed about 2 years of undergrad EE classes to be qualified to apply. Basically, I started a EE BS. I'm sure that other programs may be more forgiving, particularly if your research is related to EE (mine was not).

    It looks like you are more prepared for it than most. Good luck! (I'm a little jealous... :p )
  6. Jun 11, 2015 #5


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    Agreed that it strongly depends on the department. Where I was (a top 20 EE dept), there were absolutely no course requirements for the MS/PhD program. Everything was 100% dependent on your graduate committee. I knew physics majors that took anywhere from 0 to a handful of undergrad EE classes to make up the holes in their backgrounds - it was mostly dependent on the advisor they had. Each professor also had absolute freedom to decide what the qualifier and admission to candidacy exams consisted of. I know some other departments have qualifier exams designed in such a way that you would need the majority of an undergrad EE background to have a good chance of passing. You should take this into account when applying, and probably take more EE electives if they fit in your schedule.

  7. Jun 13, 2015 #6

    If you don't mind me asking, what school did you go to?
  8. Jun 19, 2015 #7
    Hi Modus. Did you pay out of pocket for those two years?
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