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Electrical Engineering MSc (UK)

  1. Jul 19, 2009 #1
    Will an electrical engineering MSc 'bridge the gap' between an undergraduate degree and entry into a PhD programme in the same way an MPhys?

    I have a BSc in physics but need either an MPhys or and MSc in Physics to get straight on to the PhD I'm interested in. The trouble is it's hard to find funding for an MSc in Physics unless you are the best.

    Currently, I guess an EE masters will be enough to get onto a PhD course in certain areas of experimental physics but I'm not sure it will be enough to get onto a theoretical physics PhD programme. Is this correct?

    It's interesting, one of my lecturers who works in string theory obtained his undergrad in EE and then went straight to Carnegie Mellon to do a PhD in physics, but he probably studied a lot of physics in his own time, and is an incredibly smart guy.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2009 #2
    Why you asking us? Ask the admissions officer for the PhD you are interested in.
  4. Jul 20, 2009 #3
    Thanks for the help. You came across sounding really smart.
  5. Jul 20, 2009 #4
    MegaJon, if I understand correctly, you want to pursue Electrical Engineering now. Is that right? If so, a masters in electrical engineering will make it easier to get into a PhD program in the same. I am unfamiliar with MPhys, but if the MSc is similar to an MS, then you have a very good chance. I know of people who did their bachelors' in physics and moved on to electrical engineering, with a masters and a PhD.

    Whether an EE masters will make the task of getting into a PhD program in physics more easy or difficult is something I can say nothing about. I would suppose it depends on a number of factors.

    All the same, if its physics you want to pursue, get a masters in physics and then a PhD in physics. If its EE you want to do, get a masters and PhD in EE. Getting a PhD in the same subject as the masters is definitely a more straightforward route than switching fields after the masters. This does not mean it is impossible. There are people who have switched to engineering after a masters in physics. In some EE departments, a physics degree is concerned an asset for PhD. Elsewhere, they can be choosy.

    Beyond that, you have to be lucky to run into people who realize your worth and interest and appreciate the fact that you have tried to strike a balance. Or you have to be very very good (the example of your professor who switched to theoretical physics from EE). Most physicists I have met disagree because their belief (perhaps rightful) is that it is impossible to do so. On the other hand, some electrical engineering professors with whom I have had similar discussions have maintained that this is possible due to the versatility of an EE degree. Switching from EE to physics is a matter of luck, some brilliance on your part, and a whole lot of other factors swaying in your favor. While there have been many such instances, and I am contemplating something similar, this planet isn't the best place to do so. There are just too many rules.

    However, do what you like the most. Do not "settle" for a degree which isn't your first choice. Think about your coursework and thesis. It is most important not to regret such things in future.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009
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