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Electrical engineering vs. nuclear engineering

  1. Aug 20, 2014 #1
    Hi, everyone.

    I am a student studying physics in one of colleges in Wisconsin, and this school has a program called Dual Engineering. Through this program, I will get a physics BS degree and study one type of engineering in UW-Madison for another BS.

    I really debate myself these days between electrical engineering and nuclear engineering.

    If I choose EE, I will focus on Communications and Signal Processing for BS and MS degree.

    If I choose NE, I will focus on Radiation Science for BS and medical physics for MS degree.

    I know they have a big difference, the demand. So far as I know, it is not hard to get a job with EE MS degree, but it is with medical physics MS even though it guarantees high wage if I get a job for it in hospital.

    I need advice to decide the issue. I will appreciate any comment. Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 21, 2014 #2
    “Fall in love with some activity, and do it! Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn't matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough. Work as hard and as much as you want to on the things you like to do the best. Don't think about what you want to be, but what you want to do. Keep up some kind of a minimum with other things so that society doesn't stop you from doing anything at all.”
    - Richard Feynman

    Do what you love.
  4. Aug 21, 2014 #3

    jim hardy

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    Do your interests lean toward academia of industry ?

    I can tell you about one niche industry, nuclear power.

    A nuke plant needs three or four NE's for the reactor engineering department. They look after the reactor core but mostly via paperwork - the core itself is inaccessible except when fuel is new.
    A nuke plant needs a couple dozen EE's to tend to the electrical and electronic equipment in the plant - you'd not believe how much of it there is. This can be as hands-on as you like, or paperwork in a central office.

    I took a EE degree but my advisor let me apply Reactor Physics and Reactor Operation to the degree. I found a job in a nuke plant about forty miles from my hometown.
    That turned out a really valuable combination of training - i did a lot of "interdiscipline translating" .

    Bottom line - there's more openings in that industry for EE's than for NE's. There's not a lot of people coming out of school with a combination of the two.

    If you like machinery , think about it. You might call the personnel office of an electric company and explain you're nearing graduation career choices and would like to visit a plant....
  5. Aug 21, 2014 #4


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    This, OP, is how careers are made.
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