Engineering graduate school after physics undergraduate degree

Optical Fiber Communications (cos)Phase-Locked Loops (cos)Quantum Electronics (cos)In summary, this student found that they enjoy physics more than engineering, and found that Engineering Physics is a good subject. He plans to study Nuclear Engineering and is looking for a company that likes Engineering Physics graduates.f
  • #1
Hi, are there any pitfalls of switching subject area like this? I'm doing as much as I can to interact with engineers at the moment (such as student projects within the engineering dept. and generally trying to focus my physics towards what I understand to be engineering related as opposed to purely physics.

Has anyone else done this kind of subject switch, and if so, what were your experiences of doing so?
  • #2
People do this all the time, and it most certain is possible. Understand that you may need to take a few undergraduate engineering courses when you make the switch, but it is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, and I encourage you to move ahead in this direction.
  • #3
I did physics and math as an undergrad, and I'm currently a graduate student in an engineering department. About 1/3 of the my peers have undergraduate degrees in physics as well. Most of us took a few extra undergraduate classes our first semester, meaning we started slightly behind those who came in with engineering degrees and were able to go straight to grad courses. This is hardly an issue though and I found the classes very helpful (esp for the qualifying exam). This will largely be department dependent though, and you should ask the schools you are applying to what % of their graduate students came from physics backgrounds. I think by far the more important question is not "can I transfer", but why you want to switch to engineering and what are your reasons for applying to graduate school in the first place. In my opinion research should be largely motivating your answers to these questions.
  • #4
will be studying "Engineering Physics" !
I love physics and have excelled knowledge about physics and read everything about it.

However, I first wanted to go for Mechanical engineering, but the more I search on internet, it seems everyone wants physics.

My question is: Is engineering Physics good ? Do companies (Industry) like Engineering Physics graduates ?

I plan to do masters in (Nanotechnology, mechanical, nuclear, aeronautical ..etc). Is this possible after engineering physics ?
  • #5
I did physics undergrad, and am finishing up my PhD in nuclear engineering. However, what I actually do research on is very basic science as far as nuclear engineering goes. I found that without the undergraduate in NE, I don't know too much of the basics that a nuclear engineer is expected to know... I only took the one required graduate reactor physics class, not the several that the undergrads take, etc. However, I feel like there are more opportunities available now - I *could* go into industry and work at a plant if I wanted to, but I also am able to stick to basic physics research, since I have the physics degree. Even though my degree will say "nuclear engineering," I honestly feel more like a scientist.

Engineers seem to do things a bit differently, and make different assumptions than physicists. Nothing wrong with that, but just something you get used to. Engineering also seems more formal than science. Also, I did switch because I wanted to do slightly more applied research, and I achieved that goal.
  • #6
@ Nuclear85

Sounds wonderful ! But I'm only looking forward for research when I'm offered one and will only decide upon the circumstances (meaning it is my second priority)

I want to see myself in a great company (industry)

I would like to share my engineering physics course description. Give it a look and share your thoughts as to where can this lead me to ?

Bachelor of Engineering in Engineering Physics: Course Concept / Overview
1st semester, compulsory subjects: 6
Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering I (c) - BM 1
Computing (c) - 1 AM 7
Mechanicsburg (c) - OM 2 8
Introduction to Natural Science & Specialisation (cos) - ON 2
Basic Laboratory (c) - BM 12
Langauge (c) - PB162 13
2nd semester, compulsory subjects: 14
Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering II (c) - ON 3
Electrodynamics and Optics (c) - BM 4
Electronics (c) - 4 PM 17
3rd semester, compulsory subjects: 18
Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering III (c) - ON 5
Nuclear physics (c) ON 6 19
Theoretical physics (electrodynamics) (c) - 7 PM
Basic Engineering (c) - PB 67 21
Project Laboratory I (cos) - PB 163 4th semester, compulsory 23
Numerical Methods (c) - 9 PM 23
Thermodynamics and Statistics (c) - ON 10
Physical Measurement Techniques (c) - ON 11
Specialisation I (cos) - PB 159 28
5th semester, compulsory subjects: 29
Control Systems (c) - AM 13 29
Materials Science (c) - AM 12 30
Specialisation II (cos) - PB 77 32
Laboratory Project II (cos) - ON 8
6th semester, compulsory subjects: 34
Bachelor's Thesis (cos) - BAM 34
Internship (cos) - PB 35
Subjects of Specialization: compulsory optional subjects (cos)
Acoustical measurement technology (cos)
Applied and medical acoustics (cos)
Biomedical Physics and Neurophysics (cos)
Energy Systems (cos) 39
Introduction to speech processing (cos)
Femtosecond Laser Technology (cos)
Laser Design (cos) 42
Lasers (cos) 43
Lasers in Medicine I (cos) 44
Lasers in Medicine II 45
Laser Spectroscopy (cos) 46
Material processing with laser beams I (cos)
Material processing with laser beams II (cos)
Microtechnology (cos) 49
Optics of the atmosphere and the ocean (cos)
Optical communication technology (cos)
Optoelectronics (cos) 52
Photovoltaics (cos) 53
Power Systems and Grid (cos) 54
Solar Energy Systems - Electric and thermal (cos)
Wind Energy Utilization (cos) 56
(C) MEANS compulsory subject / compulsory (Cos) MEANS compulsory optional subject / elective
  • #7
Thanks for the responses, I've decided against switching subject areas as I've found the glut of documentation seems very OTT, for example, 73 pages of documentation for what was little more than a riveted aluminium plate box that ejects a parachute held back by a spring ...

The better part of ten pages devoted to discussing the pro's and con's of various manufacturers springs ... :zzz:

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