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Engineering or physics

  1. Oct 27, 2008 #1
    Hey guys,
    I am having a hard time choosing between college for engineering or for physics. At one end of the spectrum, I want to study physics because I just really love the material. I want to know how EVERYTHING works, and although engineering is heavy in math and physics, I dont know if an engineering degree can satisfy my want for physics. Also, stemming off of my want to know how it all works, I sort of want to be really informed about something. It is hard to explain this, but I would much rather be very knowledgable about an area, rather than simply know enough to get a job done. The downside to this is that I am seeing a pattern that physics is not as employable as engineering. Engineering... on the other hand... is seemingly the most employable college there is. For example, the one college I am looking at had 99% of their graduates go on to either a grad school or a job placement because of all the internships involved there. That sounds awesome and great, but I fear the cubicle stories that I hear. If engineering trufully was as hands on as it is sometimes depicted to be, I have no doubt that it would be a great career, however, I am unsure if it is really what I would want to do for my whole life, and never really get the satisfaction of learning physics.

    So basically, I have the thing that I 'think' I really want to do, and the thing that I 'think' I really ought to do....

    Anyone else ever have this issue?... How did you solve it?

    other are free to chime in as well!!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 28, 2008 #2
    Do engineering! Physics and math are heavily involved. I did undergrad physics and am going to get my MS in EE or a related field b/c I feel physics as an undergrad degree in the real world is treated like an engineering aid. I know of no alumni who hold good positions with just a BS in physics. If you want to get a phd and teach then go for physics but engineering is by far more marketable.
  4. Oct 28, 2008 #3
    Try doing a search on the forum. I think there are many posts like yours which describe the similarities and differences.
  5. Oct 28, 2008 #4
    You'' also find that either way, you'll need to get more specific...say EE versus ME for example...
    believe me, you'll really find a lot of detail about how things work in the engineering of your choice...less theoretical and really practical in application.

    The first year of physics is often pretty much the same for everybody...statics and dynamics perhaps as well...calculus too...you'll get a flavor as you get some courses completed...

    Another approach is to do engineeering, and take some extra physics of interest to you ....I happened to study EE with a minor in nuclear physics and also took extra math because I found it interesting...if anyone had properly given me guidance, I could have taken just two more math courses and gotten an undergraduate degree in math as well as engineering...

    in other words, instead of taking easy elective courses you don't really like and will never use, take some hard core courses you love....maybe even some summer courses if time and workload get too heavy....
  6. Oct 28, 2008 #5
    Try doing a search on the forum. you will find you need
  7. Oct 28, 2008 #6
    Seriously guys, enough with the search for it deal. First of all, I always do use the search, but because there are so many posts, it doesn't help at all. Wheni searched for it mostly what i got was what specific type of engineering someone should do or the careers that physics undergrad degree can get. This isn't what I wanted, and my situation is specific to be. I do appreciate the two 'real' responses, and although I am still very undecided, I am starting to consider the idea of how much more marketable engineering really is.
  8. Oct 28, 2008 #7
    Double Major in both.

    ...Problem solved.
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