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Engineering physics? What do you think about it?

  1. Jul 29, 2014 #1

    Is Engineering Physics a practical pursuit? Is it much harder than regular engineering programs?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 29, 2014 #2


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    I think a lot can depend on the specifics of each individual program, but there's no reason to believe that in general it's harder or easier than other engineering programs.

    I think the advantages of engineering physics lie in the fact that you get the professional qualification of an engineer when you come out. The course work and projects tend to focus on more "applied" physics (but that's a generalization).

    The disadvantage is that you don't have as much opportunity to explore the different branches of physics as an undergraduate because you have to fit in a number of engineering courses. So if graduate school in physics is your next step, you might not get the same exposure as a more traditional physics student. On the other side of the coin, I'm not sure that engineering physics graduates have the same number of opportunities for jobs within the profession as the other branches of engineering.
  4. Jul 29, 2014 #3
    The programs are good at Wisconsin and Cornell. My nuclear engineer professor (he is 70) did his BS in engineering physics and then did his ScD in nuclear engineering. And to this day it remains a good undergrad option if you plan to do a PhD in nuclear engineering and there is no BS nuclear engineering option in your state. And it's certainly better than the double BS ME/physics I did!
  5. Jul 30, 2014 #4


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    Like Choppy says, it depends a lot on the school.

    Schools like UCSD treat EP as an EE major with a physics minor. Other schools treat it as a physics degree with a minor in some engineering field. You can tell a lot about the program by looking into whether it is in the engineering or physics department.

    Some schools will also call it a BS in applied physics, instead of engineering physics. Those programs have a bit more flexibility and are in the physics departments more often than not.
  6. Jul 30, 2014 #5
    Sometimes it depends which field it's under.

    Is Engineering Physics offered by your physics department? I would expect it's more like a physics degree that gives you just enough engineering courses to be employable out of college.

    Is it offered by your engineering department? Then, as Student100 said, it'll likely imitate an engineering degree with a minor in physics.

    The head of my physics department told me that the first year of engineering physics is essentially the same as plain ol' physics, but I don't know how relevant that is to you since you seem to want to major in engineering.
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