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Engineering + Science, good idea?

  1. Apr 20, 2013 #1
    I am very interested in a combined engineering + physics program, it is a 5 year program and I would be awarded with a degree in science, a degree in engineering and a honors degree in science at the end of the program. Is this a good idea? Or is it better to just do physics then go into post grad? The thing is that with the engineering degree I can find a job much more easily.
    The program is very heavily focused on research and development.
    My father who is a computer scientist and my uncle who is a physicist (PhD in particle physics from Michigan) are both against this idea because both of them have jobs with very low pay so they are pushing me towards medicine. I do like studying medicine but I do not and will not enjoy practicing it.
    Ultimately I want to work in quantum computing because I believe that it is a very revolutionary and interesting thing. Should I follow my passion and risk being unemployed or should I follow the money?
    Also, is it a good idea to do electrical/computer engineering + physics for the majors for each degree?

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 20, 2013 #2
    It sounds like a good idea. If you fail to get into a graduate program when you graduate, you'll have the engineering degree to fall back on and get a job with, unlike with just a physics degree as me and countless others here will concur.

    You're going to spend 5-6 years in college minimum for eng/sci or medicine and a large part of your working adult life working/looking for work in it. Enjoying what you do is very important unless you have enough time/money left for hobbies outside of work at the end of the day. The world really does not need professionals who don't like their job, I don't think anyone wants to go under the knife of a surgeon who doesn't care deeply about his work.

    Just don't get too indebted for a college education that doesn't have some guarantee of return on investment.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013
  4. Apr 20, 2013 #3
    Thank you!
    I will look more into it. The thing is that I have to travel interstate. I can do it at the university in my state, which is very good, but the university in the other state is more research focused.
    University is practically free in my country :)
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013
  5. Apr 20, 2013 #4
    If that is the case, then don't be afraid to experiment and start off in eng/phy and switch to phy in your second year or vice-versa, if you change your mind (sneak into advanced courses and talk with upper division students, or try to sneak in some more physics courses into your eng curriculum in later years).
  6. Apr 20, 2013 #5
    What do you think of the majors? I think I will definitely do physics for the science degree but I am not sure about engineering. At the university I am applying for electrical engineering and computer engineering are two separate degrees so I don't know which one has better work opportunities or more interesting.
  7. Apr 21, 2013 #6


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    Are those bachelor's degrees? If so I don't know why anyone would spend an additional year in school just for another bachelor's degree.
  8. Apr 21, 2013 #7
    So many physics graduates with masters and PhD's are unemployed so I thought having a bachelor's degree in engineering is good in case I don't get the job I want. There is much more focus on practical work in engineering than physics so that can be good when getting a job.
  9. Apr 22, 2013 #8
    Physics and EE do complement each other quite nicely, and having the EE degree is probably a good move career wise. Combining EE with Physics sets you up quite nicely for researchy jobs in engineering because you've learned the design aspects of engineering, but you've also got a strengthened theoretical background.

    If you're not interested in medicine, going into medicine just for the money isn't a good idea. You probably won't be very successful/happy if you hate your job. It sounds like this option will let you pursue your passion and if that doesn't work out you can fall back into a well-paying engineering job that you'll probably find a lot more interesting than medicine (given what you've said). You might even find that there are areas of engineering that you're really interested in and want to pursue.
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