Engineering Science

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zcd
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I'm currently a first year undergrad planning to go into Engineering Physics major. The reason I chose this major was because I'm unsure of what type of engineering I want to focus on and I have a fairly strong interest in physics, but I know that I want to do some sort of engineering related field in the future. My question is: what's the difference in graduating with a degree in Engineering Physics and focus on some particular type of engineering (say for example electrical engineering) rather than having that specific engineering degree (EECS)?

I've also spoken with some engineer graduates from various colleges and one common trend I hear is that a lot of engineering graduates tend to enter consulting and finance fields. Will it be more advantageous for me if I major in Engineering Math and Statistics instead for the math background, since I might not be doing an engineering job anyway?
 

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  • #2
fss
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My question is: what's the difference in graduating with a degree in Engineering Physics and focus on some particular type of engineering (say for example electrical engineering) rather than having that specific engineering degree (EECS)?

Licensure, accreditation, and having to explain why you didn't do an engineering degree during a job interview. If you want to be an engineer and can still enter an undergraduate engineering program, you should do that.

I've also spoken with some engineer graduates from various colleges and one common trend I hear is that a lot of engineering graduates tend to enter consulting and finance fields.

"Consulting" has many different meanings, so unless you'd like to narrow it down some I won't comment on it. "Finance" is tossed around a lot; "A lot of physics graduates go into finance!" Whatever. Some do, but most don't. Engineers tend to be good managers, and several engineering grad friends got management positions in numerous different industries that are not directly engineering-related.


Will it be more advantageous for me if I major in Engineering Math and Statistics instead for the math background, since I might not be doing an engineering job anyway?

Depends on the job.
 
  • #3
zcd
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Thanks for the reply. I'm not entirely sure what consulting entails myself, but I would like to find out.
Licensure, accreditation, and having to explain why you didn't do an engineering degree during a job interview. If you want to be an engineer and can still enter an undergraduate engineering program, you should do that.
Do you mean that those who have engineering physics degrees aren't officially licensed engineers?
"Consulting" has many different meanings, so unless you'd like to narrow it down some I won't comment on it. "Finance" is tossed around a lot; "A lot of physics graduates go into finance!" Whatever. Some do, but most don't. Engineers tend to be good managers, and several engineering grad friends got management positions in numerous different industries that are not directly engineering-related.
Why exactly do engineers make good managers? Should I be anticipating such a career change if I do choose to be an engineer?

I also looked through the bureau of labor statistics and on the page for physicists, it said there's an anticipated 16% increase in jobs over the next decade. This makes me wonder upon what facts do they make these predictions and how reliable this is.
 
  • #4
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Do you mean that those who have engineering physics degrees aren't officially licensed engineers?

Engineering physics grads at my school can become PEs. From what I understand, those that do go into industry usually take EE jobs.

Many go into academia.
(did not spell check post)
 
  • #5
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Why exactly do engineers make good managers? Should I be anticipating such a career change if I do choose to be an engineer?
I think they only make good managers in engineering companies, which can then attributed mostly to their knowledge of what the company is dealing with. But the same can be said of farmers in regards to farm managing, so I think the chances of you having to be prepared to take on a managerial position are the same as they would be in other professions.
 
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  • #6
fss
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Do you mean that those who have engineering physics degrees aren't officially licensed engineers?

Unless the program offers licensure they aren't. I have only come across a few EP graduates, none of which were licensed.

Why exactly do engineers make good managers?

Usually engineering graduates have technical knowledge in addition to a degree of business acumen (budgeting, for example) that they have to think about on a daily basis. Scientists have to pay attention to the bottom line as well, but not to the same degree (usually).
Should I be anticipating such a career change if I do choose to be an engineer?

At some point in either science or engineering you're going to have to get involved in management, whether it's for a laboratory staff or for an engineering team.
 
  • #7
thrill3rnit3
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To take the PE licensure exam (and the EIT before that), at least in the US, you have to graduate with an ABET accredit degree.

My dad is a civil engineer, and he went the construction route, which is why he's a project manager now.
 
  • #8
zcd
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What if the engineering physics degree program isn't ABET accredited here at UC Berkeley, but I choose to go to grad school afterwards? Is it possible to get into grad school under a specific engineering, and then acquire licensure afterwards?
 
  • #9
fss
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What if the engineering physics degree program isn't ABET accredited here at UC Berkeley, but I choose to go to grad school afterwards? Is it possible to get into grad school under a specific engineering, and then acquire licensure afterwards?

Depends on the graduate program and if they're willing to accept EP undergraduate degrees. If you want to be an engineer I don't know why you wouldn't just make it easier on yourself and earn your degree in X engineering.
 
  • #10
Depends on the graduate program and if they're willing to accept EP undergraduate degrees. If you want to be an engineer I don't know why you wouldn't just make it easier on yourself and earn your degree in X engineering.

Most engineering physics programs in Canada are accredited engineering programs, thus can lead to a PE. I'm sure it's very easy to find out if your EP program at your school is accredited. If it is great, take it, if not make a decision.
 
  • #11
zcd
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Depends on the graduate program and if they're willing to accept EP undergraduate degrees. If you want to be an engineer I don't know why you wouldn't just make it easier on yourself and earn your degree in X engineering.
I understand that it's easier to be a given engineer with that type of engineering degree, but my problem is that I don't know what I want to do specifically yet.

Engineering Physics is to me, for lack of better words, a way to buy time so I can discover what I want to do. Truth be told, I enjoy understanding physics at a conceptual level a lot more than engineering with such concepts at the moment, but I'm also unsure if physics at the higher levels is really for me. Unfortunately, I only have four years to decide and it's inconvenient switching between majors on a whim, so my idea is to choose some middle ground that I can go all the way through with.

If I may ask, is there any way to narrow down my interests quickly to make such decisions sooner?
 
  • #12
fss
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I understand that it's easier to be a given engineer with that type of engineering degree, but my problem is that I don't know what I want to do specifically yet.

I wasn't criticizing you in my last post, although it came off a but more confrontational than I intended upon re-reading it. Sorry about that.

If I may ask, is there any way to narrow down my interests quickly to make such decisions sooner?

In my opinion the best thing you can do for yourself is go somewhere that doesn't require you to declare a major right away. That would give you at least a year (usually) to take a sampling of some courses in physics and/or the engineering fields you're potentially interested in.

The nice thing about that approach is that oftentimes at the introductory level you'll be able to use the class credit for say, Introductory Digitial Electronics Lab, count towards both a Physics degree or an EE degree (just as an example).
 

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