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Graduating with physics undergrad, need some advice

  1. Dec 1, 2009 #1
    I am going to graduate soon and am getting my applications ready for graduate school. I know I do not want to continue in pure physics. I want something more "hands on." I also want something in a cutting edge field. I've always liked the idea of nuclear engineering and did well in EM, thermo, and mathematics. Am I desirable going from a pure science background in physics when applying for graduate school in engineering? I looked over the curriculum in engineering and it seems that they don't quite sync up well with what I took except for the mathematics, thermo, and stat.

    Will I have a hard time getting into a reputable college with my degree? I have around a 3.8 gpa right now.

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 1, 2009 #2


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    Many graduate engineering departments are happy to accept students with physics backgrounds. I went to graduate school (electrical engineering) and work with a lot of people that were in your situation. You will have to pick fields/specializations that interest you, of course. If it is nuclear engineering then physics is a great background - where I went to school didn't even have an undergrad nuclear program; they suggested "engineering physics" as a background (which meant EM, statistical physics, mechanics, Quantum mechanics, continuum physics, math methods, experimental physics, circuits, and a handful of electives from engineering and physics).

    If you are interested in physics related topics, you should be in especially good shape. I know folks with physics backrounds who have graduate degrees in electrical engineering (solid state devices, radiowave propagation, signal processing), materials science, and aerospace engineering (control systems, space systems). My wife has undergrad degree in math, went to physics grad school for a couple of years - when her advisor left she was stranded, so transfered to another university where she earned a phd in electrical engineering. If I think harder I can probably recall a few more folks whose background was physics, but these pop to mind immediately.

    I think you should be fine. I wish you the best of luck,

  4. Dec 1, 2009 #3
    Thanks for your reply. That makes me feel much better. I do enjoy the topics in physics but I am craving something more applied. The school I am currently applying to has an option for applied plasma/fusion technologies along with a certificate in sustainable energies. I think tacking these onto my degree program will give me a great head start in a future career.

    Very exciting. Can't wait to graduate out of undergrad.
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