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Have I chosen the wrong degree?

  1. Sep 3, 2012 #1
    A month ago I started a MSc Chemical Engineering program at Norway's technical university.. http://www.ntnu.edu/studies/mtkj

    I liked chemistry and math from high school, but I loved physics. I wanted to study physics, but I was nervous that if I did, i'd be unable to get B average or more grades, and thus I would fail to find a proper job. So in the end, I decided to study chemical engineering because I thought it was a nice mix of chemistry, (thermo)physics and math. In addition it's extremely easy to get a good job after an NTNU engineering degree.

    However, now that I've gotten a taste for ChemE, and scoured through the list of subjects, it seems that it's almost half chemistry for the first 3 years... And the chemistry isn't much fun either.

    I'm thinking about switching over to physics. Since my counsellor is near useless, I want to ask you guys:

    a) How much physics is there really in ChemE and in physical chemistry?
    b) Is it really so hard to find a job after a physics-degree? everyone I talk to say it's impossible to get a relevant job other than teaching.
    c) All in all, if I really like physics, should I switch this year? Or should I stick with ChemE for a year, and then if I don't like it start on a degree in physics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 3, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    Your situation is very similar to mine, albeit over 40 years ago. When I was in junior high, a chemist friend of my father gave me his old copy of the Schaum's Outline of College Chemistry. That was my inspiration which eventually lead me apply to the School of Engineering looking for a Chemical Engineering degree. After taking the physics prerequisites the first year, I knew Chemical Engineering wasn't for me and eventually got a Engineering Physics degree. The switch was totally based on my love for Physics.

    To answer your question, I'd say give it a year. You need chemistry to get a physics degree; at least it was required for me.
  4. Sep 3, 2012 #3
    Are you from Norway?
  5. Sep 5, 2012 #4
    Switching a year later would probably entail graduating a year later. If you're not liking it now, chances are you won't be liking it later. I'd switch. As for the finding a job question, physics is one of the best majors with which to pursue a job (17th lowest unemployment rate, 6th highest median salary).
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