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Programs Help deciding between civil engineering and physics

  1. Jan 3, 2018 #1

    So I am trying to decide what to do for my masters and would like some advice. I'm in Architecture as a major and physics as a minor currently, and want to master in either engineering physics or civil engineering. I find both very interesting and am pretty open to what I do after school job wise. Honestly, wherever the money is kinda what I'm looking for. Any advice on what route to take?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2018 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF. :smile:

    Have you been able to work in either field yet in your summer jobs? If so, what did you enjoy the most about the work?
  4. Jan 3, 2018 #3
    I have not yet sadly. Which I'm super sad about. I've had to take summer classes. However this summer I'm trying to contact engineering firms near my school to intern. It's just kind of a nothing town so it's hard to find them.
  5. Jan 3, 2018 #4


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    Have you had a chance to talk to people in the civil engineering department? Faculty as well as grad students? All else aside, it seems like civil engineering would be a logical choice, as there is always a market for building and maintaining infrastructure. But the question is a) would you like it and b) are there prerequisites that you may need to work in civil engineering? I am an electrical engineer, but CE is going to be heavy on modeling and computer-based structural analysis. You may at least want to see what they would expect an incoming grad student to know. It may then force an extra semester or two of catchup work in case you discover you don't have some things that CE undergrads do in their junior/senior year that the grad dept may be taking for granted.
  6. Jan 3, 2018 #5


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    At least in the US, many civil engineering jobs actually require a BS in civil engineering from an accredited program. The daughter of a friend found that she had to earn a second BS in CE after finishing her physics degree; a Masters alone wouldn't qualify her for the jobs she was interested in. So I recommend looking at job opportunuties and speaking with some Civil Engineers before starting a graduate CE program.

  7. Jan 3, 2018 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    There is an agreement - I forget its name - that if you graduate from an accredited engineering program in one of the countries that are part of the agreement (and UK, Australia and US are part of the agreement) then you are qualified in any of the countries that signed the agreement.

    Here in Australia we are moving to engineering being a masters and you do a bachelors first. Architecture is one of the bachelors that directly leads to entry into a civil engineering masters - with the right subjects done in your architecture degree. Even if you didn't do the right subjects all it means is it will take a bit longer - 3 years instead of 2.:
    http://www.eng.unimelb.edu.au/study/degrees?section=Civil and Structural Engineering

    Better than the US where you have to do undergrad Engineering then a Masters - that takes longer. You could of course do just the undergrad - that would take about the same time (maybe more) depending on exemptions you got from architecture.

  8. Jan 4, 2018 #7


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    I think that makes a lot of sense, as it gives students time to expand their horizons a bit before locking themselves into a specific engineering field. Of course students can do that in the US as well, and for some specialties such as electrical engineering it is perfectly fine to get a graduate degree after a BS in physics/math. Civil engineering just has lots of licensing requirements that many other fields do not have.

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