Help deciding between civil engineering and physics

In summary, Jason is trying to decide what to do for his masters and would like some advice. He is in Architecture as a major and physics as a minor and is open to what he does post-graduation job wise. He finds both physics and civil engineering interesting and is looking for a job that pays well. He has not yet been able to work in either field in his summer jobs, but is trying to contact engineering firms near his school to intern. He recommends looking at job opportunities and speaking with civil engineers before starting a graduate CE program.
  • #1
Kaitlyn M
2
1
Hello!

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?
 
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  • #2
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?
 
  • #3
berkeman said:
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?
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.
 
  • #4
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.
 
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  • #5
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.

Jason
 
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Likes symbolipoint, bhobba and berkeman
  • #6
jasonRF said:
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.

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
https://study.msd.unimelb.edu.au/programs/bachelor-of-design/majors#majors

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.

Thanks
Bill
 
  • #7
bhobba said:
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.

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.

jason
 

Related to Help deciding between civil engineering and physics

1. What is the main difference between civil engineering and physics?

Civil engineering focuses on the design, construction, and maintenance of physical structures such as buildings, bridges, and roads. Physics, on the other hand, is a broad field that studies the fundamental laws and principles of nature, including motion, energy, and matter.

2. Which field has better job prospects?

Both civil engineering and physics offer a wide range of career opportunities. However, civil engineering may have more job prospects in the construction and infrastructure industries, while physics may have more opportunities in research and development fields.

3. Which degree requires more math and science courses?

Both degrees require a strong foundation in math and science, but physics may have more advanced math and theoretical physics courses. Civil engineering, on the other hand, may have more applied science and engineering courses.

4. Which degree is more hands-on?

Civil engineering is a hands-on field that involves designing and building physical structures, while physics is more theoretical and may involve more lab work and experiments. However, both fields require a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

5. Can I switch between civil engineering and physics later on in my career?

While it may be possible to switch between civil engineering and physics, it may require additional education and training. It is important to carefully consider your interests and career goals before making a decision on which degree to pursue.

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