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Help with choosing a degree

  1. Aug 11, 2015 #1
    Hey guys :)
    I'm back with another post, as I've done some more thinking and research since the previous one, and I am in need of more advice. I'd like to get my application in as early as possible, so I need to make a decision at some point ^^.
    I'm pretty sure that I want to work in applied science/ engineering, not sure which field though, maybe things like aerospace, automotive, biomedical engineering, electronics, computing, robotics, nanotechnology or something to do with environmental/ water quality.

    I'm currently taking classes in maths, physics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and I love all of them, but I probably like my science classes more. What I don't particularly like in our engineering classes is the more "technical" things, like how to choose screws and stuff like that, but I really enjoy learning how things work.
    My hobbies involve drawing, a bit of computer programming, playing video games, watching science lectures online and reading books (scientific and also fiction), if this is of any help ^^.

    The degrees I'm considering are :

    - Mechanical engineering : I like my mechanical engineering classes, though I find them a lot harder than physics, but that may have something to do with the way we're taught things (no explanation, just here's what you have to do, and you'll have to be able to do the same thing on the test). I really liked the class we did on cars, and how friction and air resistance affects the amount of fuel a car needs to run, especially since we were calculating forces and stuff, so it really felt like an applied physics class.

    - Electrical engineering : I also like my electrical engineering classes, and I find them a bit less confusing than the ME classes, except when it comes to circuit analysis. I can handle small circuits, but I get lost when I'm given bigger circuits with more components, so that's something I need to work on. So far we've had more applied math than applied physics, whereas it's the opposite in ME. I could work in optical electronincs/ communications and semiconductors, which apply some areas of physics I enjoy.

    - Materials science and engineering : this degree seems to have more science than the other engineering disciplines mentioned, and it also involves some chemistry, which I like. Materials science can be applied to any industry (which is part of what appeals to me), but are there a lot of companies that hire MSE graduates ? Also can someone give me any insight into what you do in a materials science degree (are there a lot of labs, how much physics is there ...) ?

    - Physics : I love my physics classes, and I think I would enjoy studying the sujbect at university. But as I mentioned earlier, I want to work in applied science, so I would be getting a masters in something like engineering, material science, geophysics etc afterwards, and possibly a PhD. The advantage of this is that I would have more time to think about what exactly I want to do, as a physics degree is quite general and opens doors to many things at postgraduate level. Also, physics degrees are more flexible than engineering degrees (which are very rigid in structure in the UK), so I would be able to take more electives in other subjects, especially if I go to Scotland.
    But I feel like I might be better of with an engineering degree given that I want to work in an applied field. Any advice on this? Do employers mind if my undergraduate degree is in physics, even though I will have a masters in something more relevant to the job ?

    Basically, I want to work in applied science or engineering. An engineering degree seems to be the most straightforward way to get there (I'm leaning more towards mechanical engineering), but I think I might enjoy studying physics more. From various things I've been reading on UK forums and some of the replies to my previous post, it would seem that at least some universities don't really bother with the underlying physics in an engineering degree, and focus on teaching you how to design things. I want to learn the physics as well as be able to design things, which is making me reconsider a degree in engineering. If anyone has had a different experience at a UK university and disagrees with what I've said above (I may well be wrong), please enlighten me ^^.

    Also, I could do a postgraduate degree in many different things after a Bsc in physics, so I wouldn't have to make a decision right now, and I will be able to take more electives than in an engineering degree. I feel like a degree in physics is more flexible and less "specialised" (I know engineering is very broad as a subject, this is just how I feel ^^).
    BTW, I'm looking at universities that have a good record of getting placements in industry for physics students or even have a year in industry integrated into the degree, so I can get work experience in applied science before I graduate. My main worry with a physics degree + a masters in applied science/ engineering, is that employers would rather hire someone with a Beng instead.

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me and have a nice day :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2015 #2
    Thanks for the post! This is an automated courtesy bump. Sorry you aren't generating responses at the moment. Do you have any further information, come to any new conclusions or is it possible to reword the post?
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