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Programs How Feasible Is It? Changing English major to Physics major

Yea, but that is not an entry level position either. It requires 5 years of experience. I'll still apply for it though, thx for the link.

I have applied to places by listing both my masters and BS, I have also applied with only my BS on my resume with the same thoughts you mentioned here. I have also applied to jobs with no degree on my resume at all, and these are the jobs I actually get interviews for. They are not tech jobs, but working in a restaurant does pay the bills.
You might want to continue searching in my area. Jobs are flowing here.
Yes we don't like to be pigeonholed which is what makes a physics degree so enticing. But if you take a look at the typical physics curriculum at most universities(unless it is engineering physics, or you are able to pick up some kind of engineering minor) are there any courses that cover any topics in, say, computer engineering? Typically not.

The typical undergraduate curriculum for physics is classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, etc. These course cover the most basic, general representation of the theories therein. None of them cover VLSI design or RF or signal processing, or vehicle control systems.

With this in mind, is it logical to assume that someone with a physics degree would be qualified for any positions in engineering such as those that deal with the topics above WITHOUT rigorous on-the-job training IF it is provided (in most postings I've seen, usually not)?
From what I can tell, I have the option of choosing computer engineering classes when I get to a particular math. Right now I'm taking CIS 201 (I think, though the number could be off). It's basically the second part of CIS. I'm very interested in the physics engineering courses though. Some colleges are actually offering this, while others are still holding off. I'll check with the university I'll be transferring to and see if the program is offered. If so, I'll probably take that path.
No one is trying to discourage you, but the issue is you're not listening to their advice. You claim to be a realist, but you are adamant in wanting people to validate your idea of the reality.

Look up posts by ParticleGrl and twofish-quant if you want extended accounts on what it's like. Also look up the "So You Want To Be A Physicist?" video on YouTube.

Most physics majors don't go to grad school. Most physics PhDs don't do physics beyond grad school or their post doc. Twofish has argued that his work in finance was a lot like his work in physics, and he seemed to like it.

Before jumping into this, maybe try to learn some calculus or mechanics on your own, or take the classes.

edit: I've just started studying physics myself, but I know I *will* have to get creative if I want a job. I have a few things in mind, and most of them have nothing to do with physics. For e.g, writing self help.
Sincere best wishes and good luck with your career choice. The only thing I can add is to go with your instincts. From what I can gather few people have a good word to say about career advisors.
So I do have a phd in theoretical physics. After my phd from a top school, I spent some time as a bartender while I completely retooled in order to get an insurance job.

Its really important to have a goal for what you want to do AFTER your physics degree, because this will inform what you study. Right now, your vaguely stated goal is to try to become a theoretical physicist- thats fine, but you have to realize what that involves- your electives will be geared toward getting you in to grad school (there are no theory jobs for bachelors holders). Instead of taking engineering electives, you'll be taking more math classes and higher level physics electives.

This is going to leave you less qualified (probably unqualified) for engineering jobs, more qualified to do theory research in grad school. If your goal is a job in your current area- you'd be better served looking at the job postings and aiming for the additional skills you need (take more CS, or more chemistry, or more whatever, and less physics). Thats why having a goal to help guide you is important.

Also, you've said you've already taken 40+ credit hours- how many of those were technical courses? If you use your non-technical courses to fill out your degree, you could end up with a very bare-bones physics degree. If all your electives are humanities courses (instead of engineering or more advanced physics), then what sorts of jobs will you chase? Technical writing? Do you already have some technical skills (programming, etc)?
I don't understand why you wouldn't pursue some form of applied physics. Sure, it lacks the sex appeal of trying to find a grand unified theory of nature and becoming Einstein the 2nd, but you get to do some awesome stuff and improve your chances of getting paid to do it.

For instance, I'm heavily considering getting a masters or phd in solid state electrical engineering since that seems like the most straightforward jump from where I currently stand and it's still pretty cool stuff even when compared to the quantum field theory I originally thought I'd study. Students at my school who do their PhD's in applied physics seem to get funneled into the local engineering employers.
I do have to address an absurd and irritating implicit distortion of reality consistently happening on these threads: engineering majors always get jobs. They don't. Lots of my engineering friends are struggling horribly to get jobs right now. Not all of them granted and the best guys who did internships and made connections in particular have no trouble getting employed.

A friend of mine is a physics major who got an internship at a top engineering employer. He will have zero trouble getting a job there after he graduates, his boss said so! A EEE with no internship experience would have a hard time getting such a job. See a trend? If you pursue physics and only think of an academic career track, you're screwing yourself.

Just getting a degree actually does little for you whether it's in engineering or physics. Academic skills often don't transfer as well as people think. A family member of mine is a well payed engineer, and he claims to use less than 10% of what he learned in college! There are certain engineering jobs which are heavily related to what one learns in academia, but the majority of engineering jobs consist of learning lots of ever evolving skills. All of my physics friends who are in engineering positions (there are several of those!) found themselves to be at worst slightly behind their peers. Those who were good at programming outmatched the EEE people since they don't learn much programming either.

To drive this point further, a friend of mine has less than a 3.0 gpa. He works at a top EEE employer. How did he get there? Purely through connections. Had he cold called them, he wouldn't have gotten past mentioning his GPA since this particular employer has a high cutoff (somewhere around 3.8 or 3.75 or so). I think a lot of people in this thread are missing the point on how this employment thing works.


Education Advisor
Gold Member
Networking has always been, and always will be, the greatest factor in any job search.

The man wants to study physics, study physics.
Networking is better had in the engineering department. Physics professors often never had an industry job in their life. My undergrad research professor has been in academia his whole life. My grad school research professor worked in industry a few decades back. Almost none of my physics professors ever had a non-university technical job. Every single one of my engineering professors (so far) has.

I think networking is one of the many things that distinguishes engineering as more employable than physics. In engineering departments they often organize internships and most students do them. In the physics department you do research on campus if you are lucky.

I encourage physics majors to go crash the engineer's party and do their internships if you can. Of course, you might as well major in engineering at that point...
Yeah the environment and culture is more conducive to networking. If you just want a job, you shouldn't be getting a physics degree; no doubt the engineering department is superior in that regard.

But if you happen to be a physics major with a change of heart or in need of a back up plan with a year or two left to go, I think that an internship in your undergrad would put you in the same boat as the engineers.
At my school you are not allowed to apply for the school sponsored engineering internships unless you are an engineering major of a certain standing. Of course you can always try to arrange an internship yourself, outside of the school system.

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