Is a Double Degree in EE and Physics Worth the Extra Year?

In summary: I think that is worth it, especially if you want to do something like actuary science. In summary, it depends on what you want to do. If you intend to get into optics or anything involving electromagnetism, or if you want to get into the semiconductor field, the additional physics courses will be helpful. Bear in mind that you are already 26, so it may not be as important to get the degree with the 5 year course. However, if you change your mind in the future and want to pursue a physics degree, it would be a good idea to do so. Employers may not be as impressed if you have a degree in physics and an unrelated degree, but if you have a degree in engineering
  • #1
Stepka
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I'm in Australia and a standard EE degree is 4 years. My uni has a EE+Physics combo which is 5 years but you graduate with both a B.Eng and B.Sci. Here is the list of units:
http://handbook.curtin.edu.au/courses/32/321827.html

Bear in mind that I'm 26 so I'm already getting into the game late. Apart from purely satisfying my interest, is an additional physics background worth it for an EE, or is it better to just stick with the 4 year course? How would employers perceive it?
 
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  • #2
It depends on what you want to do. If you intend to get into optics or anything involving electromagnetism, or if you want to get into the semiconductor field, the additional physics courses will be helpful.

I'm an EE major myself, and I wish I'd taken more physics, but money has been a problem in that regard.
 
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  • #3
Stepka said:
How would employers perceive it?
Can you talk with your academic advisor to find out what kinds of jobs the combined degree graduates have been going into? That may start to help you decide whether to pursue that combined degree. If the jobs that they are getting sound interesting, it may be worth it.

I don't think that such a combined degree would help in any of the jobs I've worked over the years as an EE (R&D in telecommunications and medical devices and embedded systems). But I'm sure there are some jobs that can benefit from the combined background, as mentioned by @rwm4768
 
  • #4
Double degrees are always good as they give you more options when you graduate.

My observation is for Engineering in Australia they are moving towards a Masters degree being your initial qualification in engineering. Curtin is no exception:
http://handbook.curtin.edu.au/courses/32/321879.html

A more flexible option would be a bachelor of physics that contains some engineering subjects that would likely give you exemptions in your Masters. When you are finished you can then decide if you want to pursue physics or still do engineering. A degree in physics, because it contains a fair amount of math is also good preparation for quantitative professions you can do a Masters in such as Actuarial Science. So if you feel your interests have changed you can pursue one of these opportunities.

The only issue I see is the course is not yet accredited by Engineers Australia. For a school with the good reputation Curtin has that would seem just a formality, but best to inquire about it if you want to go down that path.

Having seen my interests change during my math studies IMHO flexibility is quite important. I personally would go the Masters route - but it is one of those hard decisions we all have to make from time to time.

Thanks
Bill
 
  • #5
I would go for the double major. Since you are already late into the game as you saying , being 26 or 27 doesn't matter that much, so you better grab the extra major for only 1 extra year.

My only concern would be if you can take on the increased load of study cause i am sure a double major though it costs only 1 year extra it will demand much more study and pass more courses/per year. Especially if you already have some work load (i guess you being 26 already must have some sort of work) and you plan to study along with your work this will make it even harder.
 
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  • #6
Thank you all for your responses.

In terms of long term goals, I'd like to be an engineer and work on projects that advance science in some way, e.g. things like the LHC, ITER, LIGO, observatories, NASA, square-kilometer array, etc. (not necessarily these exact places/projects, but something in that direction). So I'd like a good fundamental understanding of physics but without going all the way down the physics path and getting a PhD.

One of the main things stopping me is I've heard that double majors for engineers may actually be viewed negatively, because it limits the choices in electives and may make you seem unfocused to employers. Is this true? In my case it would be even worse, since I already have an unrelated degree (economics) from the same uni, so I'd wind up with 3 undergrad degrees all from the same institution. Assuming I do well in this degree(s), would that be a significant issue when looking for work? I realize it's quite a weird path so it's bound to raise some red flags with employers.
 
  • #7
My university did that too. I didn't find out until my last semester though...
I work in semiconductors and carbon electronics.
I really wish I would have known about it. I would have gone that route.
But, I am the opposite as I was a Physics student.
I think the physics will help you understand the engineering more, and the engineering will be more usable in the job market.
 
  • #8
You guys have mentioned semiconductors, but what about superconductivity and how it relates to nuclear fusion? Is this a common area for EE's or still primarily the domain of PhD physicists?
 

Related to Is a Double Degree in EE and Physics Worth the Extra Year?

1. Is a double degree in EE and Physics worth the extra year?

It ultimately depends on your personal goals and career aspirations. A double degree in EE and Physics can open up a wide range of career opportunities in industries such as electronics, telecommunications, energy, and research. It also provides a strong foundation in both theoretical and practical knowledge, making you a versatile and highly skilled professional.

2. What are the benefits of pursuing a double degree in EE and Physics?

A double degree in EE and Physics can provide a well-rounded education in both fields, giving you a competitive edge in the job market. It also allows you to develop a diverse set of skills, from problem-solving and critical thinking to technical and analytical abilities. Additionally, having knowledge in both disciplines can lead to innovative and interdisciplinary solutions to complex problems.

3. How long does it take to complete a double degree in EE and Physics?

The duration of a double degree program varies, but it typically takes an extra year compared to a single degree program. This is because you will have to complete the required courses for both degrees, which may have some overlap but also include unique courses for each discipline.

4. Will a double degree in EE and Physics be more challenging than a single degree?

Yes, pursuing a double degree in EE and Physics can be more challenging as it requires a heavier course load and a higher level of commitment. However, it can also be more rewarding as you will gain a deeper understanding of two complementary fields and have a wider range of career options upon graduation.

5. Can I still pursue a double degree in EE and Physics if I have a specific career path in mind?

Yes, a double degree in EE and Physics can be beneficial for various career paths, including engineering, research, academia, and even entrepreneurship. It provides a strong foundation in both fields and allows you to specialize in a particular area through your choice of electives and research projects. You can also tailor your degree to align with your career goals by choosing relevant courses and internships.

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