Is ABET Accreditation Crucial for Engineering Physics Degrees?

  • Thread starter GPT
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In summary, the conversation revolves around the importance of an ABET accredited engineering undergraduate program for a career in engineering physics. While it may not be necessary for certain fields within engineering physics, having an ABET degree can provide a strong foundation and open up more opportunities. It is also noted that a PhD in physics may be necessary for certain positions in experimental physics. In addition, the importance of specialization and a fall-back plan is mentioned, with the suggestion to potentially pursue a relevant discipline and specialize in engineering physics at the master's level.
  • #1
GPT
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From the reading I've done I've gathered that selecting an ABET accredited engineering undergraduate program is generally a worthwhile endeavor. However, is it so worthwhile in the case of Engineering Physics? I ask because that is the degree I wish to obtain and it is not accredited at the university I will be attending. I don't want to close doors on myself but I'm under the impression that a physical engineer will generally not be providing services directly to the public unless he/she's working for a consulting agency, which doesn't seem to be where most physical engineers are employed anyway. Please do correct me if I am wrong.

This issue concerns me because I wish to work for an organization dealing in some way with space, experimental physics, and/or nanotechnology, respectively. I do not want to pursue a PhD, but I have not ruled out a masters (is a masters necessary to compete for entry-level jobs in these sectors as an engineer? I know there are a lot of BEng graduates out there now). I understand these positions may be quite competitive and I want to have a fall-back plan in case I cannot get the job. I'd like a PE certification to be included somewhere in that plan. Thus, back to the ABET accreditation. Oregon State University is accredited in virtually all the other main engineering disciplines. OSU does, however, offer MSc in engineering physics. Maybe I should just start with a relevant discipline and specialize in a branch of engineering physics at the masters level? I'd hate to do this however, because it seems backwards; engineering physics is usually an undergraduate degree.

Your thoughts?

GPT
 
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  • #2
If you want to work in experimental physics, you will definitely need a Ph.D in physics. Being a professional engineer would count for little. Nanotechnology is an extremely broad field. If you're more interested in the "applied" side of nanotech (electrical engineering), it may be advantageous to get an ABET degree. If you're more interested in the "science" side of nanotech (physics, chemistry, materials science), you will most likely need a Ph.D in one of those subjects.

Also, what do you mean by "space"? Do you mean astronautical engineering (orbital mechanics, etc) or space science (astrophysics, astronomy, atmospheric physics, etc)?

I would definitely get an ABET degree if you're not sure what you want to do. Even if you don't become a PE, it is a good degree by itself.
 
  • #3
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I understand your concern about the accreditation of your undergraduate program in engineering physics. Accreditation is important for ensuring that the program meets certain standards and prepares students for their future careers. However, the value of accreditation may vary depending on the specific field of engineering and the goals of the individual.

In the case of engineering physics, it may not be as critical to have an ABET accredited program as it would be for other engineering disciplines that deal more directly with public safety and welfare. That being said, accreditation can still provide valuable skills and knowledge that can benefit you in your future career.

It is true that many engineering physics positions may not require a PE certification, as they are often research-oriented and do not involve direct public services. However, having a PE certification can still be beneficial in terms of career advancement and credibility.

In terms of your career goals, it may be worth considering specializing in a branch of engineering physics at the master's level, as you mentioned. This can allow you to gain more specific knowledge and skills in your desired field while still having a strong foundation in engineering principles from your undergraduate degree.

Ultimately, the decision is yours and will depend on your personal goals and priorities. I would recommend researching and speaking with professionals in the field to get a better understanding of the career paths and opportunities available with different degrees and specializations. Best of luck in your academic and professional journey.
 

What is accreditation and why is it important?

Accreditation is the process of evaluating and verifying the quality and standards of an institution or program. It ensures that the institution or program meets certain criteria and maintains a level of excellence. It is important because it provides validation and credibility to the institution or program, and ensures that students are receiving a quality education.

Who provides accreditation and how do they determine if an institution or program is accredited?

Accreditation is typically provided by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the US Department of Education. These agencies have specific criteria and standards that institutions and programs must meet in order to be accredited. They use a rigorous evaluation process, including site visits and peer review, to determine if an institution or program meets these standards.

What are the benefits of attending an accredited institution or program?

Attending an accredited institution or program has many benefits. It ensures that your degree or certificate will be recognized and accepted by other institutions and employers. It also ensures that you are receiving a quality education that meets industry standards. In addition, many financial aid and scholarship opportunities require students to attend accredited institutions or programs.

How does accreditation impact the reputation of an institution or program?

Accreditation can have a significant impact on the reputation of an institution or program. It demonstrates that the institution or program has met rigorous standards and has been evaluated by an independent third party. This can enhance the institution's credibility and attract more students and faculty. On the other hand, lack of accreditation or loss of accreditation can damage the reputation of an institution or program.

What happens if an institution or program loses accreditation?

If an institution or program loses accreditation, it can have serious consequences. Students may no longer be eligible for financial aid or transfer credits. Employers may not recognize degrees or certificates from the institution. The institution may also face legal and financial repercussions. In order to regain accreditation, the institution or program must go through a reevaluation process and make necessary improvements to meet the standards again.

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