1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Engineering Is Engineering Physics a well known degree?

  1. Oct 26, 2009 #1
    If one were to get a B.Sc. in Engineering Physics, would one be seen as an engineer or a scientist?

    I have some trepidation about continuing in EngPhys if I won't be considered for engineering positions after college. I remember reading somewhere that most employers see an EngPhys degree as a science degree, not an engineering degree.

    Will this be detrimental to my job search after graduation?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 26, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Considering some prestigious universities offer an Engineering Physics program, then it would appear that people do take it seriously. I think companies do take it seriously, and it's a good background for someone going on to a graduate degree.
  4. Oct 26, 2009 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    You may want to find out, if you haven't already, if the Engineering Physics program at your University is ABET accredited. At my University, it is not.

    Here is a site that can help you:


    As you can see, U.C. Berkeley's Engineering Physics program is ABET accredited. You can choose or search for your University to verify this for yourself.

  5. Oct 26, 2009 #4
    No, it's not as well known. This probably won't be an issue if it is ABET accredited and if you are applying to jobs that just want an engineer and don't care about flavor, although I wouldn't be surprised if an engineering physics application were automatically thrown out by HR with the engineering technology apps, etc. The overall reputation of your school will also come into play here. No one will mistake a B.S. from MIT for a community college technology degree, and they make take the time to figure out what the major is actually about.

    The degree can be good prep for grad school, but it will put you at a (possibly negligible) disadvantage on the job market, and you'll have a hard time breaking into any job that requires a specific engineering concentration. No one will ever ask for engineering physics in a job posting. In my mind it's almost like having a general engineering B.A. with a physics minor. The ABET stamp will help with that perception if your recruiter is familiar with ABET accreditation.

    None of this will be an issue if you get a job through your school's network. Recruiters and alumni from your school should be familiar with the program. See where alumni from your school's program regularly end up. Maybe there's already a path there that you'd like.
  6. Oct 26, 2009 #5
    Hello, i also have some questions about this issue. I will be attending the university of michigan next fall and want to major in engineering physics. The problem is: it does not have an ABET accredication (which was kinda surprising to me)! I do plan on going into grad school though. Would the lacking of the ABET accrediation still be harmful in the job market or in applying for grad school (engineering grad school to be specific)?

    Thank you for your advice
  7. Oct 26, 2009 #6
    It will be an issue for some jobs, especially if it is a B.A., but a lot depends on your networking and what you want to do when you graduate. The lack of accreditation probably won't matter for grad school since your school is well known, but it depends on what you want to study. The major may help overall for grad school.
  8. Oct 26, 2009 #7
    I feel that i should elaborate a little. I want to major in engineering phyics with a concentration on nuclear engineering. The enigneeing physics program is a B.S.E. not a B.A. My plan is to go to grad school (i know that i will go to grad school but i dont know if it will be for a Masters or PhD. Probably a PhD). My dream would be to go into research on nuclear fusion and i feel that the engineering physics would give me background in both practical engineering as well as more theoretical type physics. If this were to be my path, would the lack of ABET still be harmful?
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
  9. Oct 26, 2009 #8
    That sounds like a reasonable plan to me given what I've read on here, but I don't have any personal experience with nuclear engineering graduate programs. I wouldn't worry about the ABET in your case. Check the requirements for specific graduate programs you might be interested in, and talk to your advisor about how to best prepare.
  10. Oct 26, 2009 #9
    This is really my concern
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  11. Oct 28, 2009 #10
    I am currently attending Cornell University as a freshman under the Engineering Physics major. According to the 2009 E.P graduates, around 60% got a job while the other appx 40% are going into their graduates studies under Applied and Engineering Physics, MechE, Physics, etc.
    Of course the name of the college you attend matters, since it affects how the company views the program of the degree given there.
    But having E.P degree is by no means a deterrent for your career. In fact, I heard from my advisor that companies that hired E.Ps before are coming back every year because the E.P students have the practical knowledge that could be applied directly to the company works.
  12. Dec 28, 2009 #11
    EP also varies according to what school you go to, which is why I think that how companies view you will be mostly due to how you brand yourself and explain the education you received.

    At my school (University of Alberta), I'd say that about 60-70% of the courses in the EP program are identical to the Electrical Engineering curriculum (the electrostatics and electrodynamics courses are taken in the Physics department). Then we get extra courses in Quantum Mechanics, Optics, Statistical Physics, Condensed Matter Physics, and two hands-on physics laboratory courses, with a lot of choice of options in 4th year. We lose out on a probability course, a power systems course, and a communications course (I believe) but I suppose if you do need these you can take them as options in 4th year.

    So there's a lot of overlap since QM and optics can be used in EE (nanotechology, optoelectronics, etc..), but also in a lot of other things. These physics concepts are all things that engineers need to worry about as well.

    In the end, we are treated as engineers by the school. The program is accredited by the CEAB, so we have to do the required amount of ethics/management stuff as well.

    It's definitely geared to someone that wants to do "cutting-edge" research work (whether in engineering or science) in industry, or moving on to graduate school.
  13. Dec 30, 2009 #12


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Here's some information on Engineering Physics program at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.

    For comparison -
    Engineering physics at U of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL

    http://tbp.ec.uiuc.edu/eguide/engphys.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook