Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Little help deciding which engineering discipline could most help me

  1. Oct 22, 2008 #1
    Hey guys, im a Sophmore Engineering Physics student and kinda have a decision to make. Basically after i get my bachelors i want to go to grad school in something to do with space.. rather it be Astrophysics, Astronomy, Planetary sciences.. etc.

    I already plan on having a minor in Astronomy so thats no problem, but this next semester is where my major allows me some freedom in choosing some engineering elective classes i want to take(i have to take 12hrs of eng electives). I have talked with some people and originally thought i would do some Aerospace eng because it interested me but have recently discovered that the prerequisites are crazy and that it would be too much trouble and time to get to take the classes in that subject.

    So basically my question is, if anyone has any experience in this field of work what concentration of engineering would most likely help me after i get my bachelors (so it would help me get into grad school and just work after school period). I thought maybe some kinda computer eng or something to help with knowing code and all that for astrophysics(modeling supernova explosions and stuff like that), but im not sure. Also with only 3 classes so 9hrs outta my electives i can have a Minor in Materials Sciences and Engineering, would that be worth it? would it really even apply to anything? Other than that any eng electives i take won't get me a minor but...

    What would you guys prescribe for a guy with my interests in space and freedom to take any engineering concentration classes.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 25, 2008 #2
    No one have any suggestions? just looking for someone who may have some insight to what skills are needed in the fields im interested in.
  4. Oct 25, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Why are you taking engineering if you plan to study astrophysics or some derivative in grad school? I would have thought you would need to study physics in order to do that.
  5. Oct 25, 2008 #4
    I am taking physics.. im an Engineering physics major.. I take all required classes for a physics major and i will be plenty qualified for grad school in astrophysics.

    I just have the opportunity to take some engineering electives with my major and were wondering which discipline of engineering would benefit me most in my interest fields (space related fields.)
  6. Oct 26, 2008 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Ok, so you take all required classes for a physics major, but on applying to grad school you will be up against students who have taken more in depth physics classes in place of your engineering classes.
  7. Oct 26, 2008 #6
    No.. because i take all of the physics major classes plus engineering classes... basically kinda a double major. Im really just looking for some advice about those engineering classes and what would maybe benefit me most in space related fields.
  8. Oct 26, 2008 #7
    What exactly is it that you want to do? Build spaceships or be an astronaut? There is no degree in "space" or any degree that will guarantee you a position in "space". You could get a degree in aerospace and work for NASA but the same could be done with a ME, EE, CE, CS, etc. If you just want to work on space related projects then get what ever degree you want just make sure its a field that you enjoy. Almost all of my professors, this includes MEs, EEs, CEs, Mathematicians, have worked for NASA at one point in time on space related projects. They all said they couldn't stand it, but thats a story for another day.
  9. Oct 26, 2008 #8
    Well an astronaut would be nice but im not really holding my breath on that one lol. But basically i haven't fully decided what i want to do.. which is making the decision even more difficult. I know i want to do some kinda of work that puts me in "space" things. I have most interest in Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences. I suppose i could go to grad school in some kinda of engineering but if i did it would be Aerospace, no other eng field really interests me enough to get a degree in it.

    I have to take some a certain number of Engineering electives i just need to pick which field they are in.. Like i said before i would have done aerospace but the prerequisites are ridiculous and i would have to go to school for another year just to take my elective classes(and wouldn't even get a minor in it). So basically its down to Materials and Sciences engineering and some kind of computer science/engineering and electrical engineering, because none of the other fields interest me that much and have the same problem as the aerospace did.

    I know that you can work for NASA with about any degree and ive had a few professors who worked for NASA and said they loved it.. but i guess different strokes for different folks. If i worked for NASA that would be great but that is not my ultimate goal. I guess you could say i just want to do research in a space related field... and ive even thought about teaching in college which also interests me.
  10. Mar 29, 2009 #9
    So, what did you choose?
  11. Mar 29, 2009 #10
    Im still doing the Engineering Physics thing...

    Gonna take Computer Science courses for my Engineering Electives, any kind of science research needs computer science skills.. and if i do not go to grad school i believe the computer science skills would make me more useable to many other employers.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook