Need career guidance regarding Engineering and Physics.

In summary, the conversation revolves around the dilemma of pursuing a career in physics despite financial constraints. The individual is considering obtaining an engineering degree as a backup plan and then pursuing a PhD in physics, but is unsure if this is a viable route. The conversation also discusses the possibility of crossover between engineering and physics and the similarities in day-to-day work between scientists and engineers. Ultimately, the individual is seeking advice on the best path to take for their education and career goals.
  • #1
mindstealth
1
0
Hi guys, this is my first post on the forum as a joined just a few minutes ago.

So I'm stuck in a very complex situation in life. I really want to become a physicist but duo to some reason it's not an easy choice for me. My only parents have enough money to support my education up until my bachelors as I have two siblings who are going college in a few years too. So getting into physics might not be a really good choice for me as good jobs are very scarce which is why I have decided to get into engineering(Electrical) so at least I can support myself a little after my graduation. What I'm planning on doing is to have a degree in engineering as a backup and then pursue my education in physics but I'm not sure if it's actually possible. What route do I have to take to start with an engineering degree and then head on to ph.d in Physics maybe. I want to know if it's actually viable to pursue such a career path and how hard will it be? Getting admission doesn't seem like a problem right now as I've already got admission in a few of Engineering colleges, so my only problem is that I want to know if this is a possible route which I'm trying to take. Some of my friends told me it's possible to graduate with an engineering degree and then masters in physics and from there continue my education but it doesn't make sense to me, how can I get masters in physics when I don't have bachelors.
 
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  • #3
1. You may want to look into engineering physics undergraduate programs, just in case you haven't heard of them.

2. Once you're finished your bachelor's degree most graduate students are supported on stipends and shouldn't require any more financial assistance from others.

3. You're not alone. Most people who want to go into physics experience this dilemma at some point. They all reach their own conclusions.

4. It isn't that uncommon for engineering undergrads to cross over into physics. If you're thinking about this try to use your electives to cover as many of the required courses for a physics degree as you can - preferably the ones that don't overlap with any of your engineering courses. Graduate admission committees are often more interested in content than titles.
 
  • #4
ZapperZ said:
You might want to read this thread:

https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=410271

Zz.

That is an interesting thread! As an EE who specialized in plasma physics, I can say that some of the "applied physics" portions of EE can lead to careers that are not so different than those of a physicist (mine didn't, but some students I went to grad school with did). When I applied for grad schools I specified plasma physics and electromagnetics; I actually got an offer from an EE prof. who did accelerator physics and I must say his lab was very cool.

Recently my group at work has been interviewing a lot of new physics PhDs (all experimentalists). I always ask, "how do you feel about no longer doing science in your day-to-day work?" The typical response is along these lines: Their day-to-day research in grad school was mostly programming, designing and building parts, testing, more testing, even more testing, and finally data analysis (which involved even more programming). The actual contact with the detailed, interesting physics was a small percentage of their time, so a job solving problems outside of pure science would not be that large of a change. EDIT: the point of this paragraph is that much of the day-to-day work of a scientist and engineer can be quite similar in many cases.

Having said that, as Choppy indicates it is possible to go from EE undergrad to physics grad, and I had a physics prof that had done that.

best of luck.

jason
 
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  • #5
jasonRF said:
That is an interesting thread! As an EE who specialized in plasma physics, I can say that some of the "applied physics" portions of EE can lead to careers that are not so different than those of a physicist (mine didn't, but some students I went to grad school with did). When I applied for grad schools I specified plasma physics and electromagnetics; I actually got an offer from an EE prof. who did accelerator physics and I must say his lab was very cool.

Recently my group at work has been interviewing a lot of new physics PhDs (all experimentalists). I always ask, "how do you feel about no longer doing science in your day-to-day work?" The typical response is along these lines: Their day-to-day research in grad school was mostly programming, designing and building parts, testing, more testing, even more testing, and finally data analysis (which involved even more programming). The actual contact with the detailed, interesting physics was a small percentage of their time, so a job solving problems outside of pure science would not be that large of a change. EDIT: the point of this paragraph is that much of the day-to-day work of a scientist and engineer can be quite similar in many cases.

Having said that, as Choppy indicates it is possible to go from EE undergrad to physics grad, and I had a physics prof that had done that.

best of luck.

jason

Thank you for giving me one of the most concrete proof of what I have been saying. I also know that the physics students who went through a program where they do a lot of what is normally "engineering" work tend to get hired faster.

Zz.
 

Related to Need career guidance regarding Engineering and Physics.

1. What types of engineering and physics careers are available?

There are a wide variety of engineering and physics careers available, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, and more. In terms of physics careers, common options include research and development, teaching, and applications in industries such as energy, healthcare, and technology.

2. What education and training is required for a career in engineering or physics?

Most engineering and physics careers require at least a bachelor's degree in a related field. Many positions also require a graduate degree, such as a master's or PhD. Additionally, internships and hands-on experience can be valuable for gaining practical skills and making connections in the industry.

3. What skills and qualities are important for success in engineering and physics careers?

Strong analytical and problem-solving skills are essential for both engineering and physics careers. Attention to detail, creativity, and the ability to work well in teams are also important qualities. Additionally, a strong foundation in math and science, as well as strong communication skills, are crucial for success in these fields.

4. How can I determine which specific engineering or physics field is right for me?

It can be helpful to research different fields and talk to professionals in those areas to gain a better understanding of the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. Additionally, internships and job shadowing experiences can provide valuable hands-on experience and help you determine which field aligns best with your interests and skills.

5. What opportunities for career growth and advancement are available in engineering and physics?

There are many opportunities for career growth and advancement in engineering and physics. With experience and additional education, individuals can move up to higher positions such as project managers, research directors, or professors. Additionally, there are opportunities to specialize in a specific area or branch out into related fields.

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