Need some help deciding between Physics, EE and CE

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In summary, the speaker is a new member of a physics forum seeking advice on which degree to pursue at a university in their country. They are currently accepted for Computer Engineering but are unsure if it is the right fit and are considering a specialized degree in Electrical Engineering or Physics. The speaker's passion lies in both physics and computers, but they are also concerned about financial stability in the future. They have spoken to a professor who recommended Electrical Engineering, but have also heard mixed reviews about the program. They have three questions: which degree would best suit them, what is the difference between the mindset of a physicist and an engineer, and what questions should they be asking themselves to understand their desired area of study. Unfortunately, the university does not offer the
  • #1
Commando Man
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Hey guys,
I'm new to to Physics Forum so I hope I'm in the right section for posting this kind of question and I'm sorry in a head for my only OK English.
So first I'll give you a little background and then I'll ask the questions you're here to actually answer. :smile:

I've been accepted for Computer Engineering studies in a very good university in my country but I'm not really sure it's the right thing for me. This university offers two different specialized degrees of Electrical Engineering: the one being Computer Engineering and the other being in Microelectronics and Opto-elctrocnics (I will refer to this one as just EE). The first is considered superb and the second I'm actually not so sure about (more explanations ahead).

Other then that the university also offers a physics degree which is considered the best one in my country. My passion is mainly to physics (understanding rationally or mathematically how things work, why they do and wondering about things I see or think about) and also to computers (I like the thinking part of it and solving riddles) while I also like playing around with technology to better understand it and building things.

My aspiration is to help work and understand new or interesting phenomena or tech rather then how to make money out of it. But there's also reality and I know that I will have to eventually sometime in the distant future take care of a family and I wouldn't want them to live poor or that I'd have to find myself saying to them "we don't have money for that" all the time.

So I went and talked to a professor of the EE specialization and described all this to him, and he said that this one would best suit me, but he's a bit biased... I've also heard talk from students that the degree is somewhat unorganized/ lacking and just OK. The plus part about it is that I can continue to a Msc in applied physics for just one more year of studying with this particular degree (so it would take the same amount of time for a Msc in applied physics coming from either physics or EE bsc).

With CE I can continue to a Msc in CS for just one more year or to applied physics for the standard two years. Time and money is not my issue currently - I'm relatively young and from what you've hopefully understood I do intend on continuing to research.
(In CE I can take some classes of the other specialization but less vice-versa).

Here come the questions:
1) Which degree do you think would best suit me: Physics, CE or EE?
2) Why do I keep hearing about the different mindset of physicist vs Engineers? What does it actually mean (is it budget concerns, practicality, etc..)?
3) What questions should I be asking myself to understand what I want to study?

Thanks in ahead!:smile:
 
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  • #2
Welcome to the PF.

At your university, do you have the ability to declare your major at the end of your first two years? That gives you the best exposure to the physics/EE/CS majors, and gives you time to find what you enjoy the most. In my undergrad (in the US), this feature was very important for me, since I changed my major after my first year from ME/EE double major to EE/CS (even though I found that Physics was my real passion).
 
  • #3
berkeman said:
Welcome to the PF.

At your university, do you have the ability to declare your major at the end of your first two years? That gives you the best exposure to the physics/EE/CS majors, and gives you time to find what you enjoy the most. In my undergrad (in the US), this feature was very important for me, since I changed my major after my first year from ME/EE double major to EE/CS (even though I found that Physics was my real passion).

Hi, thanks. Unfortunately we don't have that option in my country. Although I guess I could change after a year or so if I'd really want to provided I have good grades but that would mean I would have to also take some classes I missed...
 
  • #4
Just a small point of communications. The abbreviation CE is usually understood in the USA as referring to Civil Engineering. You might want to consider some other short form.
 

Related to Need some help deciding between Physics, EE and CE

1. What are the main differences between Physics, EE, and CE?

Physics is a broad field that focuses on understanding the fundamental laws and principles that govern the universe. It involves the study of matter, energy, and their interactions. Electrical engineering (EE) focuses on the design, development, and implementation of electrical systems, such as power generation and distribution, communication systems, and electronic devices. Computer engineering (CE) combines principles from both electrical engineering and computer science to design and develop computer systems and software.

2. Which field has the best job prospects?

All three fields have excellent job prospects and are in high demand in various industries. Physics graduates can work in research and development, education, and technical writing. EE graduates can find job opportunities in industries such as telecommunications, power generation, and electronics. CE graduates can work in industries such as computer hardware and software development, information technology, and telecommunications.

3. What skills are needed for each field?

Physics requires a strong foundation in mathematics and analytical thinking skills. EE requires a strong understanding of physics, as well as problem-solving and design skills. CE requires a combination of electrical engineering and computer science knowledge, as well as programming skills. Additionally, all three fields require strong communication and teamwork skills.

4. Can I switch between these fields after graduation?

Yes, it is possible to switch between these fields after graduation, but it may require additional education or training. For example, a physics graduate may need to take additional courses in engineering to work in the EE or CE fields, while an EE or CE graduate may need to take additional courses in physics to work in the physics field. It is important to carefully consider your interests and career goals before making a decision.

5. Which field has the highest earning potential?

The earning potential in all three fields is high, but it ultimately depends on factors such as your job role, industry, and location. In general, EE and CE graduates tend to have higher earning potential compared to physics graduates, but this can vary depending on individual circumstances. It is important to research the job market and salary expectations for each field to make an informed decision.

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