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Physics PhD in physics vs engineering

  1. Nov 26, 2016 #1
    Hey all,

    I'm a final year MEng student in engineering physics (a very broad degree) at a recognized Scandinavian technical university. I'm deciding what to do with my life, and my personal dream is to get into business in the long term, preferably in something high-tech that's growing (hopefully even do a startup). In connection to this I'm thinking about doing a (3-4 year) PhD at a very famous European university, and deciding on which field: Biophysics, photonics, computational science or bioengineering.

    Right now I'm leaning towards PhD in bioengineering. In the past decades biology has become very well integrated with computational methods, principles of engineering, rigorous physics, and this has bred new and exciting subfields like neural engineering, artificial organs, genetical engineering, biomonitoring devices (and phone apps) and so on. It's a field on the rise IMO, and if there's one thing any person would pay allot of money for, it's their own and their loved ones' healths. So you got a huge market, scattered competition and up-and-coming disruptive technologies.

    In addition, a PhD program in engineering will teach you allot of soft skills that a PhD in physics wont.

    What do you guys think? Which field has the largest potential for the future? Do I have ground-contact or am I being delusional?
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 26, 2016 #2


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    My 2 cents:
    I personally feel that bioengineering will be a very exciting and satisfying field in the future -- especially if you include genetic engineering. I am overwhelmed by the thought of all the robotic and artificial devices (mind controlled?) and the possibility of designing genetic cures for ailments of all sorts.

    PS. I jumped the gun and wrote the above before I even read your second paragraph. I totally agree with what you said. Whether there are better fields or not, this one should be very good.

    PPS. Regardless of the money involved (I have never been very driven by $), it would be nice to be in a field that is so rewarding on a personal level. I am a sucker for the youtube videos of people hearing for the first time with Cochlear implants.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
  4. Nov 26, 2016 #3
    Yeah I completely agree with you, and I also think neural implants is very exciting, just imagine being able to permanently cure blindness (except in cases of severe brain damage), or artificially enhance cognition!

    To be honest my main goal is to do something that matters in our society and become a businessman, and I think a PhD might be a better, if riskier, route than industry experience + MBA
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