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Physic or engineer?

  1. Dec 21, 2012 #1
    Currently i am doing a physic major(first semester) and even though i hated it the experimental courses, I loved the dynamics part with a touch on the relativity. Right now, i am not planning to be a physcist, i am doing this for educational and interest purpose only.
    When one asks himself between physic and let s say mechanical engineering, what should he consider?
    Also, i am a little concerned about job prospects, but i believe that a physic degree can provide a great basis for in fact, any field.
    I would like to know opinions from experimented person, and if you could specify your current status it would be great. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I am of the strong opinion that for just about everyone, by far the most important reason to go to college is to prepare for a career. It should therefore be the basis for such decisions.
  4. Dec 21, 2012 #3
    Job opportunities for a Physicist are lower than those of an engineer...
  5. Dec 21, 2012 #4
    Especially if you're the type of physics major who hates the applied/experimental side of things.
  6. Dec 21, 2012 #5


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Gold Member

    I agree.

    If you aren't planning on being a physicist, you should start looking into other fields. Yes physics is interesting, but it's more difficult getting a job with a BS in physics than with a BS in engineering.
  7. Dec 22, 2012 #6
    If you really don't want to be a physicist, don't study physics, quite simply.

    If you want some degree of certainty of the jobs you'll have after graduating, you'd probably be better off not going for an academic career like physics or math and pursuing a profession like engineering. That probably goes double if you're shelling out a lot of money for your education like in the states or in the UK.

    If you're not running up huge debt for your undergrad (or getting it fully paid for as I am) maybe an academic career is ok if you are really convinced you enjoy what you're studying, but don't place any bets on what kind of job you'll get. At least you'll spend 4-5 years doing what you like without ending up in debt.

    But if you don't like entry level experimental courses in a physics degree, I think you'd be pretty miserable in engineering, irrespective of job prospects.
  8. Dec 22, 2012 #7


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    Engineering ought to give you a handful in physics education to maybe satiate your thirst, and shows you how we use it in reality. If you're that ambitious you can only do a dual degree, since most subjects overlap nicely...
  9. Dec 22, 2012 #8
    Electrical Engineering did not satiate my desire for physics knowledge, which is why I did a double degree in physics. OP, see if you can do something like that; I know more theory than most engineering undergraduates and alot more experimental methods than any ugrad physics majors I know. Engineering and physics classes do not overlap as much as most would like to think, and even in the subjects that do they don't overlap nicely. Maybe look for an accredited engineering physics degree or like I said try to double major.
  10. Dec 22, 2012 #9
    By the way, it's spelled "physics", not "physic". "physic" is a medicine that stimulates evacuation of the bowels.

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