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Physics(astronomy) major vs engineer major

  1. Oct 17, 2015 #1
    I am a high school student and currently planning to apply for undergrad studies but i am bit confused in deciding my major.I am pretty sure that I want to major in field related to physics .I am interested in astronomy /astrophysics
    and also interested in engineering .Please can anyone give a detailed explanation of type of physics covered in both.I cannot think a day without physics and thats why I want to major in physics rated degree.Should I choose physics major as my undergrad major and then decide which sub field I wanted to study.
    Any help appreciated (I planning go till Phd)
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 17, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    In the US, every college or university lists on their web sites, the course requirements for their degrees. Is this not true in your country?
  4. Oct 18, 2015 #3
    I was in the same predicament. My university offered a double major in electrical engineering and physics. In undergrad, the EE learns basic mechanics and electromagnetics. Mechanical subs emag for statics and dynamics and thermo. The physics goes through thermo, special relativity, intermediate mechanics, and basic quantum theory. Astronomy, of course, will have some of its own courses. Both EE and physics take the same math. The curriculums for engineering and physics are mostly the same for the first 2 or 3 semesters, so that will give you a chance to sample both before deciding.

    If you plan on doing a PhD no matter what, then the engineering becomes very theoretical and more closely linked to what a physicist does (depending on what engineering you do). Like in EE, many professors work closely with physics department on a variety of different subjects.

    It's also not uncommon for a physicist with a PhD to go into industry as an engineer. It's easier to transition from physics to engineering than vice versa in my opinion. (This might be more difficult if you specialized in astronomy, not sure).

    At the end of the day, I asked myself "in 30 years, what would I regret more: not pursuing physics at the graduate level, or not pursuing engineering at the graduate level?" And that made the choice easy. If I didn't pursue physics, I would end up kicking myself.
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