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Physics B.S. going for Electrical Engineering M.S Experiences?

  1. Aug 20, 2014 #1
    Hi all. So I've stalked the forum for the past few months or so and read more threads than I can count. Figured it was time to join up and post a bit. The title basically says everything I want to ask, but let me go into a bit more detail.

    I'm 21 and I graduated with a Physics B.S. this Spring and am heading straight into an EE M.S. program where I'll focus on photonics and opto-electronics. I lucked out hard and, because of a bunch of factors, don't have any courses to make up. Despite that, I'm apprehensive about what I'll be up against just jumping straight into engineering with virtually no "applicable" engineering academic background. I should probably mention that I'm taking solid state electronics, E&M in electronics, and a modern optics class (offered by the physics department), so my first semester is basically just physics classes as far as I can tell. My subsequent semesters (providing class offerings are favorable) are looking to be very similar with classes on lasers, semiconductor devices, photonics, quantum in EE, etc.

    Now a bit about me. I've done a ton of research focusing on satellite development and atmospheric physics. Most of my contributions were in the form of optics development, algorithms, and electronics testing, so it's definitely at least a little relevant. That said, I can program quite well in a handful of languages and am comfortable enough with circuits (I did very well in the electronics class I took and can rewire guitars, tinker with computers, etc.) to think that EE is a good fit for me. Not only that, but given my focus, I would imagine that a physics background might be especially helpful. Although, that could just be dismissed as naive, hopeful thinking. Either way, I'd like to hear thoughts.

    Essentially, has anyone (or anyone you know) gone from a B.S. in physics to a Master's program in EE and been successful? As a further question, has anyone done this while focusing on photonics and opto/micro/nano electronics? In my reading I have seen this specific question asked, but I wanted to get my own personal spin on it. Sorry if I rambled on too much, but if you made it this far, I thank you.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 26, 2014 #2
    I'm sorry you are not generating any responses at the moment. Is there any additional information you can share with us? Any new findings?
  4. Aug 26, 2014 #3
    Yes, people move from physics to all sorts of master degrees and are successful. I took EE classes with someone who did her undergrad in math (with a minor in physics), did her masters in EE and now works for Intel. Friends of friends went from physics undergrad to nuclear engineering masters and found work for the navy. Depending on the field of engineering you're going into, a physics background can definitely be more useful than an engineering one.
  5. Aug 26, 2014 #4
    Hello - Yes I actually did this and it was not too bad. You might find yourself trying to catch up in certain areas depending on what area of EE you are looking at going into. If you go into microtechnology and nanoscience, you will undoubtably find a high degree of crossover between your EE work and your physics B.S. In a sense, everything is physics (at least that is my religion). Further, once a physicist always a physicist - you may find it hard to get into an "engineering" mentality where performance of a device is somehow more interesting than the physics of the device.

    Anyways, EE is a fascinating topic, and if you are like me ... you may find that it draws you back into physics with a very much widened understanding. For example, in your EM courses you do not learn about how to design filters or amplifiers, yet undoubtably in most moden physics experiments you will find many filters and amplifiers. It is nice to see this additional layer of physics which enables us to probe deeper into the nature of Nature.
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