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Engineering Physics bachelors to Engineering masters

  1. Jun 15, 2017 #1
    Can one do a physics bachelor's degree and carry on to pursue a master's in engineering? I was wondering if this would be a feasible and practical route.. I understand that I'd probably have to take a couple of extra engineering classes here and there but was thinking it probably wouldn't be several years worth of catching up since I am a physics major anyway; so it's not something so wild like jumping from an art degree to engineering
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  3. Jun 16, 2017 #2


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    My experience is that most engineering departments would want you to take a couple of years of undergraduate engineering classes before they will talk to you.
  4. Jun 16, 2017 #3
    My experience is that needing a couple of years of catchup is overkill, they will want you to take a few undergrad courses more related to your focus area before you move on to graduate level engineering though.
  5. Jun 16, 2017 #4


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    Many of our physics majors go on to do a master's in engineering. IIRC they usually take two years to finish it, maybe 2.5.
  6. Jun 16, 2017 #5
    Actually I took this route: bachelor's degree in physics and master's degree in electrical and electronics engineering. They did not require me to take all the courses to catch up with the curriculum; however, my research was based on plasmonics (a sub-field of optics). Thus most of the work I did was closely related to physics. Through my study I learned programming in Matlab and some signal analysis stuff.
  7. Jun 16, 2017 #6


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    That's good to know. I am happy that there may be more options for the OP. I went from a PhD in pure math to Industrial Engineering (Operations Research oriented). They were the only engineering department that seemed interested in me. It was the best move I ever made.
  8. Jun 16, 2017 #7
    I suspect that much will depend on the particular engineering degree the OP wants to pursue. If he were to want to go into mechanical engineering design or thermal machinery, I think that there would be a whole lot of junior and senior level undergraduate courses required just to have the necessary background to understand the graduate courses.
  9. Jun 16, 2017 #8
    Long ago, when I was in graduate school, there was a fellow with an MA in Math who came into the OR graduate program (which happened to be in the ME department). He did very well, and I think he finished a PhD in OR, but I've lost track of him.
  10. Jun 16, 2017 #9

    George Jones

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    After doing a bachelor's in physics and a master's in abstract theoretical physics (group theory, abstract associative algebras), my wife did a master's in materials science engineering at a good Canadian school (University of Toronto). She did not have to take very many (if any) remedial courses.
  11. Jun 16, 2017 #10


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    The amount of remedial work you need depends so much on the school it is hard for any of us to give advice.

    At my graduate school a friend of mine had a physics BS and took the equivalent of a semester's worth of remedial undergraduate engineering classes to catch up. Your experience may vary.
  12. Jun 16, 2017 #11
    OP is a she, just fyi lol. 'nyways, mechanical eng is what i've been considering, but that can of course change. Nothing too definite as of yet, just trying to see what options i have after finishing my bachelor's..
  13. Jun 17, 2017 #12
    Shoot, I had to take a year of undergrad Physics courses to go from a BS Physics at LSU to grad school in Physics at MIT. The department did not require it, but the step up in rigor from LSU to MIT made it a good choice, and I would have been swamped in the grad Physics courses at MIT without the extra year of undergrad courses.

    But I suspect it depends a lot on the rigor of the coursework in the grad program and how heavily it depends on undergrad engineering coursework that is not similar to what the physics major got. I expect that there are plenty of Masters programs in engineering out there where a graduate of a rigorous Physics BS program could do very well without taking any (or many) undergrad engineering courses.
  14. Jun 17, 2017 #13
    Perhaps you should clarify what year you are in now. Many physics majors often take a number of elective courses in a minor concentration anyway (even if it doesn't fulfill requirements for an official minor degree): math, EE, and CS are common. I took a heavy dose of materials science and engineering courses, since I planned to concentrate on solid-state physics; I could have easily switched to a MS materials science and engineering program if I had wanted to. Unless you're a senior, fill up your electives with ME courses, if that's what you're interested in pursuing.
  15. Jun 18, 2017 #14
    Great info, thanks a lot! I'm in a junior college right now but will be transferring soon, so I have time to fill up my electives once i transfer
  16. Jun 22, 2017 #15
    Also note that some engineering programs have engineering physics or physics sub specialties. I am getting a EE masters from a physics bachelors. Because I am doing solid state device physics, the only overhead I have to deal with is taking a couple courses outside of device physics in circuits and signal processing.
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