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Programs Physics BS to engineering MS/phD

  1. Jan 7, 2010 #1
    has anyone here gotten their BS in physics, but then decide to get a MS or phD in engineering? What made you decide to switch to engineering: taking engineering classes and liking them, or working in industry full-time for a few years and then deciding to go into engineering? How did you decide what field of engineering to choose (EE, ME, materials, etc)?

    as far as taking engineering classes to see if grad school in engineering is the right choice, i've heard various opinions, as some said its a good idea while others said its just a waste of time such that you're better off just sitting in the lectures or reading about engineering research areas
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 7, 2010 #2


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    I switched in the middle of a BS program in physics (nuclear and astrophysics) to nuclear engineering, although in hindsight, I should have double-majored in physics and nuclear engineering. I was interested in nuclear energy since the 5th grade, and that was cemented when I designed a nuclear power aircraft as a science project in 6th grade.

    Engineering is applied physics. In the nuclear engineering program, as an undergraduate and graduate, I took courses in mechanical engineering (corrosion, fracture mechanics, fluids and turbomachinery), materials, aerospace and electrical engineering (circuits, electric machinery, power systems, control theory).
  4. Jan 7, 2010 #3
    I was going to make a similar post, but instead, I'll piggyback off of creepypasta here. In addition to the more "normal" engineering grad programs, what are your guys' thoughts on an Applied Physics or Engineering Physics grad program?

    Most engineering programs I've looked into require a "BS in engineering, or a closely related field," so they're really looking for engineering students, not physics students as much, at least from what I understand. Maybe this thread will prove me wrong.

    On the other hand, a few programs offer kind of a physics/engineering blend.

    For example, Cornell has http://www.aep.cornell.edu/ which has a Masters of Engineering in Engineering Physics and Ph.D. program in Applied Physics through their Engineering Physics department.

    Also, Embry Riddle just came out with a Ph.D. program in Engineering Physics which starts in 2010. http://www.erau.edu/db/degrees/phd-engineeringphysics.html [Broken]

    These majors specifically state that they accept physics BS degrees. The programs seem to give an engineering slant to physics knowledge.

    On one hand, these might be a good suggestion for creepypasta to look into. On the other hand, my fear is engineering (or applied) physics masters or Ph.D. will be stuck somewhere in between the worlds of engineering and science. I'd hate to be in a situation where I'm not quite qualified to be an engineer, but also not quite qualified to be a physicist.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Jan 8, 2010 #4
    i think physics students have just as good a chance as engineering students
  6. Jan 8, 2010 #5
    Well, we'll see what people with more experience have to say. The problem is, physics students would have to spend some time catching up on undergrad engineering courses before they can really do the graduate work, from what I understand. It seems to me that would give the engineering students an edge.

    But again, I may be proven wrong in this thread.
  7. Jan 9, 2010 #6
    I had a physics BS... then completed a masters degree in electro-optical engineering -- which was offered through "The School of Engineering" and had faculty from electrical engineering and physics faculty (from "the College of Arts and Sciences"). I didn't have any problems.

    What was my motivation? My employer at the time (the USAF) offered to pay for the degree. I had no problems (4.0 GPA).
  8. Jan 9, 2010 #7
    so before USAP offered to pay, you had taken no classes in engineering?
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