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Physics + CE masters versus CE undergrad

  1. Jan 22, 2008 #1
    How do these two compare to a tech (Apple, ARM, RIM, Asustek, etc) company? I ask this because I lost interest in doing computer engineering however working at RIM for coop has sparked my interest again. Where would I fit coming back to this company with a physics+CE masters? Would the engineer undergrads get snapped up long before me? It seems like a masters can't fully full the void between physics and computer engineering.

    Do most of these companies have (large) research groups that would welcome materials-like research for, say, chips or HDDs?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 23, 2008 #2
    A masters would be better than an undergrad, nonetheless. An undergrad CE would take the job over a masters CE if he has more experience. An employer should know that graduate level CE courses are more in-depth and have more value than undergrad CE courses. The first 2 years you spend at universities are general ed classes that have nothing to do with your major coursework.

    I have always thought that your bachelor's degree becomes almost negligible when you have your masters.
  4. Jan 23, 2008 #3
    I agree with fizziks, the only issue your going to run up against is if you have a Comp Eng undergrad who is going to get his Masters (which like 90% of Comp Eng) are probably doing because places like intel/amd/whoever won't let you touch hardware design unless you have a minimum of a masters. They will most likely pick the comp eng under with a masters in ce over a physics under with a masters in CE. But you can still find a job I'm sure.
  5. Jan 23, 2008 #4
    Thanks. Your comments have been helpful.

    I guess my biggest issue is only being in second year and I don't quite know exactly what I want to do, just a few general areas.

    Do intel/amd/etc have research labs with physics PhD's? If so, what kind of research is done?

    I guess my worst fear is definitely wanting to make the switch to engineering and having to make up first year courses.

    One last question: If you feel you're under prepared for masters-level courses do places often let you take a term of undergrad courses or should this be done at the end of your undergrad degree, before even applying for a masters? Here I'm talking about someone changing their field 'slightly', i.e. physics undergrad then CE masters or engineering then physics PhD...

    I do know an engineer going for his PhD in physics... he was the TA for one of my first year labs.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2008
  6. Jan 23, 2008 #5
    Yes they have labs with physics PhDs. Even IBM. R&D is needed, especially when you're working on the next generation technology. It will be highly competitive though.
  7. Jan 23, 2008 #6
    They do have physicists with PhDs in their labs for research and development. But they're not very easy to get nor is a PhD in physics. But the job outlook seems to be much better for a Masters in CE than a PhD physicist. In the long run, you have to look at the bills :frown:. I'm starting to realize that since I'm off to my own now. You gotta work no matter what to self-sustain yourself.

    I got into the CE masters program at a local state school here, even though I was a physics major with little CE background. ATM, I'm taking enrolled as a non-degree student taking the important pre-reqs for a CE (mainly computer architecture, software engineering, and microprocessors). Some schools will let you in with the exception that you taken certain pre-reqs.
  8. Jan 23, 2008 #7
    I think if I went to UWaterloo for my Masters (I'm doing my undergrad physics here, at UW) they'd let me in with little missing prereqs so long as I stress my physics degree in EM theory, electronics and communications where I can.

    I still love the physics courses :)
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