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Physics Minor?

  1. Feb 27, 2015 #1
    Hello, I'm currently a freshman planning to pursue Mechanical Engineering with the intent of getting a Master's in Nuclear Engineering. I am attempting to decide whether or not to pursue a minor in physics because I deeply enjoy physics. However, my degree by itself is challenging and I want to try and keep my GPA high with the intent on going to grad school. Is it worth it to get the minor in physics and possibly harm my GPA or should I focus on my engineering coursework and have a better chance of keeping my GPA up?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2015 #2
    If your plan is a Master's in Nuclear Engineering, I would double major in physics and general engineering. If you're having trouble with mechanical engineering so far I'd consider switching to maybe just a major in physics, as mechanical engineering is not really relevant to nuclear engineering, apart from the general engineering stuff. It seems to me though that if you're pursing mechanical engineering you have a different motive/reason for doing so, could you maybe elaborate on your situation and long term plan a bit?
     
  4. Feb 27, 2015 #3
    Well when I was deciding on what school to attend I didn't want to limit myself to purely a nuclear engineering degree. I was fearful that I would finish my coursework and decide that I truly did not like the subject and then be stuck with a degree that seemed fairly limited. So I chose mechanical because I have always loved to tinker with things and find out how they work and because it would allow me the most leeway once I graduated if I no longer was interested in nuclear engineering. My long term goal is to work in the nuclear power industry or possibly for bigger private companies such as Boeing, Raytheon, and Northrop-Grumman. Thanks for your reply!
     
  5. Feb 27, 2015 #4
    Ah, I thought it would probably be something like that. In that case, I would say that you are making a good call since Nuclear Engineering is obviously a very competitive and difficult field. As far as your physics minor goes, so long as your GPA is around 3.5 you should be okay adding a physics minor to your education, though you would have to step up the amount of work you do and such. Maybe a few summer classes could help with that?
     
  6. Mar 2, 2015 #5
    I'm finishing up an electrical engineering degree with a minor in physics and I'm applying to grad school right now. The physics minor actually seems to carry a decent amount of weight in a grad school application. I had a few potential advisors tell me that my physics minor was what really caught their attention. Good grades are important, but there are a lot of engineering students with good grades. There aren't a lot of engineering students with good grades and a physics minor.

    Of course, that's assuming you go into a field which lies on the boundary between physics and engineering. Presumably, you'll want to do that if you're interested in physics.

    As far as grades go, I don't see any reason why a physics minor should harm your GPA, especially if you take an extra semester or two to accommodate the work load. I don't know about mechanical, but in electrical engineering, having the extra physics/math background from my physics minor was actually pretty helpful in some classes.
     
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