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Physics or Engineering Degree?

  1. Mar 30, 2009 #1
    Hello! New here.

    For a while I have been setting my eyes on NASA for my future career, and I'm stuck on what degree I should major in. I have looked at Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Engineering Physics, and Phyiscs. Which one should I go for if I were to work for NASA or a company that contracts to them?

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2009 #2


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    Depends on what you want to do. NASA would employ all of those degree types. Any aerospace company has a diverse workforce necessary to tackle any project.
  4. Mar 30, 2009 #3
    What does the Engineering Physics degree look like? From looking at just a few Universities, it seems like Engineering physics can have a wide variety of meaning (or rather required courses).
  5. Mar 31, 2009 #4


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    An Engineering Physics degree looks mostly like what the name implies. Its an engineering degree from a science standpoint. To give a divide between engineering and engineering physics, consider the following scenario.

    'A manned mission to mars.'
    (examples only)

    Engineering Physicist: 'Is this travel realizable with the resources available? If so what type of vehicle would we use?'

    Engineer says: 'OK, how would we design and build a vehicle to be able to get to mars?'

    So you see the slight divide. That being said the courses are constructed around more of the Science of Engineering and is (as all engineering courses are) heavily mathematically oriented.
  6. Mar 31, 2009 #5
    Would it matter if the Engineering Physics degree was ABET accredited?
  7. Mar 31, 2009 #6
    Thanks for that description, I had a slight understanding of what an engineer physictist was but that helped alot on a summerization of the degree.

    Still undecided, but I want to work somewhere in the space travel area of NASA.
  8. Apr 1, 2009 #7
  9. Apr 1, 2009 #8


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    You can choose any discipline you like and still achieve that goal. You just have to be really good at what you do. There is no 'one' degree that will get you there only you can get yourself there. =]
  10. Apr 1, 2009 #9
    If you want to work at NASA, you're more likely to do so with an engineering degree. Aerospace, electrical, and mechanical are all good choices.

    However, you may not WANT to work at NASA because its a bloated, slow, disorganized government organization where your creativity will be stifled and innovation not rewarded ;)


    The Subversive Guide to Engineering
    Latest Post: Grades vs. Effort: The Engineering S-Curve
  11. Apr 1, 2009 #10


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    Does NASA recruit applied mathematicians?

    Personally I don't think so but I'm just wondering.
  12. Apr 1, 2009 #11
    Since you mention that, do you know of any other companies that also work in the Space industry that would be a good backup?
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