Physics Phd Teaching Engineering

  • Thread starter fog37
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Hello,

Does anyone know if a Phd in physics can teach engineering courses at a university? Or do you need to have an engineering degree?

Thanks you!
 

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ZapperZ
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Hello,

Does anyone know if a Phd in physics can teach engineering courses at a university? Or do you need to have an engineering degree?

Thanks you!

If I just answer "yes", is that meaningful to you?

Question like this, including "hi, I have a degree in such-and-such, can I do a PhD in physics?", are extremely vague and asking for something that isn't common. It means that there are only narrow and specific cases and opportunities when such a thing may and can happen.

I can show you cases where physics PhD's even becoming faculty members and Deans of engineering school. But does that mean that someone who received a degree in, say, optics, can immediately be plucked in to teach an advanced course in Chemical Engineering? Let's be real here!

There are areas of physics, such as Accelerator science and Device physics, where the boundary between physics and engineering is blurred. In such cases, sure, someone in physics might qualify to teach a course in, say, RF engineering, etc. So this applies to very specific and narrow cases only!

It is why your question is vague and not meaningful.

Zz.
 
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Hello ZapperZ,

I see your point and appreciate your reply. Thank you.

More specifically, I am thinking about engineering physics degrees, where the core courses are physics courses with engineering courses added to the curriculum. I am wondering if the engineering courses in the engineering physics degree could be taught by the physics faculty (assuming they possess some expertise in the course area) or those engineering courses must always and only be taught by the engineering faculty. Some schools don't have an engineering school but only a physics department. Could that physics department offer an engineering physics degree and also teach the engineering type courses?

Thanks!
 
  • #4
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Hello,

Does anyone know if a Phd in physics can teach engineering courses at a university? Or do you need to have an engineering degree?

Thanks you!

I took electromagnetics courses (electrical engineering version of E&M) that were taught by people with physics PhD's; their specialties were optics so that fit their expertise within the engineering school.
 
  • #5
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I would say it depends on the demand for lecturers and the specific engineering course you wish to teach. The amount of behind the scenes politics in determining who teaches university courses is very eye opening! Often the newer lecturers are handed what are considered the worst courses to teach, and often they have little experience of the subject matter. A PhD shows an ability to learn and determination to complete, that can be applied to learning and teaching a new subject. If the subject you are interested in teaching has little interest from academics already in the department you have a very good chance, even if it is outside your subject area. If it is a popular course or an academic has being teaching the course for a long time, and has 'settled', then you have little chance. It would also depend on the university, obviously you would have much tougher competition in universities held in high regard.

So if you are prepared to be flexible on the specific engineering subject that you want to teach and lecturers are in demand then you have an excellent chance.

IMO.
 

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