1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Physics to engineering, preparing for grad school applications

  1. Nov 14, 2011 #1
    As the title suggests, I am going to graduate with a BS in physics, (graduating in spring 2013) I want to go into mechanical engineering, so im looking into masters programs (If I wanted a PhD I would get one in physics, but I dont so engineering here I come) I know I will most likely need to catch up with undergrad coursework, that's not a problem. the concerns I have when it comes to grad school apps are the following:

    1) should I take the phys GRE? will it hold use when applying to engineering grad school (I assume no but ill ask anyway)

    2) my research resume is looking to be thin, something over this summer, and next year definitively, but beyond that its going to be thin

    3) I go to a weak physics school, but I have/will have a high GPA: cumulative will most likely be a 3.5 with major gpa hitting the 3.7-3.9 mark

    I know I dont need to start applying yet, im asking simply because I want to know if there is anything I can/should do to fix any problems I may have before its too late

    4) how can I identify "safety schools" I dont need specifics here as to what my safety schools should be but what should I look for in general as far as

    also general guidance in grad school applications for someone jumping from phys to engineering would be appreciated

    and finally be blunt and honest
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2011 #2
    Since you don't graduate your undergrad degree until Spring of 2013 (three semesters away)... I first REALLY suggest you get into some coursework in MechE if at all possible. Minimize your "physics" degree and maximize your MechE coursework. I'd try to first get until upper-level elective courses (but make sure you have the preparation needed if there are any pre-reqs that need to get waived).

    Why? Completing upper-level coursework in the field with good grades will show you're prepared for graduate coursework in the field (it might also get you away from too much remedial coursework). You'll have a chance to become more familiar with the field and solidify your decision (and it will have the appearance as so to graduate admissions committees). Also: you'll have contact with professors in the field... people who would be best to give you advice on what programs to apply to and should be the ones to write your letters of recommendation (having those in the field write these letters will be better than having physics professors write these letters.... or at least BALANCE the two, if you really feel the physics department faculty "know you better"). Also, by getting into the field it might be easier to find research or internships in the field this summer.

    It is, I think, too early to look at your other questions. You should start thinking about them at the end of next term, after you've taken say 2 upper level electives in MechE. Two courses, in my opinion, sounds like a good goal for next term.

    As a slight note on particulars: I DON'T think the Physics GRE will really matter to MechE admissions committees.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook