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Physics vs EE enrollments, is there a rule?

  1. May 11, 2010 #1
    I once heard that the number of physics majors is always in direct proportion to those of electrical engineering in the same school, is that true? Here at U Texas El Paso the ratio has been:

    • 7% (2005)
      5.4% (2006)
      4.7 (2007)
      3.4 (2008)
    This is of interests because what I heard was that the ratio was approximately 10% and we are way below.

    Does anybody else have some numbers on this?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2010 #2
    I really doubt there is a much of a correlation. A lot of electrical engineers that I know don't even like physics and the two colleges that handle engineering and physics aren't really in communication about enrollment.
  4. May 11, 2010 #3
    You are right, the EE and Physics departments do not talk to each other, but the idea behind the supposed ratio is a different one. It is argued that many high school students interested in physics do not go all into physics but mainly into EE to improve their chances at getting a job after graduation; this effect is supposed to construct the 10 -to-1 ratio.

    A simple comparison of ratios from other universities would easily confirm or destroy the theory.
  5. May 11, 2010 #4
    I agree with roeb. I know a few people in EE, each of which doesn't like pure physics. So I wouldn't agree that people who are interested in physics go into EE for the job prospects.
  6. May 11, 2010 #5
    Thanks for your opinions.

    Let me re-phrase the question: can anybody provide data of the ratio of physics majors compared to EE majors? Trend of ratios would be even better.

    The average of ratios of several intitutions (provided the standard deviation is not too large) may help me (and many other Chairs) decide if our physics population is large or small than it ought to be.

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