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 vs Engineering PhD Admissions?

  1. Dec 13, 2016 #1
    I was on the grad cafe looking at admission statistics. It looks like it is much more competitive to get into an engineering PhD program than it is a physics PhD program. Is this true? Most of the GPA's of people who got into the engineering PhD programs had a gpa in the mid to high 3's while I saw several sub 3.0 gpa's being admitted into physics PhD programs (albeit not top ranked ones). I was looking at EE if that helps. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2016 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I think there are too many variables at play to make a broad generalization about which discipline is easier to get into for a PhD.

    • Are you comparing physics undergraduates getting into physics PhD programs against engineering graduates getting into engineering programs or against physics graduates applying for engineering programs?
    • What was your sample size?
    • Can you assume that equal proportions of physics graduates and engineering graduates want to get into PhD programs in the first place? I would guess that more engineers would want to start professional careers right away, while more physics graduates would want to go into PhD programs.
    • Are there equal numbers of PhD positions available between the disciplines?
    • It's very rare for sub 3.0 GPAs to be accepted into physics graduate programs (and probably the same for engineers). While it's not impossible, there's a strong risk that such students will not be successful with their qualifying or candidacy examinations.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted