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Physics vs Engineering Physics

  1. Jan 12, 2009 #1

    I'm currently in physics at McMaster University in Canada, and I'm considering a switch to Engineering Physics. What I need is some info from other users and administrators about the 2 disciplines. Things like the distinction between them, career prospects, job information.

    You see I'm generally interested in finishing at my 4 year bachelor degree, but I'm not throwing out the possibility of a masters degree. When I talk to the physics department they assure me that industrial type jobs and research engineer positions are available to students holding a bachelor degree in physics. I just can't seem to find them. I would feel a bit more secure and hopeful if There were many physics opportunities, but so far I don't see them.

    This is the reason I'm considering the switch to engineering, but not necessarily engineering physics.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2009 #2


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    A couple of things:
    (1) I work alongside a colleague who did her degree in engineering physics two years before I finished mine in physics - from the same school.

    (2) Likely the reason you can't seem to find the jobs is because you're looking for something with the word "physics" in the title. Engineers have the advantage that their employers will specifically be looking for engineers. When you look at the statistics: starting salaries, earning potential, employment rate, etc. - physicists aren't nearly as far below engineers as some would have the world believe.
  4. Jan 12, 2009 #3
    Of special note however... if you really want to work as an engineer: your job prospects may be limited if your degree requirement does not meet Professional engineering requirements. You may meet to look into how an engineering physics program meets the requirements (versus a pure engineering program). As I understand it, certification is generally done by certification boards within a state (in the US) or province (in Canada).
  5. Jan 13, 2009 #4
    Thanks for the reply's.

    Yeah the physics department said to me that I could work as a research engineer, and that many research engineers actually possess a bachelors degree in physics. Although I wouldn't be able to obtain professional certification.

    So where is the best place to look for jobs in physics and engineering physics if the job description doesn't contain these titles? It seems engineering physics doesn't come up in the job description either.
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