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Physics vs. Engineering

  1. Nov 17, 2008 #1
    I tried this before with no avail, so this time I'm going to be a little more expressive about my situation. Currently my major is chemical engineering, it's a fun major in its own right, and has many possibilities when you obtain a degree. I attend the University of Akron, it's a rather highly acclaimed research facility, with polymer engineering ranking top in the nation. While I find this major to be interesting, challenging, and rewarding I have began question whether it is the correct major of my choice. Of course, with a degree in Chem.E. the reward is great and plentiful.

    Except recently, since being introduced into college physics, I have garnered a new respect for it. I have always been a fanboy when it comes to quantum and theoretical physics, and just the overall degree of how it can affect our thoughts of the universe and so on.

    If I chose to switch now, I would more than likely tag on another year to my college schedule, since the maths, chemistry, and preliminary classes tend to clump up between engineering and physics.

    I would really like to know the opinions of people and their views on either of the majors so I'm able to come to a clearer objective of what path I should choose to go down.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2008 #2
    Can't you do both?
  4. Nov 18, 2008 #3
    As of right now both majors have covered a lot of the same material, not including the organic chemistry and some other specific chemical engineering courses. With chemical engineering at UA, it's not uncommon for a semester to be 18 credits full with necessary classes. Taking a double major with physics doesn't seem like a great idea, because the furthest I go with physics in Chem.E. is classical physics 2. Whereas I easily could minor in math or chemistry within my Chem.E major.

    Physics, in my opinion, is a whole other world to tackle and would overflow my already clogged schedule.
  5. Nov 18, 2008 #4
    you don't necessarily have to do them in parallel do you? I mean you could finish up Chem eng and the do the extra course for the phys degree.

    as far as jobs go, i'm guessing you would probably have more initial openings as a chem eng, especially now in the search for new fuels and what not.

    My dad has an phsyics honours and works as an electronics engineer. Guess it doesn't really make much difference.

    do what you enjoy most. life's too short to study some crap you don't like as much.
  6. Nov 18, 2008 #5
    ...but it's not just like one or two courses I'd have to take to get a degree in physics. It's about 10.
  7. Nov 19, 2008 #6
    yeah, so it should add another 2 years to your studying life. Did you read my whole post or just the first line?

    a little story for you: My friend studied 3 years of engineering with me, we got to fourth year and she decided that she wasn't doing well enough and that it was too hard and that she had found a new love (veterinary science). So she left engineering and started vet sci with about enough credits to not have to do the first year maths and chem and with a 7 year degree ahead of her. A year later she's like oops and she re-enrolls for engineering... So, because of this, she wasted a whole year of studying something that (surprise surprise) wasn't so fantastic, wasted another year, because she quit 3rd year with bad results and had to repeat it and is probably still studying today. she could have just buckled down and finished all the hard work to get the eng degree and then gone off to do vet. At least she'd have something behind her name.

    You choose. Take the extra 2 years properly and get 2 degrees or Choose the one that interests you most or Go from one to the other until you've been there for 10 years and come out with one degree that's marked with past failures and indecision. Unless you really hate your social life, don't try the parallel thing. It sounds cool, but varsity is also about having a good time and expanding your horizons socially.
  8. Nov 19, 2008 #7
    I read your whole post.
    Engineering is not a hard subject for me, just a challenging one. A physics major would be just as challenging. It's not a matter of difficulty that is swaying my opinion, it's a matter of understanding.
    As much as I'd enjoy applying the classical physics I am learning in a real world scenario, I'd also enjoy discovering hidden secrets that haven't been discovered or uncovered.
    I guess it's more of what subject would get me off more.
  9. Nov 19, 2008 #8
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