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Studying Should I choose Engineering over Physics?

  1. Jul 20, 2016 #1
    Hello everyone,
    I am new to this forum and this is my very first post here :)

    I joined this forum not because I wanted this question answered, but because of that I know that science people are awesome!!

    I know there is a general thread in the stickies, but it doesn't cover up all situations of why choosing Engineering would be the wisest decision you can ever make.

    So what exactly do I want? Well, I want to study Engineering, but I don't like the idea of being limited to only one subject while studying Engineering.. like I want to be able to be good at Architecture while having good experience in Mechanical/Electrical Engineering fields and other Engineering fields too!!

    So this is where I get stuck not knowing where to go, but then I remembered that Elon Musk had a degree in Physics and not Engineering. I started thinking about that and came to a conclusion hat I should study Physics, but then I thought what if that wasn't true..??

    So I thought why not ask people with experience of what they think regarding this question? What would you do if you were in a situation like mine? What would you choose?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 21, 2016 #2
    Go for engineering i'd say, its better to be a pro at something than to be jack of all and king of non..
  4. Jul 21, 2016 #3
    Why does that make you a king of none? In Physics study you will learn about it in depth, bit the only difference between an Engineer and a Physician is that an Engineer gets to have the chance to try things out while a Physician gets to see everything happening in his visualization instead of reality and remember that this can be changed!!

    I knew the answer of my question before I started this thread, but I wanted to confirm that the study really went that way!
  5. Jul 22, 2016 #4


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    Hey PantheraC.

    The question I have for you is two-fold: firstly what do you specifically want to achieve and secondly what do you think currently would change your mind from pursuing that goal?

    If you can answer these questions (even to yourself and not just us) then you will have some idea of what motivates you and what would change it.
  6. Jul 22, 2016 #5
    Firstly, I want to be able to invent new ways to create new type of technology and turn science fiction into science fact! I am not going to state what I want to invent, because most humans are limited to their own mindset and can't look beyond.

    Secondly, whatever path is necessary for me to take shall be taken to achieve my dreams.
  7. Jul 22, 2016 #6


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    I just want to point out that you are very vague in this response. This means we cannot give you good advise (garbage in = garbage out).

    In engineering typically your first year is the same, regardless of your discipline. You'll most likely take E&m, classical mechanics, calc 1 2 and 3, diffy Q, signals, etc. There is a LOT that goes into any major, whether its architecture or physics. If you try to stay general across EVERYTHING you'll end up with very little specific knowledge. Now this might not be bad, but you'll almost need to go get a PHD or MS to get a job. Is that what you want.

    Also when you say you want to create technology...
    Do you want to create robotics like boston dynamics?
    Do you want to spend years trying to push one small aspect of physics?
    Do you want to build particle accelerators?
    do you want to work on the next generation of aircraft?

    engineering vs physics really depends on what you want to do with the degree. If you don't really know, then unfortunately we cannot help you.
  8. Jul 22, 2016 #7


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    The world of Engineering is varied. Pick this for your different goals. Include any Physics courses which you have interest beyond the "basics", but the Engineering courses will keep you busy enough and Engineering is of several types. PICK SOMETHING and start with some program to learn. Adjust term by term as you go.
  9. Jul 23, 2016 #8


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    What does Elon Musk have to do with anything? He's a businessman who happened to get an undergraduate degree in physics, then dropped out of a doctorate program a few days in. None of his ideas sprang from deep knowledge of physics, and his designs at tesla or space x (or wherever) are the result of a team of engineers and scientist working for him. If you want to be Elon Musk create something like PayPal that can then finance other startups.

    That said, if you want to be working with a team creating designs that require a great deal of interdisciplinary knowledge, see if you can get into a decent Engineering physics program for undergrad. After which, you can then do what Musk was planning on doing, which is applying for (and completing) graduate school programs in applied physics.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2016
  10. Jul 23, 2016 #9
    It sounds like you have not started studying engineering but are wondering if you should study physics. The point is almost certainly moot for a while. In almost any engineering program in college, for at least a year you WILL study physics as well. (and Math). You can delay your decision for at least a year to see if you still want to study engineering or physics.
    I agree with Student100 that Elon Musk is irrelevant. Most students think pf the exceptional examples in a field rather than the multitude of competent but lesser known workers who find the field
    I know I had a limited understanding of engineering when I chose physics. I run into young people everyday who shared the misconceptions I had when I was younger. I know mathematics majors in the middle of their undergraduate who are sure (without taking a single engineering course) that they do not want to do engineering. They like linear algebra for example. I saw advanced linear algebra like crazy in my optimal control and modern control theory classes as a grad student. I think they think engineering is just applying math to theory which is already invented and getting numerical answers.
  11. Jul 24, 2016 #10
    Thanks for your replay donoacino, also as you mentioned about getting PhD or MS degree to get a job then I assure you that I am planning on doing that to make more advance technology!

    What I am really thinking about creating using technology is all type of things, like robotics, cars, phones and other things that I can think of. I know that it will require a lot of money to start projects like that, but I will gather the money for it.
  12. Jul 24, 2016 #11
    Well, I certainly didn't know that that's how Elon Musk got his place in the technology field...

    But as said before, I am planning on getting a high degree in Physics which is PhD so that I could create advance technology using ideas that engineers haven't thought of.
  13. Jul 24, 2016 #12
    That's true, I am planning on starting my journey next year and don't want to waste 1 year on testing, but instead take conclusions before I even start!

    If I had friends that went to the University so that I could ask them about what they are studying and how it's going for them to see if it suits my needs!
  14. Jul 24, 2016 #13


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    That isn't physics.
  15. Jul 24, 2016 #14
    Then what is it called if you want to have a degree in Mechanical, Electrical, Computer, Architecture engineer??
    Studying all in the same tome is all about Physics and art, because the materials that are needed for building new technology can be studied fast...
  16. Jul 24, 2016 #15
    Did you just say that if you know physics, then you can quickly study the materials needed for a new technology? That's completely false. Studying physics won't help you at all at engineering or developing a new technology other than that you know physics well (which is not as helpful as you think).

    You want a degree in mechanical, electrical, computer AND architecture? This is insane. Developing new technologies nowadays is very specialized. You will work in a team where you will help the team with your specific knowledge. Knowing all the relevant degrees is overkill, and it will mean you will know these three four fields in a very shallow way, which will make you useless.
  17. Jul 24, 2016 #16


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    I don't understand the last sentence.

    In the US, like I said, it's applied physics. Undergrad degrees are called either applied physics or engineering physics if engineering accredited. Even then you aren't going to be studying all fields, but it is broader in subject areas than either engineering or physics alone. Sooooo, you'll have broader, but shallower knowledge than the specialized degrees. It's a degree specifically for branching from basic research to novel applications using an interdisciplinary approach.
  18. Jul 24, 2016 #17
    I didn't say that studying Physics will help you understand how materials work, that's Chemistry's work if you didn't know that!

    Secondly, I am insane!!
  19. Jul 24, 2016 #18


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    Being insane isn't going to help you, you should get that looked at.

    I'm pretty sure Micromass knows what chemistry is, I don't think you do however, or even comprehended correctly his reply. What country are you in?
  20. Jul 24, 2016 #19
    Good that you know that. But don't think for a second that this insanity of studying all fields will get you an exciting new invention. Focusing and specializing on one field will do that.
  21. Jul 24, 2016 #20
    And how can I make it possible that I can study them in depth?
  22. Jul 24, 2016 #21
    To be honest, I didn't really understand his sentence:

    So I interpreted it likely in the wrong way.
  23. Jul 24, 2016 #22
    Pick one and study it in depth by getting a bachelor or master degree in it.
  24. Jul 24, 2016 #23


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    Find the elixir of immortality. There isn't enough time in a lifespan to do that.
  25. Jul 24, 2016 #24
    Well I do exactly better than others and got a good degree in it too..
    I am moving to London this year to study there..
  26. Jul 24, 2016 #25
    You do better in what? You got a good degree in what?
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