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Should I go for Liberal Arts Physics?

  1. Apr 24, 2014 #1
    I am an international student. I had applied to some colleges in the States and got accepted in a few. I have paid my enrollment deposit to a selective liberal arts college because it offered be a very good financial aid (and the others weren't affordable for me at all). But I want to be an engineer (computer, electrical or electronics). That college doesn't offer any engineering degree but claims to prepare students for engineering degree in master's level. Though it has a 3-2 engineering program, my financial condition may not allow me to go for it. My plan too is to continue for grad school right after my bachelor's degree. If I take physics and ask my counselor to include all the programs courses required (which are available in the college) for MEng in computer engineering, and also do a double major in computer science (hopefully), will I be able to get admission in a good grad school for computer engineering? Will that make me a computer engineer or something else? And how will be the course load? What kind of jobs will I get after that? Also, if this is possible, what are the other engineering field that I can go for after I complete BA in Physics from that liberal arts college?

    After I go to grad school for engineering with a BA degree in Physics, I'll need to take some courses to cover the parts BEng students take. Can that make me eligible to get a BEng degree certificate (because I will have learned everything a BEng student requires to learn) from that university along with MEng degree?

    I still have few months before the college will begin and if I am on a wrong path, I'm ready to leave that college and take a gap year to search for other options.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 26, 2014 #2
    One of my friends is doing a 3-2 program at my small liberal arts school for Computer engineering. He is a math major and will take quite a few computer science courses. You might be better off taking more Computer Science courses as a foundation for computer engineering grad school. Also make sure you take enough maths - I'd recommend up to differential equations and then some. With a BA in physics, the options for engineering masters' tend to relate more to Mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, aerospace, and Materials Science and Engineering. One physics alumni from my college also went on to do a PhD program in environmental engineering.

    I'm not so sure about the admissions process for master's degrees in computer engineering from a liberal arts CS background. If you work hard enough you should be able to get into a good graduate program. Nobody can guarantee how good that program will be - it will depend on how much you challenge yourself as well as how highly ranked your Liberal arts school is, as well as the strength of its STEM curriculum. Also, if you start the Master's of Engineering program you will receive a Master's degree. As far as I know, the Bachelor's can only be obtained if you go through a BEng program.

    Also note that most MEng degree programs require you to pay for yourself, so you might want to cross-compare the total cost of both the 3-2 and potential master's programs to see which one is more affordable.
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