Single degree (physics) or combined degree (physics/engineering)

In summary, the person is considering switching to a combined degree in Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Engineering and is weighing the pros and cons of this decision. They are concerned about the impact on their chances of getting a job and their plans to pursue a PhD in physics. Ultimately, the decision depends on the kind of job they want and if they are serious about pursuing a PhD in physics. Having a Bachelor of Science in an accredited engineering program is needed for Professional Engineer certification and may be required for higher-level jobs. However, if the person is more interested in working in industry rather than at a university, a combined degree and PhD in physics may give them an advantage. It may also allow them to focus more on physics. Overall, the decision should
  • #1
Sheogorath
2
0
Hi,



I have completed second year of bachelor of science degree, and I am considering switching to a combined degree bachelor of science/bachelor of engineering.

If I decide to do only one degree (science, major in physics), it would take me another year to complete Bachelor of science, and then honours year. (Therefore, to complete science(honours) degree would take me two years). If I decide to do combined degree, it will take me 3 more years (+a few courses I would take over the summer). If I do combined degree, I would not do honours year in physics.

My plan is to do a phd in physics after completing my degree (regardless of whether I do a combined degree or just science+honours year). (They told me that doing honours year in physics is not required, that doing science/engineering combined degree is sufficient.)

The main reason why I might switch to a combined degree is to increase my chances of getting a job.



My question is whether switching to a combined degree would really be good decision. Completing my undergraduate study would take a year longer and would, of course, cost more money. Also, I don’t get to do a honours year in physics.

After completing my education I will have a combined undergraduate degree in science/engineering and a phd in physics. (with honours in engineering and no honours in science)
Would that degree make it easier for me to get a job than Bachelor of science(honours) and a phd in physics?
 
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  • #2
Ultimately this depends on the kind of job you want to get. If you want to do engineering, then obviously it makes sense to take the engineering route. If you're serious about pursuing a PhD in physics and then moving into academia, your undergraduate course won't really matter as long as it (and your overall performance in it) is sufficient to you into the PhD program you want.
 
  • #3
At this point, having a BS in an accredited engineering program is needed to receive your Professional Engineer (PE) certification. (I think this is due to change in 2010 to include people with a certain number of master's level credits in an accredited engineering program and a BS degree in a science, but I don't guarantee that.) Some higher-level jobs might require you to be a PE. Presently you usually work for a few years before seeking accreditation, so entry-level jobs aren't effected except perhaps by reputation of your degree/training.
 
  • #4
A somewhat related question:

I'm in the early stages of planning out exactly how to major when I transfer to a 4 year university next year, with the idea of going to grad school afterward.

Would a grad school generally prefer to see a double major, even if the second major isn't directly related to the grad program?

I'll give the specific example I'm thinking of:

Astrophysics: http://www.towson.edu/physics/physics/PHYS_ASTRO.asp

Then, since there is a lot of overlap and it would only take about another year:

Earth-Space Sciences: http://www.towson.edu/physics/geosciences/GEO_ESS.asp

Would the extra classes in geology help with entry to an astronomy or astrophysics grad program?
 
  • #5
Choppy said:
Ultimately this depends on the kind of job you want to get. If you want to do engineering, then obviously it makes sense to take the engineering route. If you're serious about pursuing a PhD in physics and then moving into academia, your undergraduate course won't really matter as long as it (and your overall performance in it) is sufficient to you into the PhD program you want.

Thanks for responses.

I would like to work in industry, rather than at university. Do you think that someone with combined degree and a phd in physics has more chance than someone with just bachelor of science and a phd in physics?

Maybe the advantage of doing just a single degree is that it would let me focus more on physics (it would let me take more courses this year and do honours year next year).

If someone wants to employ a physicist, do you think they would prefer someone who has done 4 years and a phd rather than someone who spent half of their undergraduate time on engineering…

I think, however, that my reasoning here could very, very easily be wrong (maybe engineering degree is a great advantage).

So, if anyone knows more about this, I would welcome any information.




(I just wish I thought more about these things 2 years ago when I was starting my degree…)
 
  • #6
I'm guessing you're australian since you're facing this particular dilemma. I just did the opposite - I just changed from an BEng/BSci to an advanced science degree. I can't tell you anything about job prospects but... I found that engineering wasn't quite as interesting and challenging as physics and maths. There is problem solving and design involved but there's also significantly more plug and chug, at least in australian programmes anyway. So I made the choice based on what I'd enjoy more (and due to the enjoyment factor, do better in).

It's true that, at least in Australia, an engineering honours can serve as a physics honours for getting into a PhD. And engineering, especially mechanical or ee will probably serve you better in industry. I don't know of any Australian physics programmes that actually have a strong engineering bent. (Yes, I'm assuming you're australian)

Also, wouldn't you rather spend that extra year on your PhD?
 

Related to Single degree (physics) or combined degree (physics/engineering)

1. What is the difference between a single degree in physics and a combined degree in physics/engineering?

A single degree in physics typically focuses solely on the study of physics, covering topics such as thermodynamics, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics. A combined degree in physics/engineering combines the study of physics with engineering principles, allowing students to apply their knowledge of physics to design and create practical solutions for real-world problems.

2. What are the benefits of pursuing a single degree in physics?

A single degree in physics provides a strong foundation in the fundamental principles of physics, making it a versatile degree that can lead to a variety of career opportunities. It also allows for a deeper understanding of the natural world and can lead to groundbreaking research in the field.

3. What are the benefits of pursuing a combined degree in physics/engineering?

A combined degree in physics/engineering provides a unique blend of theoretical and practical knowledge, allowing students to apply their understanding of physics to real-world problems and create innovative solutions. It also opens up a wide range of career opportunities in industries such as aerospace, renewable energy, and telecommunications.

4. Is it possible to switch from a single degree in physics to a combined degree in physics/engineering?

Yes, it is possible to switch from a single degree in physics to a combined degree in physics/engineering. However, it may require taking additional courses or completing extra requirements to catch up with the engineering curriculum. It is important to consult with an academic advisor to determine the best course of action.

5. Can I pursue a career in engineering with a single degree in physics?

While a single degree in physics may not provide the specific engineering skills needed for certain roles, it can still lead to a career in engineering. Many employers value the analytical and problem-solving skills gained from a physics degree, and with additional training or experience, it is possible to transition into an engineering role. Alternatively, a single degree in physics can also lead to opportunities in research and development within engineering companies.

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