1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

So many different flavors of physics

  1. Nov 26, 2009 #1
    So I see that there's engineering, applied physics, and engineering physics majors offered in the colleges I'm applying to (though engineering physics is an option in only 2 of those colleges). I'm all confused and baffled now as to the differences in each major (and Wikipedia helped just a little bit...).

    My physics professor says that applied physicists are knowledgeable in more areas than engineers, and can move from field to field instead of staying in, say, mechanics forever. That was all the help he offered, though, and I admit that he is a bit biased.

    I would appreciate any help to clear this up for me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2009 #2
    Engineering physics is quite close to applied, if it is accredited it is probably better to take it if you don't want to do an academic career.
  4. Nov 27, 2009 #3
    Thanks for the reply! :biggrin:

    Since I would like to get a Ph D someday, I'm assuming I should go with applied physics instead?
  5. Nov 27, 2009 #4
    Well, look at what the degrees entail. An engineering degree would probably mean more work with less physics and your classmates would most likely not be as enthusiastic as you about physics. But it is a safer bet overall since it is a lot easier to change to physics than to engineering later.

    It depends a bit on how sure you are on what you want. And you can get phd's in engineering too just so you know, it is just that if you want to work outside academia then it would be quite trivial, you can get job with applied physics outside but engineering is a lot safer for that.
  6. Nov 27, 2009 #5
    If one wants to do graduate work then they should probably look for straight "physics". You can always specialize in an applied field in grad school but your best chances for an undergrad is with the standard bread and butter physics degree.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook