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!

Starting Bsc. Physics before Msc. Engineering Physics, advice or tips?

  1. Nov 8, 2012 #1
    My Bachelors in Physics is starting up next year, and I'm (already) thinking about graduate programs to pursue afterwards. This might seem premature, but I'm several years older than most B.sc students, have spent some years in the workforce, as well as previous uni, so I like to look ahead and see where things lead.

    I'm very interested in the field of Engineering Physics. Two highschool friends studied engphys, one now works for a manufacturer of cyclotrons and the other does research building digital microscopes to monitor neuron activity. Not that I will do either, but it looks to have some variety of outlets and I like the sounds of applied research (i.e. paid, probably better work-life balance than academia).

    I'm writing for advice or suggestions on
    - composition or makeup of coursework that I do. E.g., try to take a bunch of chemistry as well?
    - type of research exp matter, or just that I have it? It would be all physics related, but there is possibly some more "engineering" or applied than others.
    - I'm in a 3 year bachelors pogram (in Norway) - will this seem like a disadvantage to not have had 4 years? If I want, I can extend it to 4 years by taking additional course work, e.g. more math, chemistry, or biology or what have you.

    Also, I'm looking at grad schools in Canada (where I was born) for financial reasons. If anybody knows something about the Engphys programs at UBC, Waterloo, Toronto, Queens, or other Cdn uni's, glad to hear your input.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2012 #2
    So I am in my 4th year of my BASc in engineering physics at UofT (Toronto). I am attempting to go to graduate school in accelerator physics at either UBC or UVic, but I am also applying to the EM group at Toronto (plus a couple places in the states). In terms of undergraduate there are a few places that offer engineering physics such as UofT, Queens, École Polytechnique de Montréal etc. However, for graduate school, I don't think there is any sort of MSc in Engineering Physics. I mean, the closest things are either Physics or some sort of Engineering such as EM, materials, etc.

    Really, there are lots of opportunities in Canada, you will just have to pick something a little more particular than general "Engineering Physics".

    For coursework, I would suggest dipping into engineering courses of course. Particularly, lots of ECE courses such as circuits, electronics, waves etc. These things are things that experimental physics students would also benefit greatly from. In physics you might get a lot of general EM theory, however, this is useless if you want to actually build a circuit or a device.

    If your into materials, then some courses in solid state physics, atomic physics, materials engineering, chemistry would be good too. Personally I never took these courses, but kind of wishing I did now. A lot of engineering physics research has to do with novel materials development such as metamaterials, or superconducting stuff, or just interesting materials in general.

    What you research in doesn't matter too much, just do what you find interesting! (which is by far the most important thing, to be interested in what you are doing)

    A 3 year program may put you at a disadvantage. Consider emailing someone at the universities you are interested in to inquire whether your degree is equivalent to a Canadian undergraduate degree (that is what matters). Four years might be better.

    And I chose engineering physics for the same reasons you probably did. You learn a lot of physics while keeping yourself grounded in things that are currently applicable to solving real world problems.
  4. Nov 9, 2012 #3
    Thanks for the detailed response Nicholls.

    Is UofT a 4 year program? I spoke with friends at UBC and they said the B.Eng in Engphys was usually a 5 year affair. Also, how was your program generally in terms of quality and difficulty?

    I've emailed a few places so far. There are in fact graduate dept's of Engineering Physics at York, UBC, Queens, and Uni of Saskatchewan. So far the Skat. dept is the only one that said they would accept 3 year European bachelors as equivalent to a 4 year Cdn undergrad.

    Down the road I'm sure I will find a more specialized interest, and find the right profs to work with on that, but for now I'm keen to keep open some doors into a general "engineering" related path.
  5. Nov 9, 2012 #4
    UofT is a 4 year program, as are most undergrad programs in Canada, I'm surprised they said that Engphys was 5 years at UBC, seems strange. My program isnt just engphys, its called engineering science where you choose a major after 2nd year (I chose physics). Just search engineering science on these forums and you can read all about it (lol).
  6. Nov 9, 2012 #5
    the UBC program is really intense and includes substantial co ops, which is why it takes 5 years. A lot of people extend it to 6 because they dont want 7 courses per semester, which I think is what it takes to finish in 5 with co ops.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook