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The ultimate decision for a BS degree: Physics VS. Engineering

  1. Dec 27, 2011 #1
    So I've been in the lymboo of decision for my BS degree, should I go for Physics or pic an Engineering major.
    I really like physics and definitely like what the major leads to (research, teachings .. etc) However I'm always haunted by the thought of being poor and not being able to continue to grad school and all; and so the Engineering bachelors degree seems more promising.
    But I dont feel like im engineering material, never liked building stuff, NEVER like machines and totally not crafty with tools. In physics however, I can never get bored of attempting to solve a problem in physics, and math has always been just one of those things I'm good at.
    I eventually want to go into theoretical physics, or astrophysics (if I do physics).
    So if anyone can please give me some good advice, I've been told to do what I like but sometimes thats not the right choice... so, please help!
    I just finished my first year of college, took 3 math courses (calculus 1,2,3) and physics 1, as well as some other general study courses. I got a 98% in physics, and the math courses were around that average.

    thanks a bunch in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 27, 2011 #2
    engineering is applied physics if you want to look at it like that. if any of the disciplines don't jump out at you, then you should probably consider a physics degree.
  4. Dec 28, 2011 #3
    I think it's pretty simple. However, I think I should specify that my opinion can possibly not be valid since I'm only a high school senior.

    If you want to be an engineer after undergraduate you should get an engineering degree. If you want to study physics and research it, get a physics degree. If you can't decide between them then you can always look into engineering physics programs or possibly do your first year in engineering and if you don't like it you can switch.

    EDIT: The above I feel is still valid but now that I've carefully read your post, if you can't see yourself doing research in physics but just want an engineering job then get can engineering degree. However, if your sole reason for not getting a physics degree is because you'll be poor, I believe physics majors generally have one of the highest employment rates but you won't be doing physics research.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  5. Dec 28, 2011 #4
    You don't necessarily have to work with machines and tools to be an engineer. An aerospace engineer specializing in orbital mechanics is little different than a physicist, except that the purpose is different. The engineer would be finding optimal trajectories while the physicist would be studying things like the Pioneer Effect.
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