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Transition from Mechanical Engineering to Physics

  1. Dec 29, 2011 #1
    Hello, I am currently a second semester sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering thinking about studying Physics at the graduate level after my undergraduate degree is done. My main inquiry is regarding the transition from Mechanical Engineering to Physics. How hard is it exactly (if at all)? Also, if I was thinking about doing a PhD program in either what would my grades have to look like in order to attend a reputable school with an outstanding Physics or Mechanical Engineering department. My current GPA is a 3.30, any advice on raising it (as well as addressing the aforementioned questions)? Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 29, 2011 #2
    Not a particularly easy transition but very possible (some famous people switched from eng. to physics, e.g. Wigner, had a master degree equivalent in chemical engineering).
    You need to cover the basic courses of a physics bachelor degree, e.g.

    -classical mechanics (its not just Newton's mechanics)
    -statistical and thermal physics (you would be studying some thermal physics in mech. eng.)
    -quantum mechanics
    -solid state physics (you might have a similar course on materials science)

    Taking those subjects in terms of courses should be a good benchmark for you to decide whether you want to continue with your plan or not. You might be able to organize your study plan such that you can have one additional physics course per semester.

    An alternative path would be applying directly to the grad school, whom might ask you to make up for the missing courses, but I think this requires a very good applicant profile.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
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