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Undergrad in mechanical engineering, masters in physics?

  1. Oct 17, 2007 #1
    I'm in my third year after bouncing around from physics, math, civil, and now mechanical engineering and find myself going through the motions on most of my coursework and projects. I spend my free time reading physics books like Planck's treatise on thermodynamics and in my classes only find the odd theoretical sections on fluids and thermo interesting. It would be nice if my hobbies and coursework could coincide, so although it's too late to switch now, I was wondering if a masters in physics is possible after I complete undergrad in mechanical? If so, what's involved? I've only taken the three university physics courses which engineers take and have taken 8 math courses

    I appreciate any input, thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2007 #2
    I'm in the same boat. I'm a third year Engineering Science major at UCSD. At my school Eng. Sci resemble ME but there's less design stuff and I get one or two more electives. I'm doing the degree to have something to fall back on but my true interest is physics, so I'll try to do a minor.
    If you strictly do an ME and apply for physics grad school, I'll say there's no chance because an ME degree has a completely different set of requirements than does a physics degree. The best solution in my opinion is a minor.
  4. Oct 20, 2007 #3
    If you're only in your third year, it seems to me that you have a year and a half to take some more courses in physics. That should be enough time to develop an adequate physics background (Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, electromagnetism in differential and integral form, statistical and thermal physics, quantum mechanics, and mathematical methods) for graduate study.
  5. Oct 21, 2007 #4
    Me too in the same boat, except that i've finished an undergrad in Electronics and Communication Engineering and also currently pursuing a coursework masters programme in electrical engineering at NUS, singapore. I wish I had done my undergrad in physics and math.
    would it be practical for me to switch over to career in physics/math? i know i have to sit for the subject GRE test for any advanced degree but the syllabus looks quite overwhelming for physics, given that i've only done the basic engineering physics which is too little compared to the physics of a degree in physics.
    I'm especially interested in Quantum mechanics. but would that help for a career?
    i hope someone could enlighten.. thanks.
  6. Oct 21, 2007 #5
    If you've only had a couple of basic physics courses, you would have probably two full years of physics and maybe some additional math courses to take. There are not really any shortcuts when it comes to learning a completely different field. However, what do you want to do as a career? You say that you are working on an MSEE but wish you did your undergrad in physics/math...why?
  7. Oct 21, 2007 #6
    unfortunately ill only have one opening left for any electives, so id only be able to take one course my senior year (i have 18 credits each year until then). However, I wouldnt mind after graduating to take a year of just physics at the state school (UF). does anyone know if this is possible and if they have a program for taking courses not towards a degree?
  8. Oct 22, 2007 #7
    dear bravernix,
    I recently happened to do a small research project(and still am doing) about tunneling, for which i had to read some earlier literature on the same. most of these deal with all the quantum mechanical aspects of it with extensive, rigorous mathematics (like perturbation theory etc with which i'm not familiar with but trying to). Now, I felt that my EE degree has given me too little interms of true science knowledge but has jus been more oriented towards the technology aspects.
    and i've always wanted to be a scientist who works more for the sake of knowledge rather than someone aiming at a lucrative but boring career.
    i've been thinking abt this for a while and have asked a few ppl. ppl give me different opinions and now i'm totally confused..
    this is one big question that confronts me : should i be complacent with my EE and take up some routine job (say like that of a semiconductor process engineer) or should i strive hard to embark upon a career that'd be dynamic and challenging, like that of a research scientist?
    and the reason i wished for an undergrad degree in physics/math was the same.
    i personally would feel content to be known as a physicist or a mathematician rather than as an engineer.
    i'd really really thank and appreciate suggestions and ideas.

    p.s: my MSc is entirely coursework (in National University of Singapore), and i only realised after beginning the course that it's more targeted towards working professionals rather than fresh graduates. :(
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2007
  9. Oct 22, 2007 #8
    It should be possible to enroll at UF as a non-degree-seeking student--I know several people who have done that at the University of Arizona.
  10. Oct 30, 2007 #9
    veejay you took the words right out of my mouth
  11. Oct 30, 2007 #10
    u mean u're too in a similar situation?
  12. Oct 30, 2007 #11
    yup, exactly almost-- i just dont know where to start or how to start
  13. Oct 30, 2007 #12
    what are u doin rite now? have u finished ur undergrad or something?
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