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Programs Undergrad Physics vs Engineering Physics

  1. Mar 25, 2016 #1
    • Hello,i always wanted to be a physicist no matter how hard of a time i may have finding actual research work,i am particularly interested in particle physics so my end goal would be a PhD in particle physics but i am having a hard time deciding whether to major in physics or engineering physics which as i understand it would allow me to find some engineering work(in my area anyway) and have meaningful employment but still have enough physics classes to actually go into physics grad school,the thing is the feedback i am getting from people is the the undergraduate part of your education is crucial as opposed to grad school where you basically do research and work toward your thesis for your degree.the thing is a ''normal'' physics major looks a lot more physics heavy(i would most likely try to minor in CS) ,the engineering physics curriculum i'm looking at includes stuff like programming,electronics,''modern physics'' semi conductor device technology or applied optics whereas the physics curriculum is all about physics and mathematics,i of course did not include all the classes of both degrees to avoid making what is an already long post even longer but could post them if someone wanted to actually know them,but seriously am i missing something or would i be totally be fine doing engineering physics and going to physics grad school and have an enginering/physics background that could help for some jobs or should i just get as much physics and mathematics as i can and just major in physics(which could also include a Photonics option) to have a stronger science background to get into grad school?
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2016 #2


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    Wow - that's a run on sentence!

    There's advantages and disadvantages to both directions. Generally an engineering physics degree will qualify you for most graduate programs in physics and so in that sense it certainly seems like a means of getting the best of both worlds. What you give up though, is exactly what you've identified. While you're taking courses in electronics, programming, and semi-conductors, you're sacrificing courses other areas of physics, and that means that you won't have as much opportunity to take as many those senior undergraduate introductory courses that introduce you to the different subfields you'll have to chose from when it's time to decide on graduate school. The other potential sacrifice is with elective courses.

    One way to make the decision might be to go through the course calendar and circle all the courses you really want to take, and maybe even rank them in order of what's most important to you. Then match the program to the course load that you've selected. I realize that's a lot of work, but it can really get you thinking about what's important to you.
  4. Mar 26, 2016 #3
    yeah sorry about that,but i get what you're saying and it comfirms what i was already thinking.Its a very hard choice to make because both are very appealing especially engineering physics like you mentionned but physics is what i ultimately want to do and is the whole reason im gonna go to univesity so while im still debating wich one to chose im kind of leaning towards a physics bachelor of science and take a photonics option.Thanks for replying!
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