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Courses Want to switch to physics from engineering in undergrad

  1. Apr 7, 2017 #1
    So I'm currently in my second year doing biomedical engineering. I want to study physics in grad school, but am at an impasse. I can't do a physics minor because there is no space in my schedule, and I can only petition one physics course to fulfill my engineering electives. So I am debating switching to physics. However, this would require an internal transfer, and I have not fulfilled the some of the requirements they need. For example, they say student should have taken a course on waves and optics, as well as circuits by their fourth semester, which I have not done. There is no guarantee they will accept my internal transfer application. If I want to take the physics GRE, I need to know classical dynamics, stat thermo, and quantum mech. Many of these courses are co- or prerequisites, and I can't take all the necessary courses. Also, from what I have looked up, many grad schools want a year of quantum mechanics.

    I currently do research (a lot) in a BME lab that is close to biophysics, and I should be able to get my name on at least 2 papers by the time I graduate so I have that going for me. But what can I do about preparing for the GRE?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2017 #2


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    It sounds to me like you're being influenced somewhat by the sunken cost effect. You've traveled a couple years in one direction and want to change directions, but don't want to start at square one again. That's certainly understandable, and usually you don't have to go all the way back to the beginning, but some back-tracking might be inevitable.

    It's very easy to get into trouble by enrolling in courses without first having taken the prerequisites. One option you could consider is taking those prerequisite courses over the summer. That would set you up to start down the physics track in the fall.

    With respect to the physics GRE, remember that it's not a substitute for a physics degree. Even if somehow you get a great mark on it, you'll be hard pressed to find a physics graduate program that will admit you if you haven't completed core physics curriculum courses like those you mentioned.
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