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Which Degree is the Best?

  1. Mar 30, 2012 #1
    If given the opportunity to graduate with two Bachelor's degrees, which of the following combinations would give me the most avenues to take in life?

    Physics + Computer Science
    Physics + Computer Engineering
    Computer Science + Computer Engineering

    This is part of a 3-2 plan with two universities so major choices are limited, but this is what I narrowed it down to. Originally, I had wanted to double up in Physics and CS but the other options look promising as well. I love computers and physics so any will work.

    Is the third too much computers; is it better to have a pure science degree under my belt? I would like to have many options after graduating and prefer to go into a profitable career. And with these two undergraduate degrees, is graduate school worth it?

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2012 #2
    Do what you love, if I where in your place I would choose Physics + Computer Science. Not for the money, but for the wide range of jobs. "and prefer to go into a profitable career", don't do a degree for the money, I would rather be a good painter working on minimum wage than do something for money and not like it. Life is a sum of 0, you start with 0 and you end up with 0, so I believe you should enjoy life and if you can leave your mark on this earth.
  4. Mar 30, 2012 #3
    I am not doing this for the money, although it does play a role. I love all the things I listed above and just want to know which one might lead me to the best outcome. I actually want to become a physics professor and have a CS degree to fall back on. So, I would probably need to get a PhD in Physics. Will a PhD in physics and a bachelor's in CS/CE give me a lot of options?
  5. Mar 31, 2012 #4
    Well is harder to do a phd in physics with a computer science/computer engineering bachelor. A joint honours degree in Physics and Computer Science, Masters in Computer Science and Phd in Physics I think will give you the most opportunity in high paying jobs and a different variety of jobs, from working in a nuclear power plant, to meteorology, with a masters you can go in medical physics, biophysics, or interdisciplinary masters like nanoscience or integrated approach to natural sciences(where you do chemistry, biology and physics), renewable and alternative energy sources and some engineering jobs, to being a physics teacher or a computer science teacher to a software engineer... there are lots of diverse jobs. I don't have joint honours in my country so is heartbreaking to choose just one :).
  6. Mar 31, 2012 #5
    I would major in Physics, minor in CS, and then go to graduate school for an MS to specialize in what you are enjoying the most. Then, you could choose industry or go on to get a doctorate. At some point you will want to focus; but until then, physics provides a useful and versatile foundation, and I believe that it will leave the highest number of doors open.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  7. Mar 31, 2012 #6


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Computational physics, and particularly computational multiphysics, is becoming more and more important.

    The ability to couple physics over multiple domains and scales, with finer resolution, requires enormous computing power, either on multicore supercomputers or clusters of workstations. One has to determine the right platform, I/O processing, most efficient algorithms. The physicists set the problems and models, while a computer scientist/engineer develops the computational architecture and system. Being able to do both is beneficial.

    Also, do what one loves.
  8. Mar 31, 2012 #7
    Actually, I can't minor because I would have to get two BS degrees. I would probably get a PhD in Astrophysics or Theoretical Physics or Particle Physics because those are the branches of physics I find most fascination. I would think two BS's in CS/CE and Physics plus a specialized PhD would leave me with a lot of options.
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