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Which path to take to reach OE? EE or PHY?

  1. Nov 8, 2004 #1
    Greetings. I just found these forums and hope you guys can shed some light on this for me. I just received my AA degree from a local community college and am finishing up Physics 2 and Calculus 3 so I can move on to the University of Central Florida.

    I would like to get into the Masters program for Optics at the CREOL college there. (http://www.creol.ucf.edu/). They only have programs for people who have an undergraduate degree in EE or PHY.

    Here is the dilema. I enjoy both Electrical Engineering and Physics. They both sound equally interesting. I am drawn to some things in one and other things in the other. Frankly, it has been 2 years of hell trying to decide which one to persue.

    However, the end goal is a Masters in Optics and Lasers.

    So, what are the benifits of an undergrad in either degree? Is it simple a matter of the EE degree is easier to fall back on and get a job if things go sour? All the people I have spoken to locally have said that... but they are all Engineers and not physicists. So, biased perspectives there.

    Would one be better than the other in entering the Masters program at CREOL?

    Thanks for any insight.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2004 #2

    Dr Transport

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    CREOL is primarily an Electro-Optics center, I would suggest EE as opposed to Physics. You can always minor in Physics and major in EE, that way you will have some of the background necessary to work in Optics/Quantum Optics.
  4. Nov 9, 2004 #3
    Quantum Optics.... shows how little I know... never heard of that branch.

    What do they do? Is it simple working on Optics at levels smaller than the nano? Or ?
  5. Nov 10, 2004 #4
    I don't know much about how your system works over there, but many people at my university (RMIT in Melbourne, Australia) study for a double degree in Electronic engineering and Applied physics. It sounds like that would be perfect for you. Do any universities near you offer programs similar to this?
    A few of my friends were basically building lasers from scratch and experimenting on them for their final year projects.
    If you can't find a double degree program, my advice would be to do as Dr Transport says: Study EE but make sure that you do a Physics minor.
  6. Nov 14, 2004 #5
    CREOL research aside, my opinion is that a Physics degree is the way to go if you are doing Optics and Lasers, and for employment in general. Physics will let you get to know quantum and emag at the most fundamental level, which is what optical systems and lasers are all about. You won't be distracted by designing circuits or systems engineering as will happen in the EE degree.

    And about employment...don't let engineers tell you that nobody will hire you with a Physics degree. In fact, with a few exceptions, your Physics degree will set you apart in a stack of resumes. Honestly, most job skills in science and technology are learned on-the-job and by having a physics degree you'll be conversant with MechE's, EE's, and just about everyone else.
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