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Would it be stupid to switch to engineering at this point?

  1. Feb 26, 2008 #1
    I'm currently a 3rd year student majoring in physics and will probably end up with a minor in math. I'm having a major crisis tryin to decide what to do with my life.

    I'm currently taking upper-div mechanics, but the class is pretty boring. I'm thinking about leaving physics also because theres so few job opportunities available. But, I think it would be stupid to switch at this point since I already applied to 13 REU programs for physics. It would be a total waste if I didnt continue with physics as I put a TON of effort into those applications.

    I could continue and complete my math degree but none of the jobs you can get with it sound interesting: actuary, computer programmer, finance, etc

    So I was thinking of switching to mechanical engineering. But I'm not that into building machinery, but it sounds the best among all the engineering fields. But it would take 3 more years to finish it (unless I take like 5 classes per quarter), whereas math and physics would only take 2 more.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2008 #2
    Your REUs are all going to reject you if you change majors?

    Take some upper-div lab courses and tell me if you're still bored. It may just be that you're destined for experimentalism not theory...
  4. Feb 27, 2008 #3

    It sounds like you might want to look into what engineers do a little bit more. I am not sure what "best among all the engineering fields" means but it does not mean it's the best for you. Since you've applied to REUs, maybe you should go to one (assuming you get accepted), see you what you think about prospects in physics from the research point of view, and decide at the end of the summer. Meanwhile, you can look into the different engineering fields and see if that's what you really are interested in.
  5. Feb 27, 2008 #4
    I definitely like theory more than experiment. which is another reason why i'm considering dropping physics: theres few jobs available for theoretical areas of physics

    aerospace eng sounds the most interesting but i heard doing undergrad in mechanical eng has more job opportunities and can lead to aerospace-related jobs.
  6. Feb 27, 2008 #5
    I'm not sure how it is in the States, but in Canada you're able to directly enter into a graduate degree in engineering. If you're smart and find what the requirements are to get (what would be the equivalent of) Professional Engineer (P.Eng), then you can take the few required undergrad courses (~5-10) so that you pop out with a masters in engineering and have the qualifications to become a P.Eng.

    Plus, you have the benefit of choosing whichever discipline of engineering that suits you most, at a graduate level.
  7. Feb 27, 2008 #6


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    proton, you sound like you have no idea which degree you really want to do, which is a little worrying for a third year student! I would advise that you book a meeting with your advisor/tutor and go and talk to him/her about the options you have. They should know you a lot better than we do, and will be able to advise you based on what you have taken as to what an appropriate route would be.
  8. Feb 29, 2008 #7
    well i talked to my faculty advisor about this and he wasnt very helpful. he just said pursue what you like, dont worry about making money/finding a job. but he did say one thing useful, that is if he isnt lying: you can find jobs easily with a phD in experimental physics, even in areas like particle and highenergy physics.

    i'll probably make my final decision after i do my REU this summer and/or take my 1st quantum mech class
  9. Feb 29, 2008 #8
    I think I like theory more than experimentalism.
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