Would you consider a double major in electrical engineering and physics worthwhile?

  • Programs
  • Thread starter Ze Corndog
  • Start date
  • #1
I'm currently in a somewhat unique situation at the moment. I am about to finish my 5th year of my undergrad degree. I was doing computer science for two years when I realized it was just not for me, so I switched over to electrical engineering. Despite the workload, I enjoy the subject.

Now, to finish this degree, I would need to take classes for another 3 semesters. The third and final of these semesters would only have one or two classes. However, so many classes coincide between physics and electrical engineering that there's only a difference of 6 classes. If I were to double major into physics, I would only need to stay for an extra semester (due to the third semester having room for other classes).

So what I'm looking at is one degree for 6.5 years of schooling vs 7 years for two. It seems worth it to me and to everyone I've talked to (friends, parents, and even my advisor). But I'm going to ask you all because you seem smarter and more experienced. So, what do you think?

Answers and Replies

  • #2

To add to that, I'm not 100% sure about getting a master's or PhD at some point or not. If I did, it would most definitely be in physics and not engineering. This would also have to be after at least a couple of years of working with the undergraduate degree(s).
  • #3
Gold Member

Too what point? What are you preparing to do? Is the double major going to be better preparation for your goals, or is it just another piece of paper, additional college debt, and a delay in entering the job market? You need to evaluate where you are going and why this is useful or not.
  • #4

Well, like I said, if I ever decide to go further it'd be in physics and not in engineering. I have no college debt, so that's not a concern.

I know some very talented people who graduated with a bachelor's and couldn't find a job, so most are going for their master's to have better credentials. It just seems like spending an extra semester will give me more opportunities, so I was wondering what others thought.
  • #5

What are the 6 physics courses? You also need to consider the prerequisites and physics course ordering. You may not be able to take all 6 within 3 semesters.

Also, I'm sure you know this, but it's worth repeating: physics is a lot of work. Two physics courses with an advanced EE course or two per semester is going to be time consuming.
  • #6

It's one chemistry course (general chem 2, because engineers only need to take the first), and five physics courses. One is an advanced physics lab (easy enough, I write a pretty decent report and experiments are arguably the most fun part), one is quantum mechanics (probably my favorite subject, but I've never taken a formal course on it), one is dynamics (which is most likely going to the most difficult course for me, because I wasn't a big fan of statics), and the last two are physics electives I get to choose from (astrophysics, relativity, nuclear physics, fluid mechanics, etc...)

I've taken the prerequisites and which semesters these courses are offered on into consideration and I'll easily be able to fit things together if I make the choice early on. For example, I could take one of the courses this summer if I decide to go through with it. I didn't do that for my first few years, and it put me a little behind (on top of the computer science courses).

Technically, I also have to take an advanced math course. However, engineers need to take a relevant math elective for their type of engineering. For electrical engineering, my advisor said she'll approve complex analysis if I take that. So that knocks off a course that would otherwise be in addition to the other six.
  • #7

Bump because it's been a while
  • #8

If I were going to do electronics, I would probably have to double major in physics with an emphasis in solid state, in order to avoid going insane because I can't take too much stuff on faith. I don't like things that someone else came up with that I can't understand. I never figured out how transistors really worked, and I'm annoyed that I didn't to this day.

Otherwise, I'm not sure it's worth it. It ought to be something that gives you some skills you will use.

Related Threads on Would you consider a double major in electrical engineering and physics worthwhile?