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applied physics vs physics

In this post, we will discover the difference between applied physics and physics, and which one is harder to study.

Is applied physics harder than physics

Both applied physics and physics are hard subjects, they require a solid math background in algebra and calculus, meaning you must be doing well in math and know how to apply it well in physics.

applied physics focuses more on using physics rules in real-life applications, it has a lot of similarities to engineering. While physics courses are more general and theoretical than applied physics.

For students who love theory and enjoy solving mathematics equations, physics will be better than applied physics and easier for them. But they have to consider they should complete the most theoretical physics subjects like:

In applied physics, these topics are not required to be completed in a course, they are in a form of electives, and they are optional.

For instance, Quantum mechanics is difficult and requires a lot of math, especially calculus. You will be spending long hours studying this course. So if you don’t enjoy spending long hours reading essays and studying rules, physics will be hard for you.

On the other hand, some students will find applied physics hard because it requires skills in design, programming, electronics, and electricity. In applied physics, you will be dealing a lot with machines and computers.

so finally it depends on your perspective or which position you want to be in. In the next paragraph, we will be giving you which you choose applied physics or physics.

which should you choose applied physics or physics

Choosing between applied physics for physics is a personal question that relates to orientation or which courses you will find comfortable. We will give you the cases where you should choose applied physics and where you should choose physics.

1 – In these cases, you should choose applied physics

If you love to design, craft things with your hand and apply all the physics laws to build products then applied physics is the best option. You will have the opportunity to use all the physics rules to design products and solve engineering issues.

For instance, you will be required to design machines of a mechanical system like a valve switch, or even softwares that simplifies or makes a specific task for example CFD, FEM .

For this reason, you must have some background in electronics, physics, and programming. but the most interesting thing is to have a passion to do these kinds of time and effort-consuming activities. 

The design and manufacturing of products require a lot of testing times and tweaks. if you don’t feel attracted to this era you will not have the patience which means failing or dropping a course.

if you like to work with private companies especially become an engineer working in manufacturing, IT industry, or any industry that involves product manufacturing or design then applied physics is the best choice to opt for

2 – in this case, you should choose physics

If you don’t like to work by hand or don’t appreciate design, applied physics will not be the best option for you. You will be suited to study general physics especially if you want to study astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, and so on.

Physics is the best choice for students who like theory-solving equations and don’t like the design or working by hand dealing with machines and making practical tests. you’ll be focusing more on math and proofs in physics and applied physics.

but you have to consider that the road of being a theoretical physicist is long and in most cases requires you to deal with a lot of pressure and maybe study 10 years after getting your bachelor’s in physics to get your Ph.D. which is sometimes not worth it. 

While in applied physics you could work in many engineering and manufacturing companies right away from getting your bachelor’s.

But it is not always the case, you can still be finding a job with only a bachelor’s degree in physics, working for some private companies but it will be tougher.

Physics is an ideal branch for people who are thinking of pursuing or following their career in academic branches like becoming professors, or researchers by working with governmental research centers and facilities.


If you love to invent and see physics rules in reality, then applied physics is for you. If you like theory and deep thinking about cosmology, and astrophysics problems or are fascinated by the universe you might be considering general physics.

But you have to consider that majoring in applied physics has higher chances to find jobs quickly than in general physics because you will have the opportunity to work with engineers or be a physics engineer.

You can be working in many industries, they are numerous especially manufacturing and IT companies.

Having a general physics degree will mostly require you to continue by getting a master’s or even a Ph.D. if you are looking to work with governmental facilities or at least achieve a dream of becoming a professor. You will be facing a lot of competition, but if you love it still matters, money must not be the only factor you should base on.

Applied physics vs general physics

Applied physics is a course that focuses on applying physics laws in real-life applications, like collaborating in inventing or designing new technologies such as transistors, lasers, etc. While general physics focuses on theoretical physics that is based on math proofs like quantum mechanics, relative theories, and other aspects that require solving math equations.