In this post, we’ll discover the 7 critical facts about physics engineering, that any student should consider before choosing to major in this branch.
1 – engineering physics has a challenging curriculum
Engineering physics is the most difficult course you would be taking in college, it is harder than any engineering or physics program. Students are required to complete in 4 to 5 years almost all the physics, math, and engineering topics.
In engineering physics, you will be required to complete all math subjects, especially calculus. you will have calculus 1, calculus 2, calculus 3, and differential equations.
In physics topics, you will be taking general physics courses and then taking advanced physics courses like thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, fluid mechanics, heat, and thermic transfer.
The pace the professor goes is higher, if you procrastinate you will end up messing up something, maybe in math or physics which can influence your understanding in the next related courses.
So the best thing to do is to schedule your time for doing homework and devote double the energy and effort to spend on preparation because this program is made for nerd students who have resistance and decide to challenge themselves.
2 – Engineering physics requires having solid foundations in math
engineering physics requires you to be good at math, you must have done well in the previous algebra and precalculus courses. In this course, you will be studying a lot of calculus which is based on trigonometry and other algebra topics you should be taking in high school.
In the first year, you will be required to complete a calculus 1 course which includes derivatives, and integrals in addition to other related topics, then you will have in the spring a calculus 2 course that is based on all the calculus 1 topics, but student goes deeper and solve more difficult derivatives functions and integrals.
In the third year, you will be studying multivariable calculus or calculus 3. In this course, students will make derivatives and integrals of multiple variable functions like the functions in the example below.
Multivariable functions are very interesting for students studying advanced physics courses like thermodynamics and quantum mechanics.
The math in engineering physics is so gradual and sequential, if you mess with calculus 1 you will struggle in calculus 2 then calculus 3, and finally, in physics subjects. In engineering physics, there is no subject you can ignore.
3 – Engineer’s physics must be good at practice and theory
In engineering physics you must be good at practice and theory, in other words, you will be solving complex mathematical equations and also doing practice tests in labs and running machines like 3d printers and waterjet machines. It is fun for students who love to mix practice and theory.
If you don’t appreciate working or making experiments, it is better to take a physics major alone and focus on theory.
On the other hand, if you don’t like to go deeper into math and difficult subjects like quantum mechanics, engineering physics is not good, it is better to opt for engineering classes where that focus on design.
Sometimes students find hardships to balance between practice and theory, for instance, you will be asked to develop a prototype device from scratch. So you have to first make theoretical math and physics calculation then goes to the next practical phase where you should design in CAD or code on a computer.
For this reason, it’s better to have some background in design and programming before taking an engineering physics course.
4 – Engineering physics is hard than engineering
engineering physics is harder than engineering alone, students have put themselves in the shoes of engineers and physicists which is hard and stressful. Engineers in physics have to go deep into topics and begin from scratch, not in the middle like regular engineers.
For instance, if you are working on developing or creating a new type of sensor, as a traditional engineer you will be focusing on the design and technical aspects of this sensor. For instance, designing the electronic board of this sensor or working on a mechanical structure of this sensor. While a physicist can do research and provide you with Mathematical and deep knowledge you should consider.
As an engineering physicist, you are required to do all these tasks, in addition to developing the basic principle that makes this sensor work, so you have to be aware of diffraction, and all the physics phenomena behind this sensor. So you are combining a job of physicist and engineer which is great if you master it.
5 – Engineering physics is hard than physics
Engineering physics is harder than physics because engineers are required to solve theoretical equations and at the same time design and make their hands dirty by running machines like waterjet and 3d printers to create projects and deal with machines.
you will be required also to learn design like in CAD or solid work. In addition, I have a little background in programs such as c, c++, and python. So it is a handy and theoretical major.
6 – The course load is larger
Typically the course load of engineering phsyics is larger, but it is programmed to be finished in just 4 years you could have a look at this example of the engineering phsyics course for more details.
But it is very hard to complete this course in 4 years, you have to dedicate long hours a day to complete this course. It is difficult for students who work part-time jobs or do other activities to balance and get this degree in 4 years unless they are fast learners or smarter.
It is not weird to be spending 3 to 4 hours a day or even more if you want to complete this course at the time, it requires a lot of hard work, but is worth it. Many students get hired before graduation if they show some sort of genius or dedication.
You don’t have to be a genius to study engineering physics. If you are passionate and find it fascinating, you will succeed in this course.
7 – you have to choose a specialization
In the last or senior year in engineering physics, you have to choose a specialization. You will have choices to become:
you will find all the details in the link about the concentration programs engineers in physics can choose between.
So,it depends on the branch or specialization you will choose. For instance, if you choose in your last year to become a mechanical engineer, you will be studying specific subjects like:
All you have to do is work hard, and love what you do. This is the key to success in engineering physics.