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physics or environmental science

In this post, we’ll be discovering the difference between physics and environmental engineering branches and which one you should choose.

which is better physics or environmental science

According to the Bls, the average or median salary of the physicist is $147,000  a year, while in  Environmental science you have two options:

 Environmental engineers have a respectful salary higher than environmental scientists,  the median salary of an environmental engineer is $96,000  while environmental scientists get a lower salary, over $76,000.

 The problem with environmental engineering is not having job opportunities. This industry is slowly evolving,  it’s only growing by 4% compared to  8%  for Environmental science and physics.

In addition, environmental engineering offers only 1900 annual occupations; it is close to physics which offers 1600 occupations a year.

To summarize all these numbers, we’re going to give you the all details and numbers about these 3 industries:

jobsphysicistenvironmental engineerenvironmental scientist
salary$147,000$96,000$74,000
growth rate8%4%(grow slowly)8%
number of jobs offered annually160019007300

So as you can see the best high-paid salary is offered in physics majors, but the best jobs that have higher chances to be employed are in environmental science.

But the advantage environmental scientists have is they don’t need to get a Ph.D. as a physicist should. 

 To reach a high level, and earn a lot of money as a physicist you have to complete your studies and get a Ph.D. While environmental scientists are required only to complete their bachelor’s degree.

 It means that in physics you have to study 5 to 10 years after getting your Bachelor’s,  which means 20 years before reaching this high level.  In environmental science, you need only to complete a 4-year bachelor’s program and start applying for jobs.

 If you want to get hired as soon as possible it would be a bad idea to major in physics and stumble for 15 to 20 years to become a physicist. It will be risky, most people drop their Ph.D. for many reasons.  so the best option, in this case, would be environmental science.

 but the most interesting thing you have to look at after money is which domain you love or find yourself in.

what should you choose physics or environmental science

 If you love to solve physics problems and are fascinated by physics phenomena like astrophysics, or have an interest in cosmology by watching documentaries like the famous one-start talk show. You would be so suited to take physics.

 On the other hand, if you like chemistry topics and feel attracted to environmental nature like hydrology and geology, or you enjoy working outside of your desk, Environmental science is a good topic to choose. 

Do you need physics for environmental science?

Physics is not a big concentration topic for environmental science majors, but students are still required to complete some general physics courses like general physics 1, general physics 2, and experimental physics courses.

1 – general physics 1

General Physics 1, is a calculus-based course where students are learning multiple physics topics that use calculus to solve physics problems. For instance, you would be taking subjects like kinematics, dynamics,, work and energy, gravitation, simple harmonic motion, and introduction to thermodynamics.

2 – general physics 2

In the general physics course, you will be continuing the physics course by discovering topics such as electricity and magnetism, wave motion, and optics. You can find more information about this course in this article.

3 – experimental physics course

In the experimental Physics course, you would be used to make physics tests and observations of a group of phenomena. It covers physical measurements, tests in electricity and magnetism, optics, and mechanics.

Some students take a General Physics course in high school which reduces a lot of time and headaches allowing them to focus on principal environmental science courses like math and chemistry. 

 The difficult physics subject that you will find in an environmental science major is thermodynamics that you will be taking firstly in the General Physics course, as a supporting subject for chemistry Topics you would be focusing on.

which is harder than physics or environmental science

Physics and environmental science subjects have a similar difficulty in terms of math concentration,  meaning students are required to complete the same amount of math courses in physics and environmental science.

The main difference is that in physics majors students focus on narrowed physics topics like quantum mechanics or fluid dynamics while environmental science students have to focus more on chemistry studying topics like lab chemistry, chemistry for engineering, and organic chemistry.

If you are worried about mathematics, there is no difference between physics and environmental science. In both majors  you have to complete the following mathematics topics:

If you are good at math you would have the ability to succeed in physics or environmental science, so the principal thing is to shift all your focus to calculus and prepare hard for it. 

AP Physics or AP environmental science

The most obvious response is if you are interested in majoring in physics you would normally take AP Physics but if you are interested in biology or environmental science it is not a problem to take AP environmental science is easier and less difficult than AP Physics.

 But the most interesting thing that you have to understand is:

 If you took AP Physics it would be useful not only for physics majors but even for environmental science classes.  you may have to earn some credits that you will expect you to take a General Physics course that environmental science programs require to complete. 

In addition, if you haven’t yet started physics in high school you have to remember that Almost all STEM majors require at least one Physics course to apply for engineering physics and other related majors.