Skip to content
Home » physics vs computer science 

physics vs computer science 

In this post, we’ll discover the difference between physics and computer science, in addtion discover the best major you should follow.

the difference between computer science and physics

Computer science and physics are completely different, computer science majors are based on math and computer programming while physics is broader and encompasses many sciences, they could be including computer science itself in some parts like computational quantum mechanics.

Computer science focuses on implementing math to develop algorithms solving real-life problems, it could be including programs used in websites, mobile apps, bank systems or machines, computers we run etc.

Physics is broader, it teaches all matter and energy, it comes from studying the atom composition to the wide universe. In physics, major students study the basics rules like gravity, electricity, magnetism, kinematics, dynamics, and so on.

There are some overlaps between physics and computer science, the best example of a combined major that uses physics and computer science is electrical engineering.

In electrical engineering, students have to study physics topics like thermodynamics, electricity, and magnetism to build electronic circuits, and learn programming and algorithms to program them, this is how computers and smartphones are made.

Does computer science have physics

computer science doesn’t require to study physics, students are only required to complete some elementary physics courses in their first year, the physics course you will be taking, is an example of physics-based calculus where you have to revise the elementary physics courses like:

you won’t dig deeper into these subjects, it is going to be just an introductory course or revision of the physics course you studied in high school.

 But physics is not a topic that you can ignore at all, because there are some computer science specialties that require physics like gaming and robotics and other domains where computer science requires physics.

you could find more details in this article on how physics is used in computer science.

If you are bad at physics you don’t have to worry because computer science focuses more on math, algorithms, and learning new programming technologies like machine learning, data structure, and computer vision.

The only prerequisite you must have is to be good at math, especially in calculus, you will have a lot of calculus courses to complete from the easiest one calculus 1 to the most difficult one, calculus 3 or multivariable calculus, in addition to the differential equation and linear algebra.

Is physics or computer science harder

Both physics and computer science are harder, they both are math-heavy, and students have to complete many mathematics courses. In physics and computer science majors, students spend their first two years studying the most difficult math topics like calculus, multivariable calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra.

Physics can be tougher than computer science because it is much broader and more condensed than computer science. In physics, you do not only have math as a challenge but you also need to understand all the difficult subjects of physics, like thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, or physics relativity.

In computer science students are not required to study these difficult subjects, they focus on math to learn the structure of computers such as data structures that teach how to compute words, In addition to learning how to implement advanced programming technologies like machine learning, and data science.

Physics will be difficult for students who don’t like a lot of theory and proofs, it is not suitable for students to work by hand and craft things from scratch. while computer science can be frustrating for people who don’t like computers spending long hours learning programming and algorithms.

So in terms of program density physics is much condensed or harder but less applied than computer science.

Can I study physics and computer science?

Yes, you study physics and computer science together. There are some double majors some universities allow, but we don’t recommend taking them, because they are so difficult to complete. 

In addition, it is not worth it to spend the whole effort and time. Because you will be applying for the same jobs that a single major would apply for.

It will be a good option to study both subjects. if you love them both. But instead of taking a double major, you could get your bachelor’s in physics and then take private courses online in computer science.

Computer science is a flexible major and can be self-taught not like physics, it is very hard to study it on your own. 

what should I choose computer science or physics?

If you are looking for a high-salary job and flexibility in your work, three are not better than computer science and the numbers prove that. According to BLS the average or median salary of computer science graduates working in the software engineering industry is $110,140 and $147,000 for physicists.

But the most amazing and mind-blowing thing is, every year computer science industries hire half a million engineers, that is only in the United States, so it is a blowing industry. There is no industry that has attained these numbers. Even famous engineering industries like electrical or mechanical engineering hire only 20,000 a year.

but the most deceptive thing about physics majors, regardless of the higher salary. physics branches offer only 1600 jobs annually. So your odds of finding a job in computer science are 312 times better than in computer science.

Moreover, there is a study that affirms, 61% of computer science graduates get hired directly after graduating. But the last killer advantage of computer science is you don’t need even a degree to work as an engineer.

If you are aiming to work in software engineering, you could take online courses that give credentials or join accelerated boot camps that prepare students in record times for only 6 months instead of 4 years in university. This is one of the reasons that make computer science the best engineering degree in the world.

The only reason that could take into consideration and make you choose physics, is if you love and enjoy physics or get bored easily in front of a computer. Other than that you won’t find a degree that pays well and can bring you quickly to rough jobs like computer science.