Engineering to Physics

nafiz
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 25, 2013 12:37 pm

Engineering to Physics

Postby nafiz » Wed Dec 25, 2013 12:46 pm

I am a student from Bangladesh majoring in Industrial and Production Engineering. I am in 1st year. Though I study Engineering, I love Physics so much. It always fascinates me. It is much too beautiful to be ignored.It is a beautiful journey in which I want to take part. I always dream to be a physicist someday. After finishing my undergraduate study in Engineering, I want to pursue higher education in physics. I want to do my MS/PHD in Engineering Physics.I know I lack the necessary knowledge of a physics major, so I will try to compensate for that by taking online courses (thanks to Coursera,Edx ) and taking some additional courses in my university on Quantum Mechanics,Electromagnetism etc. I will also take the Physics GRE exam and try to obtain good marks in it. Is it enough to fulfil my dream? Everyone please help. I don't want my dream to die. Please help me.What should I do to turn my dream into reality?

TakeruK
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Engineering to Physics

Postby TakeruK » Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:59 pm

I am not sure how your school works, but if you are still in your first year, can you switch to either Engineering Physics or Physics major? That will probably be the biggest thing you can do to help you pursue your dream now!

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quizivex
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Re: Engineering to Physics

Postby quizivex » Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:10 am

This thread was moved to the more appropriate subforum: “Transitioning to Physics from a non-physics field

I agree 100% with TakeruK. If you're a first year student (presumably in your first semester), just switch your major now. I don't know much about Bangladesh colleges, but it's easy and common for first year students in the US to change a major in the first (or sometimes second) year and graduate on time in 4 years. First year courses are usually general and not too specialized... there's a lot of overlap between first year courses different majors in science/engineering. Not much time will be wasted in a switch of majors, and there's lots of time to make up for it.

It would benefit you very much to apply to physics graduate schools with a degree in physics or engineering physics. If you still want to have an undergrad degree in Industrial and Production Engineering, then how about double majoring in that and physics? Based on your post, you seem to be willing to put in the effort...

nafiz
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 25, 2013 12:37 pm

Re: Engineering to Physics

Postby nafiz » Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:49 am

In Bangladesh, we can't change our major...that's the problem...
and the physics department in our university is not very good...people mostly try to memorize things instead of realizing it so that they can get good marks...and the exams just take away your love for it...but I don't like it that way...I want to learn it because it is very interesting...
My question is: can I pursue MS/Phd in Physics if I complete my undergrad in Industrial and Production Engineering?

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quizivex
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Re: Engineering to Physics

Postby quizivex » Thu Dec 26, 2013 9:02 am

nafiz wrote:can I pursue MS/Phd in Physics if I complete my undergrad in Industrial and Production Engineering?

Yes, engineering students often apply to physics graduate schools and get accepted. Browse the profile threads to see many examples of students who did this. You will need to take as many pure physics courses as you can (including the main ones... quantum, stat mech, E&M), do well on the Physics GRE, and if possible, get involved in some physics research. Browse this "Transitioning to Physics" subforum for more discussions about changing fields.

Still for your case...
1) If you can't change your major, how about adding a second major in physics? Can you do that?
2) Since your school's physics department is lousy, how about dropping out and enrolling in another school as a physics major? You will only "lose" one semester.

nafiz
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 25, 2013 12:37 pm

Re: Engineering to Physics

Postby nafiz » Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:32 pm

For your options:
1: I can't take a second major in my University.
2.In Bangladesh,Things are very different than US/Europe...It is impossible for me to get admitted into another university... :(

I can't but have to proceed with my Engineering undergrad...considering this...can u please give me some advice how can I improve my chances of getting into physics grad school? I want to start working to compensate for my weaknesses from now...

blighter
Posts: 256
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:30 pm

Re: Engineering to Physics

Postby blighter » Thu Dec 26, 2013 1:09 pm

nafiz wrote:For your options:
1: I can't take a second major in my University.
2.In Bangladesh,Things are very different than US/Europe...It is impossible for me to get admitted into another university... :(

I can't but have to proceed with my Engineering undergrad...considering this...can u please give me some advice how can I improve my chances of getting into physics grad school? I want to start working to compensate for my weaknesses from now...


Given all that what you said, couldn't you change to a more relevant engineering discipline? Because industrial and production engineering is very far removed from physics. Also couldn't you join an undergraduate programme in a different country if you cannot join one in yours?

nafiz
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 25, 2013 12:37 pm

Re: Engineering to Physics

Postby nafiz » Thu Dec 26, 2013 1:41 pm

Given all that what you said, couldn't you change to a more relevant engineering discipline? Because industrial and production engineering is very far removed from physics. Also couldn't you join an undergraduate programme in a different country if you cannot join one in yours?[/quote]

Nope,I can't do that...
I am describing the courses in my major which have relevance to Physics...
Calculus:
1.Differential Calculus and Solid Geometry
2.Integral Calculus and Differential Equations
3.Vector Calculus, Matrices and Laplace Transformation
Other math courses:
1.Numerical Analysis
Physics related:
1.Mechanics,Waves and Structure of Matter
2.Engineering Mechanics
3.Mechanics of Solids
4.Mechanics of Machinery
5.Fluid Mechanics
6.Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer
7.Electric and Electronics Circuit Theory
others:
Computer Programming,System modeling and simulation etc
Besides I have recently taken a online course offered by coursera of Uni of Colorado Boulder and did well in it...now, I am busy with a online Astrophysics course... :D

TakeruK
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Engineering to Physics

Postby TakeruK » Thu Dec 26, 2013 3:23 pm

Okay, it sounds like the Bangladesh system is very different and it's too bad that you cannot do any of the things that were suggested above, because I think any of those things would be better than what is suggested below.

1. Do you have any elective courses in your degree? Or do you have to follow a predetermined list of courses, with no choices? If you have electives, then take all of them from the Physics department if possible. Not just Physics related courses, but take courses taught by Physics professors with other Physics students. Your list of Physics courses sound like the courses engineers in Canada (and probably North America) would take, where you will learn some of the same Physics principles, which is good, but from talking to my engineer friends, the focus of these classes is very different from what one would expect from a Physics student. Also, the material seem to only cover the first two or so years of Physics material. So you will have to make up for the material covered in the later years of a Physics degree if you want to compete with North American and European physics majors. Here is an example of the courses a physics major might need to take:

http://www.phas.ubc.ca/undergrad-honours-physics -- note that there are more physics courses required, based on your interests. Read the notes on what physics electives are eligible and compare course numbers to this page: http://courses.phas.ubc.ca/Current/PHYS_list.phtml

I've linked to you an "Honours" degree track but that is what you would have to take in Canada to go into good grad schools. A "major" track can still get you into graduate programs but the difference is actually pretty small (fewer math classes, no senior thesis).

2. It seems like you will have the basic math requirements (compare to links above), except for dedicated Differential Equations course(s). Try to take them from your Math or Physics departments. Sometimes the Math department class might be more theoretical than necessary and your Physics department may offer a class that is more practical to Physics problems.

Also, if you are able to, you could supplement your math courses with a dedicated Vector Calculus course and a dedicated linear algebra course from your school's math department, if you don't feel prepared enough after your program's combined vector calculus/linear algebra course.

I guess my main concern is that all of your math are covered in just 3 classes while normally a North American student will take the same material over at least 6 courses. Maybe the school semesters are much longer though. In Canada, each course is 12-13 weeks and in the US, they are sometimes 10 weeks (quarter) or 16 weeks (semester).

(If you cannot take any of these classes at your school, then I guess taking them online will be better than nothing. But these courses aren't usually accepted as substitutes. At the very least, they will allow you to learn about your interest in Physics!)

3. Research. You should try to get research experience, in Physics if possible, during the summers of your program. Definitely at least do an thesis project in Physics if possible. If your school does not offer Physics research, you should know that some other schools in the US and Europe have awards that you can compete for to get international research work during the summers.

nafiz
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 25, 2013 12:37 pm

Re: Engineering to Physics

Postby nafiz » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:33 am

Thanks to everyone...your suggestions will help me a lot.... :D




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