Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    This is exactly the problem with education. People seem to think it's all about some job at the end of it, and that degrees should be "geared up for the job market". Whatever happened just to 'scholarship for the sake of scholarship'? I'd go as far even to say that actual universities should move away from offering degrees like engineering - especially universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Heidelberg and Bologna, but all universities in general - and stick to core, academic subjects such as History, Mathematics, Classics, Theology, Law and Philosophy. Leave things like engineering to some sort of special dedicated technical institution.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Habsburg)
    This is exactly the problem with education. People seem to think it's all about some job at the end of it, and that degrees should be "geared up for the job market". Whatever happened just to 'scholarship for the sake of scholarship'? I'd go as far even to say that actual universities should move away from offering degrees like engineering - especially universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Heidelberg and Bologna, but all universities in general - and stick to core, academic subjects such as History, Mathematics, Classics, Theology, Law and Philosophy. Leave things like engineering to some sort of special dedicated technical institution.
    Well I hate all of those subjects apart from maths, is university not the right place for the scientific people?
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Ultimate1)
    And this is the saddest thing of them all - academia is supposed to be a place where knowledge and ideas flourish, not a place to set you up for a 9-5 grind and/or university itself becoming a grind to just get your degree and get out of there.

    A physicist's knowledge will far exceed an engineer's [certainly on a theoretical level] yet an engineer is more employable as you point out, which is indeed very sad to see. It's sad to see what universities and academia in general has become.

    (Original post by Ultimate1)
    What engineers learn is nothing compared to physicists and mathematicians in theoretical terms.

    Engineering is a poor man's math/physics. Sick of engineers thinking they are some sort of actual intellects when it's clear most of them are in it for the earning potential.
    The common term is "theoretical". The REAL world doesn't revolve around theoretical situations. Hence engineers are employed to work out the mathematics behind real situations and not physicists.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by eggfriedrice)
    The common term is "theoretical". The REAL world doesn't revolve around theoretical situations. Hence engineers are employed to work out the mathematics behind real situations and not physicists.
    This shouldn't be a fight between scientists and engineers, both the theory and application will be important in the real world

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    There's a line between picking a degree that may lead somewhere and something you enjoy. I think a lot of schools focus on the 'enjoyment' part which has led to many unemployment grads.

    But perhaps early teaching needs to be improved to inspire younger people to try for top subjects.
    E.g would be all good for me to do medicine but I hate science in general and would just mean ill drop out wasting time and money.


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    I like how this thread has turned into an Pure Physics vs Engineering argument.
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by ElChapo)
    Well I hate all of those subjects apart from maths, is university not the right place for the scientific people?
    You could include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc. Anything academic as opposed to vocational business/engineering sort of courses I suppose.
    Offline

    7
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Ultimate1)
    What engineers learn is nothing compared to physicists and mathematicians in theoretical terms.

    Engineering is a poor man's math/physics. Sick of engineers thinking they are some sort of actual intellects when it's clear most of them are in it for the earning potential.
    Engineering is applied physics. In North America very few people study physics, the vast majority study engineering. It is much more employable.

    You only really need a few geniuses to study theoretical physics. Simple advances in theoretical physics occur rarely but have such a huge effect that it provides materials for engineers for years to come.

    The reason jobs go to engineers is because engineers take what we know and turn it into practical applications.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by ukmed108)
    Engineering is applied physics. In North America very few people study physics, the vast majority study engineering. It is much more employable.

    You only really need a few geniuses to study theoretical physics. Simple advances in theoretical physics occur rarely but have such a huge effect that it provides materials for engineers for years to come.

    The reason jobs go to engineers is because engineers take what we know and turn it into practical applications.
    And this is exactly the point I was making. Higher education has now become all about the $$$ potential, not about pursuing your passion and more importantly the pursuit of knowledge, what higher education was always intended to be. It's indeed of great sadness to see a subject as pure and beautiful as physics being marginalised/discouraged because its employability is not as good as another subject which is a subset of physics.

    Sad indeed. I wonder how many great minds that physics could have used have instead been forced to chose engineering because it's more employable.

    The difference is that physicists will learn the fundamentals of everything engineers use, they will understand it more and in actual fact I'm pretty sure most physicists could make excellent engineers however I can guarantee that most engineers would fail to make the cut as physicists.

    Also are you suggesting that if you cannot make advancements in a field it's not worth pursuing it? This basically epitomises the the thinking of many students and society.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Ultimate1)
    And this is exactly the point I was making. Higher education has now become all about the $$$ potential, not about pursuing your passion and more importantly the pursuit of knowledge, what higher education was always intended to be. It's indeed of great sadness to see a subject as pure and beautiful as physics being marginalised/discouraged because its employability is not as good as another subject which is a subset of physics.

    Sad indeed. I wonder how many great minds that physics could have used have instead been forced to chose engineering because it's more employable.

    The difference is that physicists will learn the fundamentals of everything engineers use, they will understand it more and in actual fact I'm pretty sure most physicists could make excellent engineers however I can guarantee that most engineers would fail to make the cut as physicists.

    Also are you suggesting that if you cannot make advancements in a field it's not worth pursuing it? This basically epitomises the the thinking of many students and society.
    All I'm reading is physics>engineering.

    If people want to study engineering what the hell does it have to do with you? A lot of people choose professions because of the earning potential and they are not all concentrated within the engineering discipline. If we were to bar people from entering a profession because they're doing it for the money we'd lose so many doctors, lawyers, bankers, etc... (granted, maybe that would be good thing for some of these professions ).

    We need engineers more than we need theoretical physicists, in the same way that we need more doctors than medical researchers.

    There will always be people who follow their passions, some of whom will study pure theoretical sciences, chill. Education has evolved to cope with the demand of the market, a century ago university was much more selective and was not required in the way that it is today. The market asks for more educated employees, the universities now produce more graduates.

    Are you seriously implying that physicists are able to interchange easily and perform the duties of an engineer with ease while the opposite is not possible? They both overlap in the material they deal with but what would be the point of putting any emphasis on theoretical physics in an engineering degree? You can do the maths element of an engineering degree congratulations, as if that's all there is to it...

    Please explain why you think that a lack of scientific advancements is acceptable? Science is about making progress, if you're stagnant what is the point? You may enjoy it and that's fine but it still doesn't go anywhere.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Ultimate1)
    And this is exactly the point I was making. Higher education has now become all about the $$$ potential, not about pursuing your passion and more importantly the pursuit of knowledge, what higher education was always intended to be. It's indeed of great sadness to see a subject as pure and beautiful as physics being marginalised/discouraged because its employability is not as good as another subject which is a subset of physics.

    Sad indeed. I wonder how many great minds that physics could have used have instead been forced to chose engineering because it's more employable.

    The difference is that physicists will learn the fundamentals of everything engineers use, they will understand it more and in actual fact I'm pretty sure most physicists could make excellent engineers however I can guarantee that most engineers would fail to make the cut as physicists.

    Also are you suggesting that if you cannot make advancements in a field it's not worth pursuing it? This basically epitomises the the thinking of many students and society.
    Once again, are you sure physics is less employable than engineering? I would have thought that many engineering companies need physicists for the more complicated problems.

    Also, to the above poster: you do realise that physics isn't all theoretical, right? Theoretical physics is basically applied math, and do you think (applied) math isn't employable?
    • Welcome Squad
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    Welcome Squad
    Aren't most degrees non-vocational? Besides from what I've heard/read most employers don't really care much about the subject your degree is in (within reason of course) because academic degrees don't give you the specific skills required for the job but they do give you the all important transferable skills which will be useful. Also having a degree now is common hence a lot of jobs require one (whether it's needed or not) therefore by not having a degree, someone might be limiting themselves to the type/number of jobs they can apply for. Also I think a lot of people aged 16-19 won't know what job/career they'd want so doesn't it make sense that they choose to leave their options open by completing an academic degree? Please correct me If I've said anything wrong as I'm not even at Uni so this is basically what I think so I'd be grateful if someone could tell me whether what I've written is just nonsense or not
    • TSR Support Team
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    TSR Support Team
    (Original post by crunchychips)
    I would have thought that many engineering companies need physicists for the more complicated problems.
    Not in my experience. As I say in my original post in this thread, they're different areas. When there's a difficult engineering problem, you need an experienced and knowledgeable engineer.
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    Education is never worthless. All in all at the very least University teaches you to think critically in some way (though after interactions on this forum with supposed graduates I am struggling to still believe this but it is generally true). This is a good start for life. It also opens you up to ideas, challenges, deadlines, self motivation, discipline, etc. These are necessary skills that are part of forming a mature adult. Translating these skills into a career is difficult if it's non-vocational (i.e. basically anything in the Humanities) and that's where it may be considered useless. However, to get in the door for many careers you need a degree, any degree. That'll just get your foot in the door. Which is the same for a vocational degree to some extent (though your foot holds a lot more power). It always comes down to a mixture of luck, ambition, ability to sell yourself and foresight in university knowing you'll need a good CV to get a good career. If you don't plan ahead while you study a non-vocational degree you'll be stuck. Overall I am happy I did what I did in Uni. I did my undergraduate in two areas, Journalism (which is vocational in a sense) and Philosophy (very non vocational). I only wish I did more in Uni to prepare for life outside of uni. Instead of spending my free time (of which I had loads which was awesome) playing video games and lifting I should've been doing something to boost my CV; or I should've been speaking to companies to pay for some kind of one year course to fast-track me onto another job in their company. Instead I have no experience and nobody wants to hire me. Feels crappy. But at least I can think........ I guess.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Smack)
    Not in my experience. As I say in my original post in this thread, they're different areas. When there's a difficult engineering problem, you need an experienced and knowledgeable engineer.

    So you think computer companies don't hire physicists into their R&D departments to work on quantum computers for instance?
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by crunchychips)
    Once again, are you sure physics is less employable than engineering? I would have thought that many engineering companies need physicists for the more complicated problems.

    Also, to the above poster: you do realise that physics isn't all theoretical, right? Theoretical physics is basically applied math, and do you think (applied) math isn't employable?
    I didn't mean to imply that there was, there are many avenues of physics that one can choose to pursue, pure theory being one of those. My post was more about voicing my disagreement towards the assumption that engineers are not as competent as physicists.

    I don't see how anyone can disagree that engineering and physics are different degrees, they teach people different skills. As such, I highly doubt a graduate physicists is able to hop into an engineering role and perform well, in the same way that an engineer is not able to perform the role of physicist.

    With further study sure, one can become competent in both fields but I presumed this discussion to be around the abilities of a graduate.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    for a lot of jobs that don't have vocation specific qualifications employers still require you to have a degree, so they are far from worthless.
    Offline

    4
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Sulphur)
    I don't see how anyone can disagree that engineering and physics are different degrees, they teach people different skills. As such, I highly doubt a graduate physicists is able to hop into an engineering role and perform well, in the same way that an engineer is not able to perform the role of physicist.
    Actually quite a lot of engineering grad schemes are happy to hire physics grads.

    Also a friend of mine got a scholarship to do an MSc in Aeronautical Engineering and was told the more rigorous background of a physics degree made him a stronger candidate.
    • TSR Support Team
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    TSR Support Team
    (Original post by crunchychips)
    So you think computer companies don't hire physicists into their R&D departments to work on quantum computers for instance?
    That doesn't really have anything to do with my post. I can only talk of my experience of working at an engineering firm anyway.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Habsburg)
    This is exactly the problem with education. People seem to think it's all about some job at the end of it, and that degrees should be "geared up for the job market". Whatever happened just to 'scholarship for the sake of scholarship'? I'd go as far even to say that actual universities should move away from offering degrees like engineering - especially universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Heidelberg and Bologna, but all universities in general - and stick to core, academic subjects such as History, Mathematics, Classics, Theology, Law and Philosophy. Leave things like engineering to some sort of special dedicated technical institution.
    I'd argue the complete opposite. "Scholarship for the sake of scholarship" could be done outside of university, especially in the case of many of the humanities. Of course there are some people who would prefer to do it in an educational institution but it doesn't have to be done there.

    I think that formal education should be "geared up for the job market" but, sadly, in many cases it isn't.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Would you like to hibernate through the winter months?
    Useful resources
    Uni match

    Applying to uni?

    Our tool will help you find the perfect course

    Articles:

    Debate and current affairs guidelinesDebate and current affairs wiki

    Quick link:

    Educational debate unanswered threads

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.