jagodaszalewicz
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Hi, I’m in year 12 and trying to decide on a uni course. I want to do research into physics, quantum or nuclear and into energy. But I’m not sure if I should study physics or theoretical physics, or some type of engineering. I want a high chance of using the degree I get too, what would you suggest ?
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artful_lounger
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If you want to do physics research you realistically need to do a physics degree. There are some areas of applied/experimental physics where an engineering background in either materials or electronic engineering might be suitable, but pretty much any other engineering discipline (except maybe chemical or the extremely rare nuclear engineering) isn't going to be suitable preparation for that, and also the areas those degrees prepare you for are not related to the areas you have expressed an interest in.

That said, I would note "quantum or nuclear" physics covers an enormous range of research areas, both theoretical and experimental, basic and applied. So it's not really that meaningful I suppose? Even something like "I want to go into quantum theory" still leaves quite a lot of scope. "Nuclear" physics ranges from applied nuclear physics as relevant to nuclear engineering etc, to the experimental but definitely not "applied" fusion research, to fundamental theoretical research in high energy physics.

However, given you are interested even very broadly in those areas, the only degree which really suits is, as stated, physics. So I'd suggest you pursue that as a degree. Going from a physics undergrad to a career in the engineering industry is much more straightforward and typical than going from an engineering undergrad to physics academia.
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Smack
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(Original post by jagodaszalewicz)
Hi, I’m in year 12 and trying to decide on a uni course. I want to do research into physics, quantum or nuclear and into energy. But I’m not sure if I should study physics or theoretical physics, or some type of engineering. I want a high chance of using the degree I get too, what would you suggest ?
As artful_lounger says, if you want to do physics research, then a physics degree (or even a maths one) is going to be far more useful than an engineering one.
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jagodaszalewicz
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
If you want to do physics research you realistically need to do a physics degree. There are some areas of applied/experimental physics where an engineering background in either materials or electronic engineering might be suitable, but pretty much any other engineering discipline (except maybe chemical or the extremely rare nuclear engineering) isn't going to be suitable preparation for that, and also the areas those degrees prepare you for are not related to the areas you have expressed an interest in.

That said, I would note "quantum or nuclear" physics covers an enormous range of research areas, both theoretical and experimental, basic and applied. So it's not really that meaningful I suppose? Even something like "I want to go into quantum theory" still leaves quite a lot of scope. "Nuclear" physics ranges from applied nuclear physics as relevant to nuclear engineering etc, to the experimental but definitely not "applied" fusion research, to fundamental theoretical research in high energy physics.

However, given you are interested even very broadly in those areas, the only degree which really suits is, as stated, physics. So I'd suggest you pursue that as a degree. Going from a physics undergrad to a career in the engineering industry is much more straightforward and typical than going from an engineering undergrad to physics academia.
Thank you so much!
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Uni of Southampton Students
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(Original post by jagodaszalewicz)
Hi, I’m in year 12 and trying to decide on a uni course. I want to do research into physics, quantum or nuclear and into energy. But I’m not sure if I should study physics or theoretical physics, or some type of engineering. I want a high chance of using the degree I get too, what would you suggest ?
Hi jagodaszalewicz

It's a very difficult decision deciding what to study at university so I'd definitely recommend doing research into the courses you're interested in. In your case I'd recommend looking up physics courses as well as Electrical Engineering courses if you're interested in energy. Looking at the modules available in both courses can really help with you decision so I'd look at the modules for both to see if they offer the kind of modules you're interested in.
I'm studying Electrical and Electronic engineering and most of the physics which I do in my course is based around electromagnetism, so if you're interested in that it's definitely a good idea to consider engineering.
In general engineering courses tend to be a lot more concerned with how to apply the physics to solve problems, physics covers a lot more theory and is less concerned with applications to real life situations. If you want to go into research physics may be a better choice, but electrical engineering will also open doors to research opportunities in energy.
If you have any questions about engineering courses to help your choice I'd be happy to help!
Abi (3rd year Electrical and Electronic engineering student)
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User_2804122826
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(Original post by Uni of Southampton Students)
Hi jagodaszalewicz

It's a very difficult decision deciding what to study at university so I'd definitely recommend doing research into the courses you're interested in. In your case I'd recommend looking up physics courses as well as Electrical Engineering courses if you're interested in energy. Looking at the modules available in both courses can really help with you decision so I'd look at the modules for both to see if they offer the kind of modules you're interested in.
I'm studying Electrical and Electronic engineering and most of the physics which I do in my course is based around electromagnetism, so if you're interested in that it's definitely a good idea to consider engineering.
In general engineering courses tend to be a lot more concerned with how to apply the physics to solve problems, physics covers a lot more theory and is less concerned with applications to real life situations. If you want to go into research physics may be a better choice, but electrical engineering will also open doors to research opportunities in energy.
If you have any questions about engineering courses to help your choice I'd be happy to help!
Abi (3rd year Electrical and Electronic engineering student)
Hi Abi
im another yr12 sudent trying to decide which engineering to study, so do you have any advice on how you chose?
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