The Student Room Group

Unsure about a physics degree

I need help! At first I was quite confident I enjoyed physics, specifically theories like special relativity, uncertainty and quantum physics, but now I am second guessing myself, and I'm not sure if I'm ready to be committed to the course, but I'm also not sure whether or not I'm just overthinking. I was considering just taking engineering as it is a practical course, and a simple career path, any advice?
Reply 1
I had this same dilemma too haha

Physics: theoretical, studying how the world works

Engineering: practical, applying that physics to the real world

A degree in either will provide you with employable skills, although physics will be more of research and theories which is more suited if you intend to become a physicist, if u see urself as a physicist then study physics - If you would prefer solving real problems then go for engineering.

I havent done a degree in either (yet) so this is only what I know based on research and asking around i did last year, i decided on engineering over physics solely because working in a lab didnt appeal to me. And dont forget even if you choose one or another it doesnt necessarily mean you gotta be what u studied, ik people that have studied engineering then went on to do physics and vice versa
Hey there, I'm a second year at Nottingham who does physics and philosophy.

If you are concerned about doing labs then there are lots of courses (including the course I study at Nottingham) that offer physics with/and another subject as a joint honours that don't include labs. This other subjects can range from astronomy, and maths to philosophy but make sure to check with the university you're apply to.

I also think that physics would give you pretty similar job prospects to engineering. Although it is not as specific an area, the skills learned in a physics degree are not only applicable to physics/scientific fields, but also to other areas like civil service or data analysis.

One difference between the two is that the use of computers is slightly different. In physics you are either more expected, or even required, to use python or another computer program to supplement the physics and demonstrate various physical systems/phenomena. In engineering, you tend to use CAD programs instead.

Ultimately, you'll need to weigh up these different factors and see which one you are drawn to more, but I hope I have made it a bit clearer what each degree might involve. Best of luck choosing between the two, and if you have any more questions let me know :smile:

Quick Reply