My name is Luka and I am currently third year of electrical engineering, specifically Power and Control Systems. I have very high GPA, and I am certain I will be applying for MSc in two years (I have to finish this year, and specialize next year in order to get Bachelor). I am 100% sure that I will pursue PhD after MSc and hope to continue working in academia. But there is one problem in this. During these years I have confirmed that my passion for physics(especially high energy physics)is much greater than one for engineering. In fact, I do not think I would be able to do any research in engineering. Because of this, I want to switch fields and to get into MSc program for High Energy Physics. My question is: Is there anyone with similar experience that has made a successful transition? And if it is possible, is it possible to follow the material? Any advice or information would be very helpful. Thank you

  • 2
    EE's pretty close to Physics, and if you have an interest in it, presumably you've taken a few extra Physics electives, right? Have you looked into what else you'd need to do to get a double in Physics?
    – Nat
    Dec 15, 2017 at 0:15
  • If you want a PhD, why would you bother with the master's? You'll have to pay your own way for the master's but almost certainly not for the PhD. Most people who want a PhD go straight for the PhD and the cost is a really good reason. Dec 15, 2017 at 1:22
  • Hey Nat, I am from Montenegro, and while electrical engineering faculty here is very strong (world class in signal processing), we do not have major/minor system nor possibility to choose elective classes, which I know is bad. I am currently in Electromagnetics class, and it only confirms my passion.
    – user84537
    Dec 15, 2017 at 11:14
  • Hello Nicole, as you can see from my post, that would be an ideal scenario. But consider this: If I was applying to some PhD in semiconductor physics (we learn a lot about that in EE) that would be possible. But I want to apply to High Energy Physics, while my passion drove me to do some personal research, because we do not have any similar class to this in EE, I am almost certain that I would not be competent enough to pursue MSc in this field, and certainly not PhD directly. But I would need to do some catching up
    – user84537
    Dec 15, 2017 at 11:19
  • As a meta-note, if you type an "at" sign in-front of someone's name, it'll inform them that you've responded to their message. For example, to let Nicole know that she's received a response here, I'll type @NicoleHamilton .
    – Nat
    Dec 15, 2017 at 21:37

1 Answer 1


I have seen some people do this and I myself am have done something similar; it is certainly possible.

My university didn't have much flexibility for taking electives or minors either. Your best bet would be to convince your current university (or any local university) to take you on maybe as a non-degree seeking student after graduation (maybe even audit) to fill in the gaps in your general physics knowledge, with a view to eventually transition into the MS program. Doing so would help convince the professors at the institution to admit you into the program by subduing their doubts regarding your background in addition to forming some connections (I volunteered as an RA at a lab in the physics dept. in an area overlapping with my previous engineering background, which helped my get into the physics program at my current institution). Depending on the university, they may even let you into the MS program directly, with the caveat that you have to take some remedial undergraduate courses.

While you probably won't be doing high energy physics right off the bat, you will probably have the opportunity to do graduate level coursework in physics and that will set you up well for a future PhD in HEP or further graduate research in your field of interest.

You might find this link interesting https://physicsafterengineering.blogspot.com/2018/06/my-journey-into-physics-after.html

You must log in to answer this question.