tl;dr: Graduating from EE with Ph.D. offers, but thinking about shifting to physics.

Hi Everyone,

Background: I'm an Electrical Engineering and Chemistry major (weird combination, I know). I am now in my final undergrad semester and have 2 Ph.D. offers for EE.

Explanation: EE and chem is because of the way majors are "given out" in India based on your grades/ entrance scores. I never really enjoyed chemistry much but as I said, it was given to me. I did enjoy the solid-state and devices part of EE but never VLSI, circuits, etc. Now that I'm about to graduate, I'm recalling a time back in school where physics was the one thing I enjoyed most.

Question: Do I leave the Ph.D. offers and learn physics by somehow becoming a project assistant? Or do I convince my potential EE Ph.D. advisor to let me take up Physics courses while working for his project (which will certainly be very tough in the first 2 years), and possibly risk being miserable through my Ph.D.? Also, is it wrong to assume that if I liked physics in school I'd like it now?

Explanation for this sudden shift: I find upon introspection during this quarantine that I'd like my life's work to be related to the fundamental nature of things, not to some gadgets that us humans use to make our lives better.

Edit: Courses done before: Mechanics, Oscillations & Waves, Electromagnetic Theo I, Quantum Chemistry I & II (Average grade), Photochemistry & Laser Spectroscopy, Solid State Electronic Devices

  • You do not clarify how much Physics at the Undergraduate level you are exposed to. Shifting to a subject merely because you liked may not be wise until you have read some of it on your own. Theoretical aspects of Electrical Engineering overlap many areas of physics and even mathematics so would you not be better off pursuing those? Electrical Engineering is not only about gadgets. Check the website of a well-known person who has been in EE, CS, Mathematics and other departments! – Kapil Apr 1 at 12:15
  • Just edited that in. Thanks for Prof. Borkar's profile, I can see what you mean. This seems like a good way forward, but I also want to ensure that my work goes to a more fundamental level of science. So let's say I'm doing EE theory; I would want its application to be at a place like the LHC, or a telescope... – Tanuj Apr 1 at 14:57
  • A valid answer might depend on location. What country are you asking about? – Buffy Apr 1 at 15:27
  • @Buffy I'm from India. As long as I can get good experience, I'd be happy to do it in any country. However, because of COVID-19, I'll assume that I won't get to go out of India. – Tanuj Apr 2 at 15:37

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