Hey all Engineers, I have a question for you.

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    Nov 15, 2011 9:33 PM GMT
    So I am currently in my second year majoring in Biomedical Engineering with the intent to go onto med school. However, I have started to rethink that med school might not be what best suits me. I find physics absolutely fascinating, and plan on staying within the engineering field.

    However, I was wondering, if I were to complete my undergrad degree with a BS in BME, how easy would it be to continue on to grad school and earn either a MS or even a PhD in a different field, specifically Nuclear Engineering.
  • conservativej...

    Posts: 2465

    Nov 16, 2011 1:27 AM GMT
    Remain in BME is my advice. Then for a master's study Engineering Physics.At that point I think I would turn arouind and complete the PhD in BME.
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    Nov 16, 2011 1:41 AM GMT
    swmrh911 saidSo I am currently in my second year majoring in Biomedical Engineering with the intent to go onto med school. However, I have started to rethink that med school might not be what best suits me. I find physics absolutely fascinating, and plan on staying within the engineering field.

    However, I was wondering, if I were to complete my undergrad degree with a BS in BME, how easy would it be to continue on to grad school and earn either a MS or even a PhD in a different field, specifically Nuclear Engineering.


    I can't imagine it would be too difficult. Most if not all engineering fields are grounded in the same basic subject matter, and this helps when you start graduate coursework (or it's supposed to help. Professors like to "assume" you remember the basics from undergrad...*cough*).

    Really, I think entrance into an engineering grad program relies more on passion for the subject and your communication with the graduate department in question. If you express interest early enough to professors at that school, and possibly try to pick up some nuclear engineering experience (through an internship or trying to get involved in research at your current school), then you'll have a decent chance no matter what your undergrad is in.

    Examples:
    - I have my undergrad in aerospace engineering, and am working on a masters in mechanical engineering, focusing on manufacturing and design. Granted, they're more closely related than biomedical versus nuclear, but the switch was still there.

    - A friend of mine is finishing her masters in structural engineering. Her undergrad was in fashion. I think what helped her was working for a construction company for a summer or two during college. Nothing too technical, obviously, but it was enough to show graduate schools she was more than just "interested".
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    Nov 16, 2011 1:45 AM GMT
    If I were you, with technology advancing at its current rate, I'd look into getting involved with alternative energy sources rather than nuclear. Nuclear will likely be phased out soon.

    Just a few years ago in my Propulsion class (Aeronautical Science), I was asked to write an essay on types of propulsion...10 types to be exact. I included 3 "futuristic" types of propulsion and explained them. The professor scolded me, but gave me an A for creativity. Now one of those types of propulsion is being explored for future space missions (antimatter).
  • wellwell

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    Nov 16, 2011 2:04 AM GMT
    ...Can't help you there bud; everything in my world is Astro-Spiritual velocities, Zoaster validation & Cosmobiology, but you're still handsome as ever . . .
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    Nov 16, 2011 2:43 AM GMT
    Here are my thoughts and experiences as a PhD student in physics.

    I don't think it will be that big a deal to transition from what you're studying now. The research that you do any program will be highly specialized, not something taught in any undergraduate course. The mathematical, computation, and experimental problem solving skills that any engineering undergraduate learns will be more valuable. This applies largely to the coursework as well. Not to mention a major part of nuclear engineering is biomedical imaging and radiation therapy.

    Though I think it is important to match your Masters or PhD with what eventually want to do since it's the specialized skills you acquire that are very valuable. I've seen people walk on to jobs from their degrees just because they know how to use a particular machine.

    And I think it's a great idea to do some summer research programs. I've had great experiences and lots of fun. I've even gotten research publications out of them.
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    Nov 16, 2011 2:49 AM GMT
    Interesting question and responses. Here's my two cents:

    My undergraduate is in languages and philosophy. After college I knew I wanted to work in natural resources management. I used my humanities degree to study law and I completed a paralegal certificate. That has served me very well. I went on to complete a master's in environmental policy and management. During the course of all this, I started to specialize in water resources and I found a real passion for that field.

    But I've run up against a bit of a glass wall, because this specialization requires experience in law and also engineering. The top professionals in this field tend to have multiple graduate degrees, and there are even some who have both a JD and an engineering PhD. A lot of my technical work to date has given me entry-level engineering experience, even though those projects had nothing to do with my previous education. So I'm looking at doing a second master's in hydrology as a long term goal. I can continue to work in law and policy, and should I be able to jump over to the other side of the fence and get an engineering degree, well, it would be hell on wheels icon_smile.gif

    In sum and from my own background as a standpoint, I would not recommend working in energy (especially nuclear.) Make sure you balance your academic passions with a cold look at economic realities. There is (and will be) very little appetite or public support for nuclear power so long as oil and gas remains dependable and profitable. Alternative energies are fun, but economically they are every bit as uncertain as domestic oil production was in the 1980s. (I hope some people know that reference.)

    The best thing about being an undergraduate is that you have much more opportunity to change your mind than you ever will have in the future. If you need to chart a slightly different course, stick with engineering, but make the change now. At worst you will spend an extra year in college, which in the long run, will seem very insignificant.

    Whenever you are faced with a choice, ask yourself "will this choice open more opportunities for me in the long run, or will it limit my opportunities and restrict my options?" As a general strategy, do your best to remain skilled, but more importantly, remain versatile and prepared for both changes in the economy, and also changes in your interests as you gain experience after college. (I highly recommend working after college for 2-3 years before you begin a grad program.) I firmly believe that "life is what happens when you are busy making other plans" and that is what you really need to be prepared for.
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    Nov 16, 2011 4:00 AM GMT
    westanimas saidInteresting question and responses. Here's my two cents:

    My undergraduate is in languages and philosophy. After college I knew I wanted to work in natural resources management. I used my humanities degree to study law and I completed a paralegal certificate. That has served me very well. I went on to complete a master's in environmental policy and management. During the course of all this, I started to specialize in water resources and I found a real passion for that field.

    But I've run up against a bit of a glass wall, because this specialization requires experience in law and also engineering. The top professionals in this field tend to have multiple graduate degrees, and there are even some who have both a JD and an engineering PhD. A lot of my technical work to date has given me entry-level engineering experience, even though those projects had nothing to do with my previous education. So I'm looking at doing a second master's in hydrology as a long term goal. I can continue to work in law and policy, and should I be able to jump over to the other side of the fence and get an engineering degree, well, it would be hell on wheels icon_smile.gif

    In sum and from my own background as a standpoint, I would not recommend working in energy (especially nuclear.) Make sure you balance your academic passions with a cold look at economic realities. There is (and will be) very little appetite or public support for nuclear power so long as oil and gas remains dependable and profitable. Alternative energies are fun, but economically they are every bit as uncertain as domestic oil production was in the 1980s. (I hope some people know that reference.)

    The best thing about being an undergraduate is that you have much more opportunity to change your mind than you ever will have in the future. If you need to chart a slightly different course, stick with engineering, but make the change now. At worst you will spend an extra year in college, which in the long run, will seem very insignificant.

    Whenever you are faced with a choice, ask yourself "will this choice open more opportunities for me in the long run, or will it limit my opportunities and restrict my options?" As a general strategy, do your best to remain skilled, but more importantly, remain versatile and prepared for both changes in the economy, and also changes in your interests as you gain experience after college. (I highly recommend working after college for 2-3 years before you begin a grad program.) I firmly believe that "life is what happens when you are busy making other plans" and that is what you really need to be prepared for.


    Redheads are always right.
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    Nov 16, 2011 6:20 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidIf I were you, with technology advancing at its current rate, I'd look into getting involved with alternative energy sources rather than nuclear. Nuclear will likely be phased out soon.

    Just a few years ago in my Propulsion class (Aeronautical Science), I was asked to write an essay on types of propulsion...10 types to be exact. I included 3 "futuristic" types of propulsion and explained them. The professor scolded me, but gave me an A for creativity. Now one of those types of propulsion is being explored for future space missions (antimatter).


    Nuclear power is an alternative energy source....Also, I'd ultimately want to work with fusion cell reactors, not fission, which is where nuclear power is headed...
  • Crepuscule

    Posts: 723

    Nov 16, 2011 10:43 AM GMT
    I'd say go for a Masters in Engineering Physics. Empathize on medical imaging, which is like 50% nuclear physics anyway. Then a PhD in biomedical engineering is more or less the next logical step (or to work as a hospital physicist).
  • shutoman

    Posts: 505

    Nov 16, 2011 10:52 AM GMT
    I love Realjock sometimes. Which other site would give you this quality and depth of advice on a casual enquiry?
  • Cuchullain

    Posts: 64

    Nov 16, 2011 12:48 PM GMT
    Word.

    I don't make a move in my career without running it past a bunch of hot shirtless guys.
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    Nov 16, 2011 2:28 PM GMT
    swmrh911 said
    paulflexes saidIf I were you, with technology advancing at its current rate, I'd look into getting involved with alternative energy sources rather than nuclear. Nuclear will likely be phased out soon.

    Just a few years ago in my Propulsion class (Aeronautical Science), I was asked to write an essay on types of propulsion...10 types to be exact. I included 3 "futuristic" types of propulsion and explained them. The professor scolded me, but gave me an A for creativity. Now one of those types of propulsion is being explored for future space missions (antimatter).


    Nuclear power is an alternative energy source....Also, I'd ultimately want to work with fusion cell reactors, not fission, which is where nuclear power is headed...


    You talk like this would be so easy haha icon_smile.gif

    Have you ever heard about Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann. You know how hard to control is that plasma?
    This fusion thing wont happen in the next 15-20 years, I'm sure icon_wink.gif
    You might just rethink your future. Some specialist said that in 2030 we might have the first fusion reactor on earth.

    Read more before you make a decision
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    Nov 17, 2011 1:09 AM GMT
    Buckyou said
    swmrh911 said
    paulflexes saidIf I were you, with technology advancing at its current rate, I'd look into getting involved with alternative energy sources rather than nuclear. Nuclear will likely be phased out soon.

    Just a few years ago in my Propulsion class (Aeronautical Science), I was asked to write an essay on types of propulsion...10 types to be exact. I included 3 "futuristic" types of propulsion and explained them. The professor scolded me, but gave me an A for creativity. Now one of those types of propulsion is being explored for future space missions (antimatter).


    Nuclear power is an alternative energy source....Also, I'd ultimately want to work with fusion cell reactors, not fission, which is where nuclear power is headed...


    You talk like this would be so easy haha icon_smile.gif

    Have you ever heard about Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann. You know how hard to control is that plasma?
    This fusion thing wont happen in the next 15-20 years, I'm sure icon_wink.gif
    You might just rethink your future. Some specialist said that in 2030 we might have the first fusion reactor on earth.

    Read more before you make a decision


    I assume your reference to Pons and Fleichmann was referring to their failure to explain the results of their cold fusion experiments. I agree that maintaining plasma is difficult due to the necessity of extreme temperatures. However, you can't rule out the possibility of room temperature nuclear fusion. For example, high temperature superconductors did not fall within the traditional realm of physical understanding, yet their practical applications have only begun to emerge.

    While there isn't a lot of information out there on it, you, my friend, are the one that really should read more. Here ya go:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45153076/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/italian-cold-fusion-machine-passes-another-test/#.TsRcqoB2rX4
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    Nov 17, 2011 1:18 AM GMT
    swmrh911 said
    paulflexes saidIf I were you, with technology advancing at its current rate, I'd look into getting involved with alternative energy sources rather than nuclear. Nuclear will likely be phased out soon.

    Just a few years ago in my Propulsion class (Aeronautical Science), I was asked to write an essay on types of propulsion...10 types to be exact. I included 3 "futuristic" types of propulsion and explained them. The professor scolded me, but gave me an A for creativity. Now one of those types of propulsion is being explored for future space missions (antimatter).


    Nuclear power is an alternative energy source....Also, I'd ultimately want to work with fusion cell reactors, not fission, which is where nuclear power is headed...
    I guess I should have said prototype energy sources. Anyway you get the jest of it. However I stand by my hypothesis that nuclear power will soon be replaced by a safer and more environmentally friendly source.
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    Nov 17, 2011 1:26 AM GMT
    swmrh911 said

    I'd ultimately want to work with fusion cell reactors...


    Well. That changes everything.

    Nuclear fission is a fairly mature technology, with an extensive industry built around it. Nuclear fusion is still firmly in the domain of research, and probably will be for some time. There is much less scope for an engineer without an extensive background in physics.

    Take a look at the two main areas of fusion research: materials science and plasma physics. Both are physics heavy, and can often be very theoretically challenging. This is especially true in the sexier plasma physics side of things. For example, the first thesis I found trawling the interwebs: www.eirene.de/kotov_solps42_report.pdf

    What's more, they're both very small fields, since only a small number of high profile projects get funded. And so are probably highly competitive. Because the research teams are also so large, you will also only focus on a very narrow aspect of the research.

    It's nice to have lofty goals, but I think you also need to make sure that the reality aligns with your expectations.

    But I still know little about the subject, since no one in my department works in the area. So this is actually a rather remote and uninformed view of the field. I think you should talk with some of your professors who will know more.
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    Nov 17, 2011 1:33 AM GMT
    parche said
    swmrh911 said

    I'd ultimately want to work with fusion cell reactors...


    What's more, they're both very small fields, since only a small number of high profile projects get funded. And so are probably highly competitive. Because the research teams are also so large, you will also only focus on a very narrow aspect of the research.


    This is really close to what I was getting at in my post. Follow your dreams, but be practical and don't ever forget how to keep bread on the table. There are a lot of life decisions that need to factor into your career ambitions, and it is extremely important to prepare yourself for non-career realities. How about these- where do you want to live? Are you willing to be pulled around anywhere in the world by a company just for your work? What happens when funding for a specialized project runs out? Take a look at the lifecycle of the nuclear programs in Livermore, CA and Los Alamos, NM, look at where they've been, and what is happening in those programs today-because politics always trumps research when it is a matter of public funding. What are your life goals outside of your career, and how can they merge and how will they conflict? What about other people in your life?

    Study hard, acquire marketable skills, pursue your dreams, but beware of pigeon-holing yourself and limiting your future.

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    Nov 17, 2011 1:36 AM GMT
    BME senior here myself. definitely stick with BME (i didnt read the other posts because im lazy so this might be repeated). Grad school is literally anything (atleast slightly related) you want it to be. most grad school students are in a different field then their undergrad. you find a professor doing work youre interested in at a different (or same) school and talk with them and apply. BME is a really good intro to a lot of other engineering majors and other fields
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    Nov 17, 2011 1:55 AM GMT
    not engineer yet ... but in 2 years !
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    Nov 17, 2011 7:09 AM GMT
    swmrh911 said
    Buckyou said
    swmrh911 said
    paulflexes saidIf I were you, with technology advancing at its current rate, I'd look into getting involved with alternative energy sources rather than nuclear. Nuclear will likely be phased out soon.

    Just a few years ago in my Propulsion class (Aeronautical Science), I was asked to write an essay on types of propulsion...10 types to be exact. I included 3 "futuristic" types of propulsion and explained them. The professor scolded me, but gave me an A for creativity. Now one of those types of propulsion is being explored for future space missions (antimatter).


    Nuclear power is an alternative energy source....Also, I'd ultimately want to work with fusion cell reactors, not fission, which is where nuclear power is headed...


    You talk like this would be so easy haha icon_smile.gif

    Have you ever heard about Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann. You know how hard to control is that plasma?
    This fusion thing wont happen in the next 15-20 years, I'm sure icon_wink.gif
    You might just rethink your future. Some specialist said that in 2030 we might have the first fusion reactor on earth.

    Read more before you make a decision


    I assume your reference to Pons and Fleichmann was referring to their failure to explain the results of their cold fusion experiments. I agree that maintaining plasma is difficult due to the necessity of extreme temperatures. However, you can't rule out the possibility of room temperature nuclear fusion. For example, high temperature superconductors did not fall within the traditional realm of physical understanding, yet their practical applications have only begun to emerge.

    While there isn't a lot of information out there on it, you, my friend, are the one that really should read more. Here ya go:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45153076/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/italian-cold-fusion-machine-passes-another-test/#.TsRcqoB2rX4


    Ok, send me a message when you start to work in that domain. icon_wink.gif
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    Nov 18, 2011 1:17 AM GMT
    As I read more of OP's posts, I'm reading a lot of youthful exuberance. So let me offer you some advice you didn't ask for icon_lol.gif

    When all of us started out in science and technology, we were all attracted to its glittering, shining lights, such as a cure for AIDS, cosmology, or artificial intelligence. But continuing on in the journey, you realize that it is indeed a big and beautiful world. And that there's more to see and experience than just the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower*, or the Burj Dubai.

    During your studies you'll see a lot more things that will catch your interest. So just sit back and enjoy the ride for now. Just keep learning, and keep that sense of curiosity. Of course, feel free to indulge your passion for nuclear fusion any time (by reading about it).

    I hope this didn't come off as too condescending...

    *(which has less merit than a slop of well-trodden dog shit, and frankly would be laughed at if it were in any other city)