Overview: Engineering and physics are closely related, with both fields requiring a thorough grounding in advanced mathematics, scientific theory and creative problem-solving. Being part of the engineering and physics sector on the APP can help you explore both areas in more detail.
Careers in engineering and physics encompass a wide range of scientific fields, with students studying either subject at degree level pursuing careers in a range of industries from civil, structural, software and mechanical engineering (which incorporate elements of science, research, design and testing) nanotechnology, electronics, building services, chemical engineering and thermodynamics, working in astrophysics, energy and research science, as well as roles in research and development for the government and other organisations.
Because technology and scientific understanding is always changing, engineers and physicists often develop or change their specialism throughout their career, applying their problem solving skills and knowledge to new challenges, so careers in engineering and physics can be very varied.
Skills Required: Engineers need to be able to focus on applying maths and science to practical situations, and most engineers have advanced problem solving skills. Physics is more theoretical and concerned with observing and understanding the natural world, physicists are proficient in problem-solving, and are skilled at solving challenges by thinking creatively.
University and Beyond: There are a number of different types of engineering courses available at university. There are general engineering courses, where you experience a number of difference types, and more specific courses like civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and chemical engineering. There are even some specialist courses at undergraduate level, such as nuclear engineering and aerospace engineering!
Studying physics at degree level also allows students to specialise in a number of areas including astrophysics, cosmology, particle physics, theoretical physics and nanoscale physics.
How the SMF can help: The Social Mobility Foundation has worked with a number of engineering firms which are household names, as well as university physics research departments, structural engineering firms and construction companies. Some of our mentors are current employees of firms such as Network Rail, Transport for London, Scottish and Southern Energy, Shell, Mott MacDonald, Hitachi Laboratory Cambridge and Nokia.