Mechanical engineering vs physics which is better

Mechanical engineering is the closest branch to physics. In other words, mechanical engineering and physics have a lot of common things and similarities. But the question is which is the best branch to choose.

In this post, we’re going to discover the difference between mechanical engineering that is to say:

  • what mechanical engineer study
  • what physicists study
  • the salary of a mechanical engineer and physicist

So if you are lost, you have to follow this post because we have 10 questions in the final of the article. As a result, it will determine if you are meant for mechanical engineering or physics.

Mechanical engineers curriculum?

is mechanical engineering fun?

1 – Mechanics statics

the first and principal subject that mechanical engineers study is statics, which is the fixed or nonmobile objects. In mechanics statics, you will discover and study the rules that keep objects fixed.

For example, you will discover how a car vehicle can hold a heavy engine without collapsing or how bridges and buildings stand out against gravity.

In mechanics statics, you will need to apply a lot of physics and math, especially the newton laws and friction laws.

2 – fluid mechanics

Mechanical engineers study fluid mechanics to learn how fluids flow and control that flow. They use this information to design things like airplane wings, which need to be able to move air efficiently. Engineers also use fluid mechanics to design pipelines and other systems that move liquids or gases.

For example, mechanical engineers create a machine that quickly pumps water out of a flooded basement. To do that, mechanical engineers need to understand how water flows and what obstacles it might encounter.

3 – thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is a field that mechanical engineers and physicists study both, but mechanical engineers study thermodynamics in these principals areas:

  • heat and transfer and how it influences a system, for example designing car radiators
  • aerospace engineering, normally aerospace engineers are mechanical engineering in the basis then take a specialization and go aerospace field

thermodynamics is very important for students who are interested to study and design rooms’ combustion for rockets or planes.

While physicists study thermodynamics deeper in the theoretical part and other topics. we’re going to explain how physicists study thermodynamics later in the article.

4 – vibrations and waves

Mechanical engineering is studying how machines work. Vibrations happen when a machine or object moves back and forth. Waves happen when something moves up and down or from side to side.

The vibration and wave module is a domain that mechanical engineers use to test out their products, typically prior to releasing or authorizing a product. One of the famous tests that mechanical engineers do are:

  • break testing
  • flexibility testing
  • Fatigue testing

5 – design in software

the last and the most important step is as a mechanical engineer, you learn to use a lot of softwares like:

  • CAD
  • Solidwork
  • FEA
  • Matlab

But in the beginning stage, the whole focus will be on CAD and Solidworks, you will spend a lot of time designing objects in the office. As a result, requires a passion to design and hard work to master these programs.

What do physicists study?

physics is hard

were going to list the hardest subjects that physicists student study

1 – Quantum mechanics

Quantum mechanics is the study of the behavior of matter and energy at the atomic and subatomic levels. It is based on the theory that particles can exist in more than one state at a time. This means that they can be in multiple places or have multiple properties at the same time. Quantum mechanics helps us to understand how atoms and molecules work and how they interact with each other.

this is the most difficult subject that you will study as a physicist, it is not easy to digest it easily.

Quantum physics is heavy in math because it uses a lot of equations to help explain how particles work on a very small scale. For example, an equation might help scientists understand how two particles can be linked together even when they are far apart. 

In this case, you will need to use a lot of mathematics, especially algebra and calculus. So it will be not easy to absorb, it requires more time and effort to spend to understand its parts subjects.

2 – vibrations and waves

In physics, vibrations and waves are described as disturbances that propagate through a medium. These disturbances can be in the form of mechanical waves, such as sound waves, or electromagnetic waves, such as light waves.

 Vibrations and waves are both created by a source, which can be anything from a plucked guitar string to the sun. The source creates a disturbance that travels away from the source in all directions.

in this case, you will have a lot of experience, including discovering 

  • how pendulum work
  • study spring and calculate their forces
  • the relation between energy and Mass
  • the reasoning phenomena

There is a ton of math in this course, especially differential equations. if you aren’t good at calculus, you will suffer in this subject, honestly. The thing is to go and take courses in derivative before taking this credit course.

3 – Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is one of the most difficult subjects you will be studying, For this reason, we wrote a specific article that describes how thermodynamics is a complex subject. If most people find it difficult to understand, you will find this article in the link below.

thermodynamics is  heard and here is how

4 – Fluid dynamics

Fluid dynamics is the study of the physical properties of fluids, including oil, water, and other substances. Fluid dynamics will help to understand how all hydraulics systems are working:

Fluid dynamics machines are things that help scientists study fluids. One example of a fluid dynamics machine is a wind tunnel. Wind tunnels blow air around to help scientists study how it moves. 

Another example of a fluid dynamics machine is a water tank. Water tanks have different shapes and sizes to help scientists study how water moves in different situations.

In fluid dynamics, you will be also demanded to use calculus. So physics is all about math, there is no running from it.

5 – Solid state physics 

Solid-state physics is the study of the physical properties of materials that are in the solid-state. This includes the study of the arrangements of atoms in solids, and how they interact with each other.

Solid-state physics can be used to develop new materials with specific properties, and to understand the workings of electronic devices.

 For example, by understanding the way that electrons move through solids, we can create circuits that are smaller and faster than those made with traditional electronics.

Which is harder than mechanical engineering or physics?

Physics and mechanical engineering have a lot of similarities like studying thermodynamics and vibration. But physics is still harder and tougher by studying some complex subjects like quantum mechanics and electromagnetism. These subjects require good skills in math and physics too.

Mechanical engineers use math and p physics, but they don’t dig deeper into these complex subjects because they focus more on design and tests.

So their job has a lot of practice, not like physicists, who spend most of their time solving theoretical math and physics problems.

Mechanical engineering vs physics salaries

According to BLS, the physicist’s wage is $128,950 per year, and the growth rate of this job is 8%. While mechanical engineers, in general, make $95,000 as a median salary.

It is right that mechanical engineers have to earn lower than physicists. But to get $128,950 as a physicist, you will likely need to have a Ph.D. because most companies don’t accept physics who have only a bachelor’s or a master’s.

So instead of spending 4 years and applying to the workforce with a mechanical engineering degree, you need to spend 8 to 10 years studying before getting a

Which is the best for you, mechanical engineering or physics?

if you respond by yes for more than 50% of these following questions on the table, physics engineering is for you


Can you sit in a chair for long hours during the day?

Do you love solving math and physic problems?

Do you love research?

Do you like to think deeply about natural phenomena?

are you fascinated by physics experiences like astrophysics and space?                                                                     

Do you hate designing?                                                                                                                           

Do you like quantum mechanics?

Do you like to solve physics equations?

Do you enjoy learning all the time?

Do you have curiosity about things and always ask how they work?

 Do you love working on the paper more than hands? 

Do you feel attracted to this major ?

Do you have patience ?

Are you introvert ?

Do you like teaching?

if you respond by yes for more than 50% of these following questions on the table, mechanical engineering is for you


Can you sit in a chair for long hours during the day?

Do you love solving math and physic problems?

Do you love design?

Do you like innovating and creating new things?

Do you like arts and colors ?

Do you hate programming?

Do you like machines?

Do you like to build stuff from scratch?

Do you enjoy learning all the time?

Do you have curiosity about things and always ask how they work?

 Do you love sketching in paper? 

Do you feel attracted to this major ?

Do you have patience ?

Are you extrovert ?

Do you love working by your hands?


It is better to go for mechanical engineering because it has more potential and easily find a job directly after getting your bachelor especially if you like to work and start making some money.

In addition, physics and mechanical engineering have big similarities, so if yoiu like physics it is probably that you like mechanical engineering too.


Yassin ajanif is a physics graduate and electromechanical engineer width more than 5 years in the field. My goal and my team are to share our experience to help you succeed in your career as a stem major. we talk about all tips, problems, and struggle STEM students face in their career and how to overcome them.