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Engineering vs Mathematics 
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#1
Apr1811, 08:25 PM

P: 60

Hi all, I am 32 years old and have been back to school for a year now. I am working on my second degree in Math. It will take me 2 more years at a small state school in NJ that is costing me about $12,000 a year. Prior to school I owned and operated my own general contracting business.
My dilema is this  does anyone have an opion on whether or not switching to an expensive university, (Drexel $40,000 a year) to study Civil Engineering over staying at a cheap state college and recieving a BS in Math is a smart decesion. I love studying Math and Physics and could see myself really enjoying applying it as an engineer. Not sure if the cost is worth it. Also not sure what I would do with my Math degree. I have a little credit problem that would probably rule out finance industry. Also drexel has a great CoOp program that allows you to mix in three semesters of work while studying. Any advice or experiences would be welcomed. 


#2
Apr1811, 09:11 PM

P: 1,185

I'm sure there must be some public school in New Jersey that offers an engineering program. Oh hey.... Rutgers! (?)



#3
Apr1911, 09:47 AM

P: 60




#4
Apr2011, 07:16 AM

P: 232

Engineering vs Mathematics
Why are you going back to school to study math? You should have a goal in mind, then we can tell you if math or engineering is more suited to reaching that goal.



#5
Apr2011, 09:32 AM

P: 60

Kind of a long story, so I will try to give you the short version. Early in High School I tested extremely high in Math (National Test Top 1%), but decided partying was more fun than taking more challenging classes. Went on to a small State school and received a B.A. in Political Science. My father owned his own construction company so I decided to give self employment a try, and use my degree as a backup plan. Again the short version is I had a successful General Contracting Business until New Home Construction Industry was wiped out. Along with my business also went my credit. Decided to test my math skills knowing that if you are good at math there seem to be better job opportunities. So far I have received an A in PreCalc, A in calculus 1, A in Physics, and I have an A average in Calculus 2. I enjoy Math and physics very much. My concern is Losing my business destroyed my credit and I am not sure what I can do with a math degree since my credit is bad and it seems like a lot of the jobs are geared towards the banking industry. I know I would like the academics of engineering, but is it worth the expense. Will there be job opportunities justifying the enormous cost in comparison to the much smaller cost of receiving a BS in Math. Is a math degree with bad credit not a problem in this tough job market? I know I would enjoy either curriculum, my decision lies with what will give me the best job opportunities at the end. Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this and I appreciate any comments or suggestions. 


#6
Apr2011, 11:51 AM

HW Helper
P: 2,277

As a BS in Civil Eng, now doing a PhD in Econ. I can tell you, a math degree is better if you plan to go to grad school in another field like Engineering or Physics.



#7
Apr2011, 03:47 PM

P: 4

Hello, Pokerface. Glenn Kelman, CEO of a company named Redfin, says mathematicians are the most soughtafter type of employee in Silicon Valley. Maybe a BS in math brings you an opportunity over there. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine...5060960537.htm



#8
Apr2011, 06:44 PM

P: 661

From my math major friends they say anything past Diffy Q's/Linear Algebra (in some cases complex analysis) isn't much help in physics. 


#9
Apr2011, 07:26 PM

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#10
Apr2011, 07:37 PM

P: 661




#11
Apr2011, 07:43 PM

Mentor
P: 18,290

If I'm not mistaken, the fields of functional analysis and differential geometry were actually motivated by problems in physics. They just don't mention these things in the courses... By all means, take some functional analysis and differential geometry, and see for yourself!! 


#12
Apr2011, 09:33 PM

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P: 2,277

I transitioned sort of smoothly with my civil engineering background in my PhD studies, but if I could do it all over again, I'd just get a BS in Math, and then proceed again to grad school. 


#13
Apr2111, 12:45 AM

P: 91

Just this semester one of my physics profs said that if he had his way, physics students wouldn't touch physics until after at least three years of mathematics. 


#14
Apr2111, 01:28 AM

P: 661

I really don't understand the special case argument either. I take it your econ program likes math, physics, engineering degrees more? If that's the case, did you not have to take any economics before being admitted to that program? Or did you take those when you were an undergrad? The reason I ask is because one of my friends is going to grad school in the fall for economics and his background is chemistry. He has all the math classes done from his undergrad but the program won't let him in officially until he does 5 undergrad econ classes. So it's going to be another year before he can actually *start* doing grad economics work. Those undergrad econ classes aren't covered by the university either so he has to pay them out of pocket. I'm not bashing any particular degree but in my eyes the college system is setup to jump through a bunch of hoops. And if you don't do it right the first time then they will always make you start over again. I dealt with this as a transfer student and it's incredibly annoying. 


#15
Apr2111, 01:50 AM

HW Helper
P: 2,277

I recommend Math, because it is a flexible degree. You can move rather quickly to most grad schools in science and engineering. Of course, you should have an idea of which area, so at your undergrad you take as much related courses as possible. The handicap may be take additional courses, but if you're ok with that. You should be fine. The traditional path of grad school has always been the same (Undergrad>Grad). Aerospace>Aerospace, Physics>Physics, and so on. However, there have always been cases of crossover, Math>Operations Research, Physics>Aerospace, Physics>Economics, History>Physics, Sociology>Engineering, Mechanical Engineering>Physics. The most common are crossovers from Math and Physics to Engineering and other sciences such as Economics. Anyway, choosing between Civil and Math is not really useful, if you plan to stay at the undergrad level. Students of Sciences degree tend to most of the time go to grad school. 


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