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It feels like M.E. undergrad degree is a JOKE...

by Curl
Tags: degree, feels, joke, undergrad
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Curl
#19
Oct12-11, 08:27 PM
P: 757
Quote Quote by RandomGuy88 View Post
It sounds like you and the OP just went to crappy schools. I did my undergrad in ME and I feel like I learned plenty from my course work. Granted I learned a lot from working in labs and internships but I wouldn't have had the foundation to do that without my course work. Now I am getting my PhD in aerospace engineering and I am doing quite well at grad school. So the ME degree is not a joke in general, maybe just at your school.
Well my "piece of crap" school got $2 billion endowment and is ranked decently. Listen, it's got everything to do with the department.

Why is it that physics and math courses are 1000 times more rigorous than the ME courses? In physics or math they're not scared to give you a problem where you have to think a little bit (OMG! think?). I took Stat.Mech/Thermo from Physics in the same quarter as Turdmodynamics from ME; when I walked from my physics class to the engineering class it felt like I was walking from college to kindergarten. One problem from the Physics homework was harder (and more enjoyable) than the whole "thermo" course from ME. And they were all different problems that required different types of thinking: in ME all problems are exact copies of the examples in the book (how dumb is that?).

How are you supposed to "solve real problems" if the only things they teach kids to do is memorize how to plug numbers into a few equations? Give anyone in ME an original, abstract problem to solve and they won't be able to do it.
RandomGuy88
#20
Oct12-11, 10:19 PM
P: 365
Quote Quote by Curl View Post
Well my "piece of crap" school got $2 billion endowment and is ranked decently. Listen, it's got everything to do with the department.

Why is it that physics and math courses are 1000 times more rigorous than the ME courses? In physics or math they're not scared to give you a problem where you have to think a little bit (OMG! think?). I took Stat.Mech/Thermo from Physics in the same quarter as Turdmodynamics from ME; when I walked from my physics class to the engineering class it felt like I was walking from college to kindergarten. One problem from the Physics homework was harder (and more enjoyable) than the whole "thermo" course from ME. And they were all different problems that required different types of thinking: in ME all problems are exact copies of the examples in the book (how dumb is that?).

How are you supposed to "solve real problems" if the only things they teach kids to do is memorize how to plug numbers into a few equations? Give anyone in ME an original, abstract problem to solve and they won't be able to do it.
I meant your department. It wouldn't be fair to lump the rest of your school into the same pile of crap that your department is clearly in. I was a mech E and I am quite able to solve engineering problems on my own. If you don't feel you learning anything than do something about it. Quit, switch majors, switch schools, get involved in research...
gulfcoastfella
#21
Oct12-11, 11:47 PM
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It really does sound like physics is your cup of tea, and definitely not engineering. Keep in mind too, though, that physicists need talented engineers. Perhaps you could combine your passion for physics and brief background in engineering to solve problems that others might not have insight into. Also, there are plenty of up-and-coming fields where a knowledge of both disciplines would be required, like nanotechnology for example.

Remember, too, that many scientists and engineers step back and forth between the two roles regularly. Many engineers conducting research are really doing science, albeit not the high-horse stuff that garners biographies and headlines, but is no less important. And on the flip side, some scientific advancement is held back by an inability to carry out a particular experiment due to engineering constraints. Remember that it took engineers to design the Hubble Space Telescope, without which modern astronomers/cosmologists/physicists wouldn't have mountains of data. Someone had to design and build every experiment that scientists have ever relied upon. Many of the designers of these experiments can't be exclusively categorized as an engineer or a scientist. Many of these crucial people dwell in this fuzzy area where physics and engineering are the same thing.
ashnek
#22
Oct13-11, 12:01 AM
P: 16
Well all i can say is that your career is what you make of it, if you didnt like your undergad or you think it should be harder then just study the harder stuff by yourself or attending to other lectures or copying lecture notes from your physics/math friends w/e point is just change it to where you like it.

I had a pretty bad undergrad, in my country the main university isnt that good and i didint feel like going to other country so i just made my undergrad as i wanted, i used semesters to just tell me what to study as in solid mechanics and stuff and i would study the more "complete" way, it was pretty hard time wise but i enjoyed it and also you have to remember you are studying ME undergrad so always be aware that you have to be able to simple down what you know to answer the test, i remember a professor got angry at me because i used tensor notation in an exam.

Anyway dont let university define your career is what i mean, university is just made to produce someone good enough for the overall industry (some do it better because good undergrads means good base for postgrad and if lucky +$$$) and as you probably know not all ME undergrads want to design or do research, some want to manage or go to production or i dont know look cool, so they do it pretty simple, diversification is in your part. So dont argue about it just solve it and make it happen you ll hear that maaaaaany times and in the end doesnt matter all you know if you dont have that mentality as an engineer. If it was for me ME undergrad would be kinda like medicine, but thats just me
boneh3ad
#23
Oct13-11, 07:18 AM
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I still think that rather than blaming the school or the department that it is more likely that Curl just failed to grasp the bigger picture. It is common that students can solve the problems but not apply the physics to other problems. It is especially common in students who study mainly by repetition of problems without really grasping the basics.
Mech_Engineer
#24
Oct13-11, 09:13 AM
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Wikipedia: Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of people.

I'm tempted to reply to the OP line by line to tell him how he's wrong in all counts, but he's expressing an opinion, so he can feel however he wants. Engineering is the application of analysis and design to solve problems, so yes learning and applying equations is part of that. I found my classes in Heat Transfer, Thermodynamics, and Structural analysis to be very useful and I apply what I learned in those classes all the time...

In the end, you're only going to get out of your education the effort you put in.
Curl
#25
Oct13-11, 10:16 PM
P: 757
Quote Quote by boneh3ad View Post
I still think that rather than blaming the school or the department that it is more likely that Curl just failed to grasp the bigger picture. It is common that students can solve the problems but not apply the physics to other problems. It is especially common in students who study mainly by repetition of problems without really grasping the basics.
Then why do we call these people "engineers"?

Wikipedia: Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of people.
That's what I thought engineering was when I picked it as a major. This might have been true 50 or 100 years ago but now engineering turned into a bonehead-infested abomination. And they had to dumb down all the curriculum or else nobody would pass. It's truly a disgrace.
iaing94
#26
Oct17-11, 08:35 AM
P: 11
Quote Quote by Curl View Post
That's what I thought engineering was when I picked it as a major. This might have been true 50 or 100 years ago but now engineering turned into a bonehead-infested abomination. And they had to dumb down all the curriculum or else nobody would pass. It's truly a disgrace.
A bonehead-infested abomination? Kind of offensive to a forum filled almost exclusively with engineers, or people with a large interest in the subject. Are you calling all engineers "boneheads"?
boneh3ad
#27
Oct17-11, 11:04 AM
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Quote Quote by Curl View Post
Then why do we call these people "engineers"?
Because they possess engineering degrees. Just because someone holds a piece of paper does not make them intelligent. That goes for all fields. You will find dumb doctors and businessmen and teachers and every other profession if you open your eyes and look.

Quote Quote by Curl View Post
That's what I thought engineering was when I picked it as a major. This might have been true 50 or 100 years ago but now engineering turned into a bonehead-infested abomination. And they had to dumb down all the curriculum or else nobody would pass. It's truly a disgrace.
On the contrary, engineering is still filled with brilliant people, you are just looking in the wrong place. There are many jobs that engineers can do, and not all of them require you to be brilliant. There are many, many people who are perfectly content to work in near-anonymity at a big company and live a comfortable life, and there is something to be said for that. For many of them, they don't have to be brilliant, but merely competent at their job. This is how it has always been. Of course the brilliant people will be harder to find. That is just common sense.

Quote Quote by iaing94 View Post
A bonehead-infested abomination? Kind of offensive to a forum filled almost exclusively with engineers, or people with a large interest in the subject. Are you calling all engineers "boneheads"?
Some of us are boneheads, and admittedly so. Being a bonehead doesn't exclude you from being a brilliant engineer though.
s09
#28
Oct17-11, 11:10 AM
P: 22
Quote Quote by Curl View Post
I'm getting pretty annoyed at this point, I don't know if my department is a special case or if this is universal but the M.E. undergrad degree is a joke.
I'm pretty much done with undergrad M.E. courses, I just need to take 1 or 2 more ME electives and 2 more non-ME electives and I'm out. Looking back at the core classes, I don't see how it was worth showing up to class, let alone pay the tuition:


- Mechanics of Materials
A joke of a class, all you do is plug numbers into formulas (which are just datafits). Completely mindless.

- Engineering "thermodynamics"
I call this class turdmo-dynamics because it is a disgrace to the beautiful science of thermodynamics and the name should not be associated with this. All you do in this course is look up tables and memorize how to do specific types problems (which are all the same except for the numbers). They don't even teach you what entropy is, meaning that kids coming out of this class don't know what Temperature means (since it is defined in terms of entropy). Very sad indeed.

- Heat Transfer
Laplace's equation on R^2. Solutions to some oversimplified problems and some nondimensonal groups.

- Fluid dynamics
Energy is conserved equation (aka bernoulli's eq)
Reynold's number
Moody chart which is seldom better than 50% error.
Viscosity (which they don't explain but rather state it as "experimental fact")
Lousy derivation of Navier Stokes with 2 simple solutions.
Data fits and nondimensional groups which don't help you understand anything.
Oh and supersonic flow, which was cool, except the derivations were very lousy if at all present.

- System Dynamics
2/3 of a year spent on linear (often homogeneous) system of ODEs with constant coefficients.
Some Laplace and Fourier transforms without any explanations/derivations/proofs. Basically memorize the process and do it on exam/HW.

-Manufacturing Processes
One of the most boring classes ever, all qualtiative babbling on things that are either common sense or too simplified to be useful. All exams were short answer, basically a test to see if you were awake and memorized the vocab ("engineering terms" as they call it).

- Engineering Design
lol this class reminds me of 7th grade, completely useless and everything is either common sense or just dry talk. I get bored to tears after the first 20 min and start doodling or reading a math book.

- Formula SAE
Build a racecar? How about buy a racecar. This club is a joke, all they do is buy things and wrench them together, save for the monocoque which they actually lay out with CF. Other than that everything is bought or sent off to be made elsewhere. Oh and believe it or not, a steel plate bracket is a year-long project for some members.

- Undergrad "research"
I don't understand why the word "research" is in there. All you get to do is push some buttons, epoxy some junk, and make plots. And everything being "researched" has already been done with 99.999% similarity and is most of the time completely useless.

I know for sure some want to come in here and be mad because you feel I "dissed" your field, but the honest truth is that this is sort of depressing and it makes me feel like I wasted 3 years of my life (and money too). Does anyone feel the same way or gone through the same thing. Any thoughts appreciated.
Sounds like my experience with comp-sci undergrad and grad school. I just did things different, I looked at the field (which I knew I already enjoyed) and picked what I liked (nay, I absolutely LOVE this topic) the most: Artificial Intelligence

I then proceeded to keep what I learned in the back of my head and go with what I really loved.
Travis_King
#29
Oct17-11, 11:12 AM
P: 841
I agree. Don't blame the fact that your school has a poor engineering department, and the fact that you did poorly in choosing a challenging and prestigious program, on the field in general.

My school provided challenging curriculum and prepared me for the continued education that is "industry". I use fluid dynamics and heat transfer equations literally every day, and the understanding of the fundamentals of structural design is imperitive to me successfully completing projects. And, my physics course supplemented my mech courses both in kinetics/kinematics (supporting structural dynamics courses) as well as electricity and magnetism (for my electrical design and control courses). And all of this has served me well in industry so far (obviously there are many things that I don't use given my particular field)

I'm sorry you had a bad experience, perhaps graduate school would be a nice experience for you. I would suggest applying to another school's program. The engineering industry offers tons of jobs that will expect the engineer to solve difficult and challenging problems by applying his anaylitical and critical thinking experience. But you have to decide whether you want to be an engineer or a theoretician/researcher.
s09
#30
Oct17-11, 11:13 AM
P: 22
Quote Quote by boneh3ad View Post
Because they possess engineering degrees. Just because someone holds a piece of paper does not make them intelligent. That goes for all fields. You will find dumb doctors and businessmen and teachers and every other profession if you open your eyes and look.



On the contrary, engineering is still filled with brilliant people, you are just looking in the wrong place. There are many jobs that engineers can do, and not all of them require you to be brilliant. There are many, many people who are perfectly content to work in near-anonymity at a big company and live a comfortable life, and there is something to be said for that. For many of them, they don't have to be brilliant, but merely competent at their job. This is how it has always been. Of course the brilliant people will be harder to find. That is just common sense.



Some of us are boneheads, and admittedly so. Being a bonehead doesn't exclude you from being a brilliant engineer though.
lol, don't feed the negative vibe. Look, if you really enjoy what you want to do, you will find a way to do it. Currently I'm doing web-design and making web-apps. It's entertaining for my intellect to a point... now, artificial intelligence, give me a week and close me off from society for a while and you'll never see me again :-P .

Life sucks, people suck, I just do my own thing that I really enjoy. I could tell you about the idiocies and unfairness that I endured, but that would take time away from me learning how to better code in Lisp :-) .
s09
#31
Oct17-11, 11:16 AM
P: 22
Quote Quote by Travis_King View Post
I agree. Don't blame the fact that your school has a poor engineering department, and the fact that you did poorly in choosing a challenging and prestigious program, on the field in general.

My school provided challenging curriculum and prepared me for the continued education that is "industry". I use fluid dynamics and heat transfer equations literally every day, and the understanding of the fundamentals of structural design is imperitive to me successfully completing projects. And, my physics course supplemented my mech courses both in kinetics/kinematics (supporting structural dynamics courses) as well as electricity and magnetism (for my electrical design and control courses). And all of this has served me well in industry so far (obviously there are many things that I don't use given my particular field)

I'm sorry you had a bad experience, perhaps graduate school would be a nice experience for you. I would suggest applying to another school's program. The engineering industry offers tons of jobs that will expect the engineer to solve difficult and challenging problems by applying his anaylitical and critical thinking experience. But you have to decide whether you want to be an engineer or a theoretician/researcher.
To be fair, you're lucky. I'm not whining, but rarely do you get to do what you studied. The key to overcoming this is to find something that you can do in your spare time that you enjoy (or be very aggressive and find the job that you *truly* enjoy ;-) ).

I like computer science and love artificial intelligence. Compilers bore me to death and the school that I graduated from had a crappy AI program, so I bought some books, found stuff online and roll how I want to roll, because I'm awesome that way :-) .

No one will ever drop in your lap what you want or enjoy, gotta get it yourself. Reach for the skies and grab the sun bro, even if you gotta stand with your bare-feet on a cactus :-) .
gulfcoastfella
#32
Oct17-11, 05:48 PM
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http://youtu.be/YEbztw3pW3A
mtow78
#33
Oct19-11, 11:19 AM
P: 4
to be honest, if you think your engineering degree is a joke then I think you're at the wrong university.

I go to UNC-Charlotte (the 49ers, NOT the tar heels) and it is the most underrated school in the nation when it comes to engineering. We compete with Duke and NC-State but our engineering department is small and we all have great relationships with our professors.

I had the chance to pursue engineering at Virginia Tech but UNC-Charlotte's program looked much more appealing.

I hear a lot of whining, probably coming from people that aren't making good grades
stripes13
#34
Oct19-11, 01:24 PM
P: 1
mender in my opinion that's the best answer so far towards this cats rant.
Shaun_W
#35
Oct20-11, 03:38 PM
P: 270
Quote Quote by Curl View Post
Give anyone in ME an original, abstract problem to solve and they won't be able to do it.
Give anyone from maths or theoretical physics a real world problem and they won't be able to do it. There is a reason that many engineering firms hire exclusively engineering graduates and not maths or physics ones. This is not me capping on maths and physics; it is just a statement of fact. Maths and physics students might be better at solving abstract problems, which many may find much more enjoyable. But in the real world you don't tend to come across "abstract" problems. Real world problems are very, very rarely about manipulating complex maths and solving equations.

Anyway it doesn't sound like engineering is for you. There is nothing wrong with that. It sounds like you are better suited to solving abstract problems from textbooks than real world problems. Again, there is nothing wrong with that, it's just unfortunate that in this world no-one will pay you to do that.
bugatti79
#36
Oct20-11, 04:16 PM
P: 660
I agree...sounds like engineering is not for you. Why not try Quantum Field Theory for yourself...put the 'many worlds theory or copenhagen interpretation' to bed.....that will stop you from complaining and keep you quite...I doubt hes listening anymore anyway. :-)


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