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Courses 3rd Year Engineering Courses

  1. Jun 5, 2007 #1
    Hi, quick question: The first two years of an engineering degree are mostly basic science courses, the maths and physics etc etc...Come third year I noticed that the courses "change" and become more applied. They are no longer so general, they seem to be more hands on. I was just wondering if they are (generally) easier, or harder than the first two year courses, Ive done alright my first two years, but not spectacular, just wondering what I should expect,

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  3. Jun 5, 2007 #2
    For me it was much harder. No reason you cant do well though if you have a good understanding of the fundamentals. It seemed like the took specific topics you went over in your year-long calculus based physics class, and made an entire term out of it, covering it in depth.
  4. Jun 5, 2007 #3


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    IMHO, it doesn't get harder; only challenging. I say challenging because it uses the concepts and fundamentals that you've learned in your first two years. So it helps to have a solid foundation. I've seen 3rd year EE students crumble because they don't know the current divider rule and how to properly apply KVL. It seems weird, buts its a very troubling situation to be in.
  5. Jun 5, 2007 #4


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    Indeed, the higher-level classes will start combining and requiring competence in many of the topics you learned independently in lower-level classes.

    - Warren
  6. Jun 5, 2007 #5


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    Honestly, I found my 3rd and 4th year classes easier in the fact that I was now seeing physical applications of a lot of abstract ideas. Plus, for me, the topics were much more interesting so my attention was kept much easier.

    It's all going to depend on why you are studying engineering and what kind of person you are. I think if you are like me in that you always want to know how something works or why something is the way it is, you'll really get into what you are learning. Of course, there will always be classes that just flat out stink (I couldn't stand control systems).
  7. Jun 6, 2007 #6
    I found my 3rd year classes easier.

    I think it was because they were more focused and didn't seem to cut off right when things started to get interesting. I found it very frustrating in my intro courses when the "why" of stuff wasn't explained, in my 3rd year courses, they started explaining why we get the results that we do; I think that made me more more focused in my studies.

    I just hope my senior year is as much fun.
  8. Jun 6, 2007 #7
    The third year courses were much more interesting, but required far more work. No matter how interesting a subject is, or how much you like the work, grinding through a problem set for 13+ hours can be pretty harsh. However, these are the most important classes, so work hard to really understand the material.

    Also: senior year is much better.
  9. Jun 6, 2007 #8
    Agreed! For me my junior year presented the biggest challenge.
  10. Jun 6, 2007 #9
    Well, It's not easier...But you will actually start feeling like you are finally an engineering student!

    You know, all these applied science and situations will let you feel you are not just taking meaningless courses..You will no more think theoritically, but rather, money and many other factor will start controlling you thinking...

    3rd year is kinda the best for me...But to pass it smoothly, you must really be good a the basic sciences you have taken the first two years..

    Good luck...
  11. Jun 6, 2007 #10
    Take all advice here with a grain of salt. How many credits are you taking? How hard did you study your first two years? How many classes are you taking outside your major? What courses are you taking?Are you working? So many variables come into play its almost meaningless to give you an answer. We can only tell you our experience based on our situations at the time.

    If someone took 18 credits of Mickey mouse courses, there going to say it was easy for them. Another guy could be taking 12 credits and give you an entirely different picture.

    I take 4 classes a semester, always. I found my junior year to be painful. Project after project was required. The material was harder, you go through more material and at a brisker pase. I was taking only engineering courses, no electives.

    I would not say the material was 'more' interesting than before. If you found the earlier material un-intersting, you should reconsider your major. If you loved it and know it, then it will help you junior year. If you just go through it w/out much care (first two years), get ready to be pounded in the face when they expect you to know this stuff like the back of your hand.

    Now more than ever, you BETTER know your calc 3 and linear algebra if you dont want to struggle through things. The days of alebgra are over. Welcome to engineering based calculus. Know how to do line integrals, surface integrals, stokes theorem, curl, gradient, and know what they mean. You should already know this stuff from your math courses and it wastes class time if the teacher has to explain these basic concepts when he should be explaining the material for the course.

    Quite frankly, every semester is hard if you want to get A's. If you want to pass with B's and C's, then it should be easy for you, but I wouldnt expect you to retain much of anything if thats the case and I wouldnt hold my breath for grad school.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2007
  12. Jun 7, 2007 #11
    I don't think anyone can take all "Mickey Mouse" courses as an engineer during their junior year. If so, they aren't graduating in four years. Most of the real, fundamental courses in an engineer's major are given during the junior year. The first two years are background and intro courses, and senior year is usually reserved for senior project (every ABET accredited program must have one) and electives. So junior year is when you get the heavy weight courses in the engineering curriculum.

    The general consensus, not only on this site, but from most engineers is that junior year is the most difficult. Not only in terms of how hard the material is, but in how much work is involved. Though the material can be hard, too. :rofl:
  13. Jun 7, 2007 #12
    Sure they can, people do it all the time. They wait and sign up for professors that are known to be easier for a given subject. If you take all your courses with the easiest professors you can find on campus, you will effectively have taken a mickey mouse semester.
  14. Jun 7, 2007 #13
    I would, however, argue that the most difficult courses in an engineer's curriculum are given during their junior year. Sure, people maybe wait for the easy professors, but the courses are still more difficult than the other four years. Especially given the fact that its a big step up from the first two years in terms of depth. Fourth year courses, which usually include some electives, are not as hard because you've been exposed to the tough material already.

    Not that I completely disagree with anything you've written thus far, but we're talking in general here. The junior level class is (mostly) full of people who made it through the weeding out process that is the first two years of most engineering programs.
  15. Jun 8, 2007 #14
    Looking back over my 3rd year, I realize I shouldn't have said it was easier then the first two. I should have instead said; I received better grades my 3rd year then I did my first 2 years (3.7 3rd year average compared to 3.4 first 2 year average). The reasons why remain the same as I posted above.

    I agree the first 2 years act as a general weeding out; they get rid of the people who have no business pursuing an engineering degree. Going by what I witnessed these last 2 semesters, it looks like 3rd year also does some weeding out.

    In my classes, it was very clear who did the work during the first 2 years and who coasted by relying on things like formula sheets, cheat programs in their TI-89's, good lab partners, copying other peoples homework, etc.... Things like that can get you through the first 2 years if you have an aptitude for math and science. However, as others have said, 3rd year classes start expecting you to know the stuff you learned the first 2 years, if you didn't do the work, your going to be in trouble.
  16. Jun 10, 2007 #15
    First year mechanical engineer here, and I would have to agree with the above posters: my first year was basically all theory: calc i/ii, linalg I, physics, chem, etc. Compare that with the course descriptions of third year: applied thermo II, fluids II, heat transfer, stress analysis, etc. Basically all applied classes, although there is still some theory (e.g. control theory).

    Hehe, one of my professors, according to ratemyprofessor, describes fluids as a "rite of passage for mechanical engineers". LOL, his way of saying 'here's the lube', but like kdinser above me says, third year is the ultimate "are you engineering stuff" test. If we study hard and truly learn the theory inside and out, we will be more than adequately prepared for the applications that come in junior/senior year.
  17. Jun 12, 2007 #16
    Well I still curious Is anyone here a mining/petroleum engineer?Cause thats what I plan to be, here are some courses ill be taking.

    Soil Mechanics I
    Applied Geomatics
    Applied Numerical Methods
    Introductory Mining Engineering
    Mineral Processing
    Equipment Selection and Materials Handling
    Rock Mechanics
    Rock Penetration & Fragmentation
    Mine Ventilation and Environment Control
    Mineral Economics
    Computer-Aided Mine Planning

    Those are just to name a few...I dunno, it just seems like these look more like trade-courses, or if i was going to be a technician, not that theres anything wrong with that, I would actually prefer to work out in the field Think, rather than in an office. Does anyone have any experience or know of anyone in this field?
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