1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Engineering Advice on why not to get a degree in aeronautical engineering.

  1. Jan 11, 2012 #1
    Hey Everyone! I really need help here. I have read online in many places that a degree in aeronautical engineering is not really usefull, is this true? If so why? and if not what are the benefits? And my second question is can someone minor in mechanical engineering with a major in aeronatical engineering?
    I would really appreciate an answer with details and experience. Thanks in advace.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2012 #2
    1) Any engineering degree is useful. You don't necessarily need a degree in a specific field in order to get a job in it. You need experience and know-how primarily.

    2) If you want to be an aeronautical engineer, then a degree in aeronautical engineering is pretty darn useful, no?

    3) Do you know what aeronautical engineering really is? You don't design planes. Groups of people design planes, AE's do flow calcs for propulsion systems, Boundary layer calcs for surfaces and body shapes, turbulence, aerodynamics, etc. Aeronautical engineering is heavy on calculations and simulations. That is not to say that you are not an integral part of the design process, but you wont be so involved in the actual mechanics and engineering of the thing so much as the shape of it.

    4) Generally, schools offer dual degrees in Aeronautical and Mechanical engineering. If you want to get into the mechanical side of things, this is the way to go. Especially since there are many more jobs out there for MechE's than there are for AeroE's.

    5) Also, if you do decide to stick with the aero side of things, you might consider higher level education. Aerodynamicists benefit greatly from masters degrees.
  4. Jan 12, 2012 #3
    Expounding on what Mr. King wrote, Aeronautical engineering is really applied fluid dynamics. Steam turbines, aircraft, wind propulsion systems, skyscraper wind dynamics, even transportation design could use the input from an Aeronautical Engineer.

    On the negative side: someone may have screwed up very badly with the airspeed instruments used on certain Airbus aircraft. Never let it be said this field doesn't matter.
  5. Jan 12, 2012 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Aerospace engineering isn't just fluid dynamics. There are also specializations in materials and structures as well as dynamics and controls. The vast majority of aerospace engineers end up in structures of aerofluids, but there is a sizable group of aerospace engineers in control theory.

    What is aerospace engineering? from AIAA.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  6. Feb 26, 2012 #5
    i'm thinking about aviation control. should i study aerospace engineering?
  7. Feb 26, 2012 #6
    I'm not certain what you mean by "aviation control." If you're discussing Air Traffic Control, that's a specialty that has no academic degree.

    If you're discussing control systems for aircraft, that's basically a degree in Control Systems Engineering. Most universities will give you a degree in Mechanical, Electrical, or Chemical Engineering, and that's enough to get your foot in the door. If you're really in to such degrees, you can find universities with a full curriculum on the subject, but they're not nearly as commonplace as the other three I cited.

    Finally, if you're discussing the specific aerodynamics of flight controls, then you're really looking at aerospace engineering. Like Control Engineering, Aerospace Engineering is actually a cross-section of many disciplines. Many engineers actually have their degrees in something else and they simply found opportunities in this area.

    Good Luck!
  8. Feb 27, 2012 #7
    thanks a lot for the advice!

    does this mean that i can also work in aero area if i major other engineering such as ChemE?
  9. Feb 27, 2012 #8
    Well, Chemical Engineers are probably least well suited for Aerospace Engineering, as most of the problems are thermal, structural, fluid mechanics, and so on. However, material designs for spacecraft offers interesting possibilities, so I wouldn't completely discount it. You might have a hard time selling it, though.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook