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Aerospace at UIUC or Mechanical at Rutgers then Aero at Grad School?

  1. Apr 2, 2010 #1
    I'm in-state for Rutgers and out of state for Illinois.

    Illinois will cost me $34,000 a year while Rutgers will cost me $4,000 a year.

    Illinois offers the Aerospace Degree while Rutgers offers the Mechanical with Aerospace Concentration + the BS/MS 5 year option.

    Should I go with Rutgers and then go do a Phd. in Aerospace Engineering? I think it's reasonable since I save a lot of money. And I've heard grad programs cover tuition fees if you have good grades.

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2010 #2
    Mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering are very similar. I don't think you'll be at any disadvantage when applying to aerospace jobs or graduate schools if your background is in mechanical engineering.

    My school didn't have an aerospace track, but half of the mechanical engineers from my year are designing jet engines.
  4. Apr 2, 2010 #3
    Thank you, kote! I agree and so have many others when I searched the internet for my similar situation.

    The only problem is that my dad thinks Mechanical Engineering is terrible and wants me to do Civil Engineering. I totally disagree and I know he's biased because two of his brothers who have a Mechanical Engineering degree said not to do it since they can't find a job. They got their degrees 30 years ago, not ABET credited, from a 3rd world country/university, and have not held a real Mechanical Engineering job. So, their advice is, at the very least, unreliable...

    What other arguments could help me to get my dad to change his mind and leave me alone?

    Thank you!
  5. Apr 3, 2010 #4

    Mechanical engineers make over 10% more than civil coming out of school. When looking past starting salaries, the median civil vs median aerospace salaries can be telling too. There is other good data on there about both.

    One cool thing about Rutgers if you do go there is that is has the #1 ranked philosophy department in the country... so take some philosophy courses :smile:. Their math department is particularly good too (and other I'm sure).
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  6. Apr 3, 2010 #5
    You can definitely get into aerospace grad school after Mech E degree. I am finishing up my Mech E BS right now and I am going to UIUC next fall for my PhD in Aero. UIUC is definitely a higher ranked school but Rutgers is certainly not a bad school and getting out of college with very little or no debt is really good. Any good engineering grad program will pay you to go school especially if you are pursuing a PhD. You won't be paid a lot but enough to live off of and you won't be going into deeper debt.
  7. Apr 3, 2010 #6
    I might recommend sitting him down for a man-to-man talk. It's your life; it's your decision. If you're heading into college soon, you're old enough to make the decision. If he doesn't like it... tough.

    That said, mechanical and civil are two of the most common fields because they're ultra useful. If it moves, mechs can design it. If it's anything from a bridge to a dam to a sewer system to a road network, civils can design it. They're both incredibly useful and have amazing job security (in the sense that if you get booted from one job, you're likely to find employment elsewhere), as long as you go to an accredited school and gather job experience.
  8. Apr 3, 2010 #7
    Angry Citizen, I will sit with him man-to-man!
    Thank you kote for that site! And I do actually plan on taking some Philosophy courses. :D
    RandomGuy88, thank you for taking your time to explain your similar situation! I will use it as an example.

    Thank you everyone! :)
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