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Aerospace Aerospace Engineering

  1. Jun 1, 2004 #1
    Is it enjoyable? I leave for college next year, but I don't know what I want to study. I have a great interest in math and mechanics, and I'd like to do engineering. I've narrowed down my list to Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering and Nuclear Engineering (I don't know, I guess I find Nuclear Physics interesting).

    I'd appreciate it if anyone who's doing/has done Aerospace Engineering (or any of the other two) can give me some input. Like pros and cons, what you get to do, if they regret it or not. That kind of stuff. Or perhaps someone would like to recommend something instead of these?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 1, 2004 #2
    Then you should have a ball with aerospace engineering! :)

    For me, first years were lots of mechanics, calculus and some aerodynamics. There were also some applied subjects, like materials and control. Wouldn't know how it compares to other studies, but I think you'll get most of what mechanical engineers get too (especially in the first years).

    Good thing about my study was that I got a lot of design projects, working in a group on a problem. But that depends much on the university you're in I guess (BTW: I'm not in the US). I didn't liked the fact there was very little spaceflight in the first years (it wasn't very applied anyway (especially in the first year), but there still were some aeronautics subjects).

    Don't know exactly how my study compares to those in the United States, assuming you come from the US of course, but I think they're similar.

    Anyway, I think for every study you first have to get through the basic maths and physics.
  4. Jun 1, 2004 #3


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    For whatever it's worth, my cousin switched from Aerospace to Mechanical @mit... don't know why though :redface:

    P.S. If you haven't been there, http://www.princetonreview.com/cte/search/careerSearch.asp [Broken]
    was very helpful for me. Click on the letters BTW ;)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  5. Jun 1, 2004 #4
    Many universities in the U.S. have a "Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering," where the two majors are taught side by side. In fact, at my university, U. Texas at Arlington, I've heard of quite a few people double-majoring, since the two degree plans have so much in common.
  6. Jun 2, 2004 #5
    Thanks for the replies everyone. This double-major idea sounds kinda interesting. :approve:
  7. Jun 3, 2004 #6


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    One thing I'd like to suggest is that you get a single
    Bachelor's degree first, and then, maybe, go for some
    doubles. :wink:
    Unless of course the college/uni isn't serious or you're
    REALLY great at math. :biggrin:
  8. Jun 3, 2004 #7


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    Aerospace is a really rewarding major, but it is very difficult. The best part about it is you're always working with the state of the art. In ME, you may end up designing stuff that's already well known... you'll just be modifying it. HVAC, Cars, Industrial components, etc. In AE (assuming you're doing space systems that is), everything is a new design. There's no set algorithm to follow in a design process. Rocket engines, smart structures, hypersonic planes, spacecraft, etc.

    For example, my senior space systems design class did preliminary engineering of a modular moon base. You can't beat that!

    It is very time consuming though.
    At my university, if you walk out to the parking lots at 3 or 4am, over 50% of the cars there belong to AE students, even now that summer's started. I can't count how many nights I've been lucky to catch 2 or 3 hours sleep on a couch in the AIAA lounge.

    I just graduated, and I'm _still_ working on a final project... *sob* (over soon... over soon... over soon)
  9. Jun 3, 2004 #8


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    Congrats Enigma ! :smile:
  10. Jun 3, 2004 #9
    That's awesome enigma. :eek:

    Hmm.. this lack of sleep talk is kinda disturbing. Sleeping is like my favorite hobby.
  11. Jun 4, 2004 #10


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    Then you should definitely forget about a double. :biggrin:
  12. Jun 4, 2004 #11


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    or about engineering in general...

    Any engineering is a hard major. You will be sleep deprived.
  13. Jun 4, 2004 #12
    I can live without a hobby. ;)
  14. Jun 8, 2004 #13
    I always slept pretty well. ..but I am lazy...
  15. Jun 8, 2004 #14
    I thought about aerospace engineering for a while, but mechanical engineering is definitely more useful. I'm a newbie, a sophomore MechE at Rutgers SOE, but it just seems like most good patentable and profitable (not that I give a rats ass about money) ideas are mechanical. I still dream about aerospace, but my love affair with engines and armor pulls me back in.
  16. Jun 15, 2004 #15
    I am in aero, and the AE department at my school will not allow there students to have a double major, and they frown on minors as well.

    There is a saying in among the students "sleep is a crutch". There are more people that you would expect that live by that mentality.

    just some advice, no matter what Engineering you get into. GET INVOLVED WITH THE STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS!!! I can't stress that enoph!! I heard AIAA was mentioned above, and that is a great organization to get involved with, there are others (At my school for example we have Rocket Systems Development Organization RSDO, and American Astronautical Society AAS). not only do they do cool stuff like building class one, two, and even three rockets (somtimes even liquid fueled ones), but also general get togethers that help you to make freinds in your feild and possible contacts latter in life. (And besides all that it looks GREAT on a resume if you have been involved in several activitys as a college student, even if the grades turn out to be less than 3.5)

    have fun and I hope this helps.
  17. Jun 16, 2004 #16

    If AE could be described in two words, then those words are "ub3r l337." ME's work with everything, but AE's work on the cool stuff only. It is also the hardest major so you will get a lot of sympathy. :smile:
  18. Jun 29, 2004 #17
    I started with Engineering Science program, Aerospace major but was very much dissapointed and switched to Mechanical engineering at University of Toronto. Most dissapointing part was the amount of useless materials that I had to learn so I could have an oportunity to learn what i really liked in 3rd year and onward. I must say that am much better well rounded as an engineer and still have the oportunity to study aerospace for my masters. I feel that for a person coming out of high school, it would be better to form a strong foundation of math, physics, fluid dynamics, numerical analysis, heat and mass transfer, thermodynamics before you can engage in some complex problem solving in aerospace field. But then as most of you said it depends in university you are studying. I wish you good luck. All what you have mentioned is interesting and I guess it is down to personnal choice, but be sure to make an subjective choice rather then what would be cool to do. You want to do something that you enjoy, rather then something that is "cool". Whatever your choice , hope you do not regret it.
  19. Jun 29, 2004 #18
    Depends on the school

    Make sure that the school that you pick has a reputable program. Also, when you visit, try and talk with some students which aren't recruiters and see if they like going there.

    Also, if you get the chance, got to www.ratemyprofessor.com and then you can look up some of the professors from that particular school and see if any of them are good or not.

    Other than that, any science related field is going to be a blast. Just don't give up. :surprise:
  20. Jun 29, 2004 #19
    I'm a third year AE at Georgia Tech. Getting into the real courses now. The first couple of years were disappointing. The professors don't really attempt to make any investment in the interested students and a lot of my peers have grown complacent and just do enough to get by. Some of the professors' materials are pieced together from website fragments spanning ten years or more. I really hope that my next two years will drastically change my opinion of Tech. I'm not quite sure how it keeps in the top of AE rankings myself.
  21. Jul 12, 2004 #20
    Thanks a lot for all the input guys! :biggrin:

    I think I'm gonna go for a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering, then an M.Eng. in Aerospace. That seems like the best route. :smile:

    Oh, and I'm shooting for MIT, Caltech, Berkeley, Cornell and Princeton. According to my research, that's how they're ranked according to the strength of their engineering departments. Anyone wanna comment?
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