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Applied math or mechanical engineering

  1. Feb 26, 2009 #1
    i'm currently a physics and applied math double major considering applying to grad schools next fall. i plan on going to graduate school to study applied math or engineering. I'm worried that not too many companies will want someone with an applied math degree who studied modeling.

    my favorite classes are mathematical modeling (we used modeling techniques to problems in population dynamics and traffic flow), DEs, linear algebra, and PDEs, mechanics (oscillators in particular).

    i dont want to do physics since i hate experiments and hands on work. i also found quantum to be too theoretical. for instance, on the midterms, i often got the conceptual probs wrong but the math-related probs right. this has been the case for all my physics classes, even the lower divs, which is why i think mechE might be too 'practical' for me

    is it MUCH easier to find jobs in, say, aerospace or mechanical engineering with a MS in engineering than applied math?

    i've been looking into computational fluid mechanics since it seems to use physics and applied math

    i havent taken any ME classes, but plan on taking heat transfer and fluid mechanics next semester
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2009 #2
    anyone with input into this?
  4. Jun 23, 2009 #3
    i've heard that there's more opportunities if i do CFD in applied math than in mechanical engineering, if i look outside the engineering industry for jobs. but i'm likely to lean towards engineering jobs. also, for applied math grad schools, the math GRE is required. but doesnt that require knowledge of abstract algebra and topology and other proof-based math classes? i've only taken linear algebra, fourier analysis, real analysis, and half of abstract algebra (dropped it midway through the semester)
  5. Jun 23, 2009 #4
    I think a masters in mechanical engineering would round out your studies well. In mechanical engineering, I think CFD, FEA, and 3D solid modelling may work well for you.
  6. Jun 24, 2009 #5
    Even in engineering things can get quite theoretical, but there is a greater chance that you will be combining theory with some experiments that you may have to setup.

    OTOH, applied mathematicians seem to collaborate with departments that tend to do experimental work on the system being modeled, in which case you might have a greater chance of doing the modeling work without the experimental side.

    The specifics can only be found out once you start talking to professors. It will depend on the type of research they are doing. The boundaries of engineering, physics, and mathematics can sometimes be blurred.

    As an extreme example, there are people in the mech. eng faculty here that are working on measure theory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measure_theory), a traditionally very pure mathematical subject.
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