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Automotive Engineering career advice

  1. Nov 24, 2014 #1
    Hello everyone! I was wondering if someone could give me some advice on what I should do in order to work in the automotive engineering field. Right now I am a freshman at Coastal Carolina University as an honors student in the Applied Physics major with a focus on engineering. I am on track to complete my degree in 3 years and after I graduate I was thinking about going to Clemson for a Ph.D. in Automotive Engineering. Ultimately I want to work for Ford in its Research and Advanced Engineering department.
     
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  3. Nov 24, 2014 #2

    OldEngr63

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    Get an ME degree from an accredited university as the first step. Join SAE and get involved with the Mini Baja and other SAE student competitions. Then interview with the automobile companies and their suppliers.

    Applied physics is NOT the way to get to work for an automobile company. They will want engineers in almost every instance, so that is the way to go.
     
  4. Nov 24, 2014 #3
    Thank you for your response, however i do not think I explained my intentions very well. I am planning to use my undergraduate degree in Applied Physics to get into a graduate program at Clemson University for Automotive engineering. They have both a Master's and Ph.D. program for people with a B.S. in either engineering or applied sciences, provided they have good GRE scores and a 3.0 (M.S.) or 3.5 (Ph.D.) GPA.

    Also, I tried to start a SAE team this semester at my college but the proposal was denied due to the amount of funding it required, so I figured I could join Clemson's SAE team when I go for my graduate degree.
     
  5. Nov 24, 2014 #4

    OldEngr63

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    I look your school up on line to try to see what your program looks like. The school website offers pitiful little information, no course info, no faculty info, etc.

    You should inquire how many of your teachers (physics department faculty) are registered professional engineers. This will give you a clue as to who has true engineering credentials (registration is a state license to practice engineering), and who does not. This is more important than you can imagine at this point in your education.
     
  6. Nov 24, 2014 #5

    OldEngr63

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    I'm sorry to hear that your efforts to get SAE going on campus were rejected. This suggests (to me) ignorance on the part of the school. SAE contributed far more than it costs, and senior sections of SAE usually provide generous financial support to the student sections. This reinforces my doubts about your school as being an appropriate place to prepare for an engineering career.

    Be aware also that, if you go into a graduate engineering program without the prerequisite undergraduate courses, you will most likely be required to do a fair amount of undergraduate work. Specifically, you can expect to have to fill in any gaps you may have in mechanics of materials, thermodynamics, dynamics, vibrations, controls, and machine design.
     
  7. Nov 24, 2014 #6
    Thank you so much for your help, as you can probably tell my college does not place much emphasis on the sciences (aside from Marine Science, which is huge because we're so close to the beach), however the tuition is so f-ing cheap for a university i couldn't pass it up. I have talked to some of the different physics professors on campus and none of them are engineers, rather more science-inclined. The main professor I have talked to is a material scientist who is trying to create an Engineering Science program at the school, which will add more engineering courses to the major. Also, i just checked on Clemson's website for the courses I will need and thankfully I will be taking all of the required courses minus Matlab (I think) and some of the recommended manufacturing classes, which the classes in the Engineering Science program should cover if it gets approved.
     
  8. Nov 24, 2014 #7

    OldEngr63

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    I'm sure the cheap tuition is a powerful draw (that is what it is intended to be), but it is your life (your time, and your money) that you are investing. For goodness sake, do not take any student loans and get into debt for an education that is not really in line with your goals.

    I strongly encourage you to re-think the whole thing. Is it really worth your time (if if it is cheap) to get an education that is not really going to get you to your goal? Yes, it is a university, but it is also a university that absolutely no one has ever heard of, has no reputation, etc. You could just print yourself an "diploma" using a good word processor and have about as much value, I am afraid. I would go on to Clemson or elsewhere immediately if I were in your shoes.
     
  9. Nov 25, 2014 #8
    3 years of your life at a young age have an opportunity cost, remember that. The university calls itself a liberal arts institution, founded in the 50s. Honestly, that's scary.

    If the university of origin does not matter for getting admitted at automotive engineering degrees in your area, whatever. But also think about what happens if in 3 years you're not able to continue studying for whatever reason.

    I wouldn't fixate myself on working for Ford. I don't want to be harsh, but it's a misguided objective. You have to like what you do and pursue career growth, not pursue working for someone forever. I mean, would you be unhappy at a unheard of non-branded commercial vehicle manufacturing company, even if they treated you with the same perks and wage levels and you had to do the exact same job?
     
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