Biggest differences between aerospace and mechanical engineering?

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I've recently considered going back to college for engineering. What are the biggest differences in aerospace and mechanical engineering other than aerospace being focused on air born objects? I think I've really taken an interest on the side of aerospace engineering.

If you are an aerospace engineer what do you do?
What do you like most about your job?
How did you find the coursework throughout school, easy, difficult, challenging?

Thanks, just trying to get some insight!
 

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  • #2
boneh3ad
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The biggest difference is the examples used to teach the subjects. They are based on the same sciences (mechanics).
 
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would it be better to get a bs in mechanical then?
 
  • #4
boneh3ad
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The general rule I always tell people is that if you know for a fact that you want to work in aerospace, then it doesn't really matter. If you are on the fence, consider mechanical. I was on the fence. I did mechanical. It sure didn't hurt me getting job offers at aerospace companies or getting into an aerospace Ph.D. program.
 
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I may be leaning toward mechE then. still not sure, more researching to do. thank you!
 
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I'm currently an ME student. I like it because, as mentioned, I do have lots of options after I graduate. I originally wanted to do aero, but frankly I've developed interests in other areas now and will likely be pursuing those.

As far as coursework, I've been told aerospace focuses more on fluids and fluid flow. With ME you have a couple classes on fluids but will do more kinematics, machinery, materials sort of stuff. I've also been told that aerospace requires significantly more programming for whatever that's worth.
 
  • #7
i'm thinking about ME too. But my friend told me almost only guys will take ME, which actually hindered me from taking ME because i'm a girl. what i wan to know is, is ME deals with only machines? what else can i do if i am a graduate of ME? i'm actually interested in aerospace, however you guys just said that both of them are almost similar, making me feeling scared of deciding already.
 
  • #8
boneh3ad
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ME doesn't deal with only machines. It deals with anything and everything involving the thermal fluid sciences (fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, etc.), materials science (solid mechanics, metallurgy, continuum mechanics, etc.), dynamics (controls, machine design, etc.) and many hybrid areas that mix the previous three. I am sure I am forgetting things, too.

Aerospace engineering has the same three basic areas, but focuses on their aerospace applications.
 
  • #9
russ_watters
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I don't see where anyone mentioned that you study aerodynamics in aerospace engineering!?!?
 
  • #10
boneh3ad
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I don't see where anyone mentioned that you study aerodynamics in aerospace engineering!?!?
Aerodynamics is a subset of fluid mechanics, so it was covered. In fact, one may even say aerodynamics is fluid mechanics applied to aerospace. :biggrin:
 
  • #11
o, so i have to study both ME and aeroE if i wan to work in aero field?
 
  • #12
boneh3ad
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No. Many places they are distinct degrees. They are just based on the same sciences, often with similar classes using slightly different examples. That said, many MEs do work in aerospace. There aren't a lot of AEs working outside of aerospace though.
 
  • #13
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It's all basically the same, so it really doesn't matter.

As long as you don't get a degree in cheese engineering and don't look like a scruff. You'll have a reasonable chance of getting any engineering job with any engineering degree.

Edit: Within the same 'class' of stuff. So anything you can fix with a hammer.
 
  • #14
thanks~ does MechE involves a lot of drawing and designing?
 
  • #15
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Some do, some don't. I've been in aerospace for 35 yrs. In my current job, we have 3 guys doing strictly aero work. About 150 are doing various aspects of mechanical, many with aero degrees. About 30 are doing design drawing. All aspects of mechanical are represented.
 
  • #16
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I am doing a MechEng degree at the moment (part time) but I also work for a large aerospace company.

I chose Mechanical Engineering as I thought it would be more broad and give me a wider insight to engineering, I felt that Aerospace Eng would be too focused on aerospace. However in almost all of my classes we seem to have Aero guys. Like someone said before, the examples used in class are the main difference and also a few of the modules.. such as Theory of Flight and Aerodynamics. I regularly get lecturers asking if there are any aero guys in the room, if there is they will do an example about planes, if not then its normally cars!

Also, to reitterate, Mechanical Engineers don't just study machines. I am currently or will be doing Thermodynamics, Fludis, Stress, Dynamics, Machinine Design, Material Science, Heat Transfer, Control Systems, Operation Managment, Group Project Management. Different uni's will differ though I'm sure.
 

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