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Broadest Civil or Mechanical?

  1. Jun 10, 2006 #1
    Hi all.
    I'm a junior at University of Colorado at Denver and am studying civil engineering. I was a little confused about which is the broadest of engineering. I've heard that civil is because it's been around the longest and also have heard that mechanical is. Which one do you guys think is broader.

    Also, I'm halfway through into the program at CU and have completed successfully the math and physics which was pretty challenging (was always above the class average in quizzes,test, and final grades) and some engineering classes like statics, surveying,etc. My concern is, will the classes get dramatically tougher. Since, I've already completed the math and physics I should survive right? Just because I've talked to a couple students who have said that classes like fluids and thermodynamics are really tough, so I was kind of worried. Just wanted to get an idea of what's to come.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2006 #2


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    IMO mechanical is the most broad. Civil contains some elements of mechanical in it, but there are a lot of specialized topics as well. For example, in my uni, the civils only had to take statics. They didn't have to take things like dynamics or machine elements or heat transfer. They did have a lot of structural classes though which I didn't take too many of.

    To be certain for your scenario, sit down with the degree requirements of both. Look at the classes. You should be able to get a feel for just how broad a scope each program covers.

    That's just my opinion. I may be wrong.
  4. Jun 10, 2006 #3


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    In my opinion, i think Civil is the broadest, because the rest of the engineering separated from Civil, but in the beginning it was military then civil.

    Fred, i guess the courses depends on Univ, because in mine we took Dynamics. I didn't take Machine elements or Heat transfer.
  5. Jun 10, 2006 #4
    Hi there:

    I am a mechanical engineer.

    From my perspective, it is mechanical engineering.

    The reason why I do believe so is that mechanical engineering covers all the engineering disciplines and provides you with a background that allows you to specialize in any major engineering discipline.

    Any way, no matter what your opinion is and what you decide to do, you end up dealing with engineering and engineering is a good background to build upon for the rest of your career.

    Welcome to the engineering community.

    Good luck.


    R&D Engineer
    Engineering Software
  6. Jun 10, 2006 #5
    Thanks for the input. But what do you guys have to say for the second paragraph?
  7. Jun 10, 2006 #6


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    Generally, upper level (junior and senior) classes are more difficult than lower level classes.

    Being an engineer can be challenging. In the real world, the answers are not in the back of the book. One has to provide an answer, and right or wrong often depends on an application succeeding or failing.
  8. Jun 10, 2006 #7


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    Hey, i am studying civil engineering and i am junior (next semester i'll be a senior), too. I don't believe any of the courses were "tought" or "hard", but rather time consuming. You know in our branch of engineering the concepts are not that abstract, you could see how they work in the Lab or whatever project the teachers assign.

    The "problem" about our engineering branch is that some of the assigments are tedious. I remember when i took surveying I and surveying II, hehe. I was in the middle of nowhere under the heavy sun measuring with the theodolite and whatnot a terrain. You know the getting the area, and the lenghts. It was cool, but it was exhausting.

    For the rest of the courses on late junior and senior, the problem is that all the classes have huge projects, which you need to start early, so you will have time. That's basicly all. I mean even Hydrology has this ridiculous huge project...

    Edit: I just read Astro's reply, that's true, too!. Don't expect to have the answer in the back of the book for the projects, because it isn't there!. You have to trust on what you have learned.
  9. Jun 20, 2006 #8
    In my opinion, I think civil is a broader field. There are so many areas one could eventually wind up speciallizing; surveying/GIS, structural, marine, geotechnical, water treatment/distribution, highway & route design, construction management, graphical applications/DTM, typical civil site design, hydraulics/water resources, industrial waste, solid waste. Anything that is put on the ground usually has some civil engineering.

    I think that if you learned well your basics, your upper division work not too hard.
  10. Aug 4, 2006 #9
    I disagree with all of you. I think electrical is the broadest. :biggrin:
  11. Aug 5, 2006 #10


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    no, no, physics is!
  12. Aug 11, 2006 #11
    The main thing is; Do not worry, your background seems to be very solid.
    You will be very fine, just continue, don't give up.

    The broadest: hm, hm, hm,, Oh all of them, although I am in Electrical Engineering.
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