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Changing Engineering Dicipline?

  1. Feb 7, 2013 #1
    Hi, I am currently studying Chemical engineering, and I recently realized that in the country I live, the job opportunities for ChemE are very limited compared to other Engineering disciplines. Since I like Mechanical engineering as much as ChemE, that could be an option. The problem is that i don't want to change majors, since my progress studying ChemE go to waste.

    I am thinking in getting a 2nd bachelors degree in ME, since a lot of the courses overlap and take me only 1 or 2 extra years to finish. My other option is going straight to ME grad school, but i don't know if i could get in if i am ChemE undergrad.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2013 #2
    What year are you in school? If you've only taken a few chemical engineering classes then go ahead and switch. Knowledge never goes to waste, at least you have a basic understanding of chemical reactions and how they can be used, not a lot of mechanical engineers learn that type of stuff so that could be something that sets you apart. My .02
  4. Feb 8, 2013 #3
    I am less than 1 year away from graduating...

    I was thinking in finishing and then study ME, but I don't know if I should study that in Grad school or as a 2nd under grad.

    My question is...

    How difficult is for a chemical engineer go to ME grad school? and if so...

    Would someone with a ChemE undergrad degree and an Msc in ME have as much preparation for an ME job as a regular ME? or i would really need the basic knowledge from a bachelors degree in ME?
  5. Feb 8, 2013 #4
    You're going to need to take some undergrad courses probably. Statics, dynamics, strength of materials, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, and heat transfer most likely. At least the first 3.
  6. Feb 8, 2013 #5
    I'm an EE but I knew people who went to EE grad school from Physics, Materials Science, and ME backgrounds. I assume it is similar to going to ME grad school from ChemE.

    Basically, these folks had very strong records because they needed to overcome the barrier of not having the right undergrad background. Why should an ME program take you for a grad student over someone with a BS in ME? That is the question the grad admissions committee will ask and you should answer it by having a strong application, an excellent statement of purpose, and good reference letters.

    Assuming you get in (which is absolutely possible) you will have to take some remedial undergraduate ME courses to fill in your gaps. It may add a semester or two to the time it takes you to graduate (depending on how heavy a load you take).

    Good luck!
  7. Feb 8, 2013 #6

    If I really have to add extra semesters to graduate from grad school due to the remedial courses, then probably is just as good to stay one or two extra years in college, so i finish with 2 bachelors instead of 1, and then go to directly to grad school without remedial courses. This should also make it easier for me to get accepted into grad school...
  8. Feb 8, 2013 #7
    It'd be more like 2 years extra...you can't take strength of materials or dynamics until you've had statics, that's one year already. You can't take heat transfer without thermodynamics, although at my school they allowed me to take heat transfer before thermodynamics because the only prerequisite was differential equations. Honestly it's more trouble than its worth to get the two bachelors, the last two years of those programs are completely different. Depending on what you want to do with mechanical engineering, because grad school is where you specialize in a topic under a field for instance heat and mass transfer, you should just figure out what remedial classes you need for your chosen field and take those. I doubt you need statics or dynamics if you were to choose heat and mass transfer but every mechanical engineer should understand statics, and strength of materials in my opinion
  9. Feb 8, 2013 #8
    It's one of those things that depends greatly on the schools involved. I was an EE undergrad and I took the same statics, dynamics, and thermo courses the MEs took.

    Conversely, at my school you had to take the full suite of remedial classes if you didn't have an EE undergraduate degree, even if they weren't directly related to your subfield.

    I suggest the OP contacts whatever school he or she is interested in. The only real consensus we can give you is that you WILL have some remedial work, and I agree it will probably be quicker to double major or something as an undergrad.
  10. Feb 8, 2013 #9
    What school did you go to might I ask? My school used to make every engineering major take statics, strength and thermo but recently they have changed the curriculums
  11. Feb 8, 2013 #10
    UC Davis
  12. Feb 8, 2013 #11
    well, I already took thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and transport phenomena (mass transfer). Those are part of the ChemE program

    I could also try to take at least statics and a bit of materials science for electives
  13. Feb 8, 2013 #12
    If you've taken those classes you're in really good shape to double major.
  14. Feb 8, 2013 #13
    Hmm... ok, I think that's what I am going to do.

    Thanks that was very helpful!
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