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Engineering Chemistry from engineering major

  1. Oct 10, 2009 #1
    Ok so here is my story. I am 22 now and I am struggling through an electrical engineering degree. I have no idea why I chose electrical engineering, I guess because I have an interest in computers. However I am finding the degree very dry and boring, I have little drive to do the required workload and have racked up my fair share of failures. This semester I decided to take chemistry as an elective. I have rather thoroughly enjoyed this course so far despite having carried over my bad habits of leaving things to the last minute that I picked up from engineering and highschool. My score in the midsemester exam was only 60% and I am really quite disappointed as I thought I would do better. However there is still time to improve and pull my final mark up to an 80% perhaps. I have found chemistry wierldly challenging, especially the laboritories. I am used to the equations and logic of engineering however chemistry is actually interesting. You think wow.. that's really cool when you do something in the lab.
    Now I am around two years through a 5 year elec engineering course (mandatory 1 year of work experience). Chemistry is really appealling to me however switching over is a big decision and is a complete turn to what I was doing before. How hard does chemistry get? The thing I like about engineering is that no matter what the problem there is always a logical solution, it's just a matter of how much time it takes to reach that solution. If I changed to a bachelor of science majoring in applied chemistry (which is what my university offers), where could I go with it? I would get credits for what I have done and it would probably take me two more years to get the magical bit of paper. But where to from there? What are my options? Thankyou for reading :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2009 #2
    With a BS in Chemistry you will more than likely be a technician or technologist who runs several instruments running the same tests several times per week if not more. There are some other options like forensics or working for the government but really; you can't stop with a BS. You need at least a Master's to work for the big drug companies and even then, without a PhD; you are still the "hands".

    I stopped at a BS Chem 3 years ago and am going back to school considering medical physics, math or some kind of engineering...signed up for Linear Algebra this Spring. Stopping was a mistake. Maybe you could try some ChemE classes?
  4. Oct 11, 2009 #3
    hey mate thanks for the reply! yeah you have a point.. so you are saying that a bachelor of science majoring in applied chemistry by itself wont be good enough to get a decent job.. and will require further study anyway? I'm just really lacking interest in the degree i'm doing at the moment, perhaps it would be best to take a break from it for a while to put things in perspective. What are you studying now?
  5. Oct 11, 2009 #4


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    With a chemistry degree there are many different opportunities depending on which branch of chemistry in which one specializes. One would probably go on to an MS and/or PhD.

    Chemical engineering or Chemical physics are possibilities. One could work in process engineering or development, especially if one has a background in EE.

    To get a better idea of the opportunities, browse scientific journals for the latest research and developments in chemistry and materials.
  6. Oct 11, 2009 #5
    In my opinion, the minimum for a decent job is an MS. I have a BS and a decent job; but by the time you figure rent, car, utilities and food for 2 people, I am lucky to have a couple hundred dollars left at the end of the month. Buying a house that costs 200K or greater is out of my reach.

    My point is, you won't starve but you'll need to watch your budget with most of the entry level jobs. Once you get promoted a step or two it gets better. The killer thing though is that the engineers where I work start out at 15 to 20K more per year than I get and with an engineering degree you get project management experience which pays dividends down the road. There is a big difference in how you are treated IMO. It is a big gamble to stop with a BS and hope you'll come out okay. Chemistry courses aren't so bad but you'll need to work a bit when you take Physical Chemistry and any upper division labs. One or two credit hours for eight hours in a lab is a little rough.

    As far as what I am studying, probably Linear Algebra this spring, differential equations in the summer and some Physics in the fall. If I don't get promoted in the next month or two I'll stay at my job until my pension vests in January 2011 and then I am off to grad school or an engineering program (civil or bio and possibly chem, but I am not so sold on chem).
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009
  7. Oct 11, 2009 #6
    Awesome, why arent you sold on chem eng?
  8. Oct 11, 2009 #7
    There are sooo many more woman in chem than engineering.. its so refreshing having some eyecandy during labs..
  9. Oct 11, 2009 #8
    No big reason, the classes just don't spark my interest. If I quit my job it might as well be for something more interesting. ChemE is probably a good field though...
  10. Oct 11, 2009 #9
    Anything to break up the day huh.
  11. Oct 11, 2009 #10


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    Beware of finding a beginning level course interesting and doing well (high grade) in it. You neither get a very full sense of what working in the subject as a profession would be.

    Applied Chemistry as an undergraduate program is unusual. The usual program types are B.S., versus B.A., or Biochemistry instead of just "Chemistry". If this "Applied" option specifically gives you an internship or training for what you could do in employment, then it seems both new and extremely beneficial.

    Do not be so fooled to think that solutions to problems will always be so logical. This is just what you are finding in your current beginning level course. In later academic work, and in some situations outside of academic, problems can be messy, complicated.
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