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Choice of Major

  1. Jan 13, 2005 #1
    I am enrolled in the University of Florida and I am currently on the fence about what to study. I'm positive I want to study engineering, but I cannot decide between chemical engineering and materials engineering. The Chemical Engineering program here is I believe good but I don't think it is exceptional. The Materials program is 9th in the country. I find both subjects interesting and am considering designing a dual degree program so I can get a BS in both. However, I am concerned as to whether this is feasible (not much curriculum overlap) or practical (after all if I have both degrees how much more attractive am I to prospective employers/graduate schools as there are only so many hours in the day and I cannot do the work of a both Chemical and Materials Engineer all by myself on one project). In any event my choices are as follows:

    Chemical Engineering with Materials Minor
    Materials with Sales Engineering and Chemistry minor (there is no ChemE minor)
    Dual MSE ChemE degree (might not be doable unless they allow me to double count some classes).

    Any insights from engineers (or anyone lol) would be much appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2005 #2


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    ask yourself.. WHAT DO YOU WANT?

    dont go into it for a cool name or a promised salary. dont go into it for some girl or some boy. dont go into it because you think its gonna give you a stable job.

    go into a field if you enjoy working in that field. if you like what everyday job description sounds like and can imagine yourself doing it. if you wanted to learn about something very specific and be the best at it - what would it be? what field has it? go to grad school in that field. if you are unsure which field it is you like or simply havent even tried out - go find out which books are used for which junior and senior classes of any particular major, then go to amazon.com and read those books or at least browse through title and google on them.

    chemical engineering is not for someone who is bad in math or doesnt like chemistry. you WILL SUFFER. you will SCREAM AND KICK AND IT WILL NEVER STOP!!
  4. Jan 13, 2005 #3
    I like chemistry a great deal and I'm very good at math but anyways lol I like both fields a great deal. My main problem is that doing a double major would require a tremendous amount of work and I want to know if there is going to be a proportionate payoff in that I will be that much more qualified or able as an engineer. Otherwise I'd rather pick one major and do a minor that focuses on the other field.
  5. Jan 14, 2005 #4
    I think you'd better choose either one but not both. If you choose double major, on one hand your workload will be exceptionally heavy since you're not good at math. Also you sacrifice the in-depth knowledge of each subject. Consequently "double major" becomes "double minor"

    That what I got from my teacher when I asked him about double major. I hope it can help you a bit
  6. Jan 14, 2005 #5
    "Consequently "double major" becomes "double minor""

    I think Chem E and Materials Science are very closely related, so a double major would not lose focus much from the curriculum (I would think!) I applied doubling Chem E/ Materials Sci at Berkeley, It is a little extra work, but it would give me more exposure and maybe more choices when I leave. Of course, I applied to just Chem E at a lot of schools and i'm sure that my education would not suffer for it either way. Especially if I go to grad school, which I am supposing I will want to do.

    Also, the original poster said he was good at math, not bad at math. I am not math wiz myself, but I don't think someone who is bad at math would make it terribly far in engineering.

    Just a thought.
  7. Jan 14, 2005 #6


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    they are not even closely related

    materials science = quantum mechanics
    chemical eng = fluid/gas dynamics
  8. Jan 14, 2005 #7
    "they are not even closely related

    materials science = quantum mechanics
    chemical eng = fluid/gas dynamics"

    Oooh, I was under the impression they were close. It is hard to decide at this point what to get into. I like Chem, and I am not bad at math. I definitely want to work with Chemistry, but I don't know much about quantum mechanics or fluid/gas dynamics to be honest. So, how does one choose? :(

  9. Jan 14, 2005 #8
    They are somewhat related in that materials engineers you chemical engineering processes and chemical engineers need to understand the materials that they use but yea other than that it isn't like the relationship between say horticulture and botany.
  10. Jan 14, 2005 #9


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    amb thats what im trying to tell you

    you dont fully understand what either of these people do

    find out which books the juniors and seniors will use and just browse through them - see if anything looks 'interesting' - at all
  11. Jan 15, 2005 #10
  12. Jan 15, 2005 #11


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    its a joke that means that if you take a huge coursework load that eventually you dont get anything in the end. its true too

    and its not dual major - its called dual degree (where you get 2 bachelor diplomas for each major) contrary to double major (where you get one bachelors of science in 'physics and math' for example)
  13. Jan 17, 2005 #12
    Personally, if I were in your shoes I would go with Chemical Engineering. It is the highest paid field for the undergraduate level and can work in many different areas.

    Also remember with double majors.... who is going to want to pay you, an unexperianced ungrad, for two majors? Companies will be reluctant to higher because of that reason and if you do get higher, it will be for the same amount as if you only had one fo the degrees.

    Get your undergrad in one and then go into a masters program for the other if you want both. Sure, it will take a little longer on the masters... but it will be a better alternative to a double undergrad.
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