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Choosing Mechanical Engineering

  1. Nov 14, 2010 #1

    I am a senior in high school and I have been looking into the field of Mechanical Engineering.

    I am in a somewhat frustrating position because the program I was confident was right for me now seems somewhat lackluster.

    My interest lies in Mechanical Engineering because I am intrigued how things work, but the particular field that I wish to end up working in is rather... unique. I want to design weapons and body armor for the United States military. That may seem a ridiculous notion to some but I see it as a wonderful opportunity to help and 'thank' our soldiers for defending our freedom. (Please do not assume that I am so naïve as to have tunnel vision in this regard. I understand that I may not end up doing that particular job; it is just something that interests me. I also understand that my interests and opportunities may change in the future, but my heart is set into the field of engineering. I am confident that my love for it will not change.)

    The original program I was looking at was a 5-year program that coupled Physics with Engineering. The program is detailed here: http://www.phy.ilstu.edu/programs/engineering_physics/index.shtml [Broken]. However, after more consideration it seems less of an appealing option. It seems like a somewhat unstable program and I feel I may be better off going through a more structured one.

    As I said before, my wish it to major in Mechanical Engineering, but I am not entirely sure what I should select as my minor(s). The choice of minors also changes my view on the Engineering Physics program because of the school transfer.

    Should I decide to choose another school such as Northern Illinois (I assume that the reader has made the connection that I live in Illinois by this point), there would seem to be a few viable options for minors. Physics is an obvious one, and a minor in something along the line of Materials Science / Chemistry seems like a solid option as well.

    Although it may not tie directly into my selected major, I would like to take a foreign language, but depending on my course schedule / workload this may not be a realistic option. Depending on the school, program, and primary minor I choose, I may be able to double minor to include a foreign language. I do not plan on taking a foreign language as a primary minor. (By primary minor I mean as a single minor coupled with a major.)

    So, now that I have explained my situation, I am looking for feedback on my options and my views. I would love some advice about what type of minors might suit me best as a Mechanical Engineering major, and in particular, I would like feedback on the idea of taking a foreign language as a minor. Also, I would love to hear of some other types of jobs associated with Mechanical Engineering that you may think I would be interested in.

    Thanks a lot for reading and responding, and I look forward to reading the feedback!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 14, 2010 #2
    I don't see why you would want an engineering physics program if you want to go into mechanical engineering. You're much better off going into a school that has a proper mechanical engineering program.

    Also unless you have personal interest in a foreign language you're better off without a minor in one. A minor in another engineering concentration would be much more useful. Like material science or electrical instead of chemistry or maybe physics. (Although physics would be good.)
  4. Nov 14, 2010 #3
    Yeah, I'm leaning away from the Engineering Physics program, I'm not really sure why I thought it was such a great idea... I suppose I let the prospect of having two degrees lead me astray.

    Thanks a lot for the input. =D
  5. Nov 14, 2010 #4


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    I could be wrong, but it seems if you want to work for the military doing engineering, a foreign language wouldn't help you much. You'll be working almost certainly in the US, with Americans (for sensitive positions, citizenship is a requirement).

    The suggestions crazyisraelie made for a minor are good.
  6. Nov 14, 2010 #5
    Also why invest the time in two bachelors? When you can get a bachelors and a masters? That would look much better in terms of employment. Plus you could have a much greater chance of working for the government on weapons or weapons systems. I also wouldn't say that's a far-fetched dream, you just have to work for it. My biggest suggestion would be to get summer internships with the government or civilian contracting companies that deal directly with that.
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