1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Civil vs Mechanical vs Computing

  1. Feb 14, 2015 #1
    There are probably numerous threads like this, I have read them all but I'm still undecided. I am a high school senior and applying to UK universities - I have applied to more than one subject (three, actually: civil, mechanical engineering and computing, all from Imperial College) and received offers.

    Now this is the problem. I am not sure what I would excel in - I am pretty good in both physics and maths - just consider my ability to excel in both or any one of them not a problem. I would have liked all disciplines and would probably thrive/be happy as any of the above engineer, but well, I only live once and I do not want to make the second-best decision.

    Concerning the actual chance with working on cutting edge stuff (or more like solutions that haven't been thought of before) - which one - mechanical engineering, civil engineering or computing (that's what Imperial call it) has a higher chance to work on those stuff?
    I want to work on something cutting edge and new - maybe develop a new gadget (something like Apple's stuff is nice), a new way to have more efficient cars, or flying cars who know - something like that. This is perhaps the most important thing: I want my major to be able to work on something new.

    I think it's worth to mention that I like physics, and want to work with it. I am kind of thrilled to work with big structures - I am not sure if that's a thing to take note of (structure labs, mechanical factories - just plain interesting) - so maybe mechanical and civil would suit me for this; but I also want to work on some gadgets (and for this, it will be computing) or maybe just some transport - new cars, maybe (that'd be mechanical, I suppose)? I may also note that I like space technology (used to want to work for something like NASA) but I kind of also like more pure physics/maths (operational research/physics?). I like robotics, too. I want to work in a big company like Ford (for mechanical engineering), Shell or bp (for civil engineering) or Google (for computing) - and for all these 3 companies Imperial graduates are able to enter them for their respective fields, so I suppose that is not a concern.

    My best area in physics is mechanics (as of motion and force), favorite is mechanics and atomic physics, and my most hated physics related discipline is optics and maybe gases. It is noted, however, that I can do well even in disciplines I hate :P
    My best/favorite area in advanced maths is matrices and mathematical induction, and I do not particularly like vectors, differentiation, integration, and I resent binomial theorem and maybe trigonometry.

    I once interned in a company that specializes in internal system design (connecting all electrical stuff) - I looked at one of their mechanical engineering booklet - not particularly liking the thing or the system connections. (I liked mechanics, however, or so I believe). I'm not sure after this.

    I need to make my decision soon (I'm writing a scholarship thing and I need to prioritize my choice for the above majors), so any help will be appreciated, thanks!

    EDIT: oh, if possible, I'd like you to give me a priority of what sound like a greater fit (I really cannot decide) like mech>computing>civil or computing>mech>civil or sth like that
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 15, 2015 #2
    Are you planning to stay in the UK after graduation?
  4. Feb 15, 2015 #3
    If you go for mechanical engineering sooner or later you'll get covered in dirty oil.
    If you go for civil engineering you'll be out in all weathers, but only remember the cold wet windy ones.
    Computing takes place in climate controlled buildings, not for you but for the equipment.
  5. Feb 19, 2015 #4


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Jobrag told you pretty much how it is.. I suspect you might do best as an ME, but only speculation on my part. There are aptitude exams 2-4 hours that reveal your personality and then you compare to the professionals that share the same traits as you. I forget what the test is called (pysch test, not a pass/fail, just reveals you personality type).

    If you like problem solving and working at a desk and keyboarding/coding, a comp-sci degree is fine. But you won't leave the office (unless you are a pretty boy and present well, then you will glad handle prospective clients,,,, maybe.) Unless of course you go into industrial computing, but this is often crowded with ME's (Comp-Sci s could do well here, but don't even know this market exists and don't often have the instrumentation background for it).

    Civil / Structural: you get to analyze structures, bridges or roads. Often you get to only specialize in one. Once you select, you are pigeon holed in that area for the rest of your career.

    I feel an ME degree is one of the more versatile degrees to have.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook