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Civil vs Mechanical

  1. Aug 12, 2012 #1
    So I'm interested in Environmental Engineering. I am a sophomore, and as of now, I'm interested in green buildings and possibly water resources. But really, I enjoy all things sustainability, and I would also go as far to say that I enjoy designing anything (whether its environmental-related or not). I have only taken Statics and Mechanics 1 so far, but I really enjoyed it, particularly our design projects.

    At my school, Civils can concentrate in environmental engineering, but a minor in environmental engineering is open to all majors.

    Right now I'm really undecided about whether I should do Civil with a concentration in Environmental, or Mechanical with a minor in Environmental Engineering. I know I like structures a lot now, which is Civil, but I haven't really had any experience in Mechanical stuff to know.

    I think if I do a Mechanical major with a Environmental minor, I'll be able to study a little of the structure/environmental stuff that I already like, plus learn some more about mechanics, energy, etc. I think it will make me more employable. However, I don't want employers/possible internships looking for structures/water to write me off, because that's what I'm most interested in. I don't want be "stuck" designing tools or car engines or something. I'm female, and I know that shouldn't be an issue, but I feel very intimidated by the thought of doing something like that, because I never grew up learning "shop" stuff, and I know senior males in that field will not take me seriously. I don't know anything about engines, cars, etc. I just don't want to put myself in that position.

    I'm also really worried about the job market, particularly the job market for Civils. I know its a lot better than the market for liberal arts majors anyway, but I'm still worried. I'm so in debt already and I just want to make the most of my years in school, I don't want to have any regrets. My school has co-op, and the list of employers to be at the co-op fair was just released. There are about 25...while most of them are hiring MechEs, very few are hiring CivEs...it just makes me worried.

    So here are my possible majors:

    Civil/Environmental Major
    Civil/Environmental Major with a Mechanical Minor
    Mechanical Major with an Environmental Minor

    Sorry if this jumped around, I just need advice.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2012 #2
    sounds like civil/environmental is the best option considering that is what you are most interested in. I read that civil engineers are expected to have a big employment increase within the next decade
  4. Aug 13, 2012 #3


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    That could be just a matter of a small sample and your local geography. I would be more worried if there are several CivE companies in your area who are NOT hiring, than a situation where many companies (not just the obvious "metal bashers") have some requirement for MechEs but zero requirement for CivEs.

    The important thing is the national (or even international) balance of supply and demand for CivEs, not the total number of CivEs compared with the number of MechEs.
  5. Aug 15, 2012 #4
    The old joke is:

    "Mechanical Engineers design weapons, Civil Engineers design targets."

    But seriously, many moons ago I was asking something similar and was advised to go ME because ME was the most broad engineering curriculum. From there, one could specialize into any technical/engineering field. My experience is that (mostly) holds true.
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