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Programs Conflicted ME student

  1. Jun 19, 2016 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I am a masters student 1/3 of the way through the mechanical engineering program at my school. At some point I have come to the realization that I am really not that mechanically inclined. It seems I have natural tendency towards circuit design and electronics.

    I really enjoy doing circuit analysis, building, and testing devices and for some reason I come alive when I'm doing it. It seems a little too late for me to switch over at this point as I do not have enough of a background to jump into a graduate EE or ECE program and financially it would be impractical at this time as I am already barrowing money and can't afford to take on extra coursework needed to complete such a degree. As a result I have decided to stick it out, but I find I am having to force myself to stay interested at times.

    Sometimes I feel a bit concerned that will not have enough intrinsic to keep me going in this field after graduation. I don't know why I can't seem get the same level of wonder and excitment out of mechanical subjects and projects that I get from electronics. There's a concern that this may hold me back from being an exceptional engineer. Any words of advice for someone in my situation?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2016 #2
    *intrinsic motivation*
  4. Jun 19, 2016 #3
    Could you possibly specialize in some field with elements of both? For instance, robotics or control systems.
  5. Jun 19, 2016 #4
    Unfortunately I cannot change my concentration within the program without a substantial extending my time to graduation. However, I can do have some freedom with elective courses so I can take ones rekated to control systems or robotics.
  6. Jun 20, 2016 #5
    You can definitely move from an ME bachelors to an EE/ECE masters; all you would need is to take some catchup courses in electronics and the like. You don't need to have done a full undergrad degree in the subject if you already have a degree in a similar enough technical discipline.
  7. Jun 21, 2016 #6
    Hi Clope023. Thank you for taking the time to help me out. One thing I should have mentioned in the original post is that my undergraduate degree was in analytical chemistry. Not having an undergraduate degree in engineering may make the transition into an EE/ECE masters program rather steep at this point since many of the prerequisite courses I would need to take have required labs. This would require a major time and financial commitment which I am not sure if I can afford (borrowing money for school) at this point. I was able to pick up on a lot of meche topics by sitting in on undergraduate courses including statics, mechanics of materials, thermo, fluid mechanics, etc. , but participating in a labs for them was not necessary. I was able to participate in these classes (hw's, quizes, tests, projects) for free, but without any grade which will show on my transcript. They were taken to prepare me for more advanced grad level courses.

    To give you a better picture of my background, I have much experience working with biosensors and analytical instrumentation from my previous positions as an analytical chemist. This is part of the reason why I naturally feel at home with circuits, sensors, electronics, etc. Also I seem to gravitate towards projects involving electronics in my spare time. I took a course last semester where I got to learn how to use some schematic capture software called LTSpice and also do some DSP. It's been my favorite engineering class so far.

    Originally I had chosen mechanical engineering for my masters as I have an interest in developing medical devices. As it turns out though, the bioinstrumentation/bioelectronics area seems to make the most sense to me. Some of my peers have suggested that I should get into the mechatronics/control realm of meche based on my interests. This seems like a viable route given my current position. Would it be possible to me to specialize in mechatronics for now, graduate, and eventually work my way over to the more ECE type of roles once I get into industry (through courses, projects, work experiences, etc.)? There must be some hybrid type jobs which would aid me in bridging this transition.
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