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Does undergrad matter? Specific vs Engineering Science

  1. Jul 28, 2012 #1
    Short question:
    Does it matter if I do specific engineering or is engineering science just as good?

    Background info:
    I've taken two years of engineering science so far but they were all base level courses and haven't got too much into the real meat of engineering yet. I did just switch schools and starting Colorado State University this fall in mechanical engineering and met with my adviser yesterday to setup classes. I thought I would have greater flexibility to explore other topics while doing this but it just isn't the case. I also thought I'd like to dual major when it came to graduate level but I was told by the department head that it was impractical and unnecessary. Basically the end goal is to do development work in the clean energy field.

    Since I won't be trying for a dual major, I'm not real sure which direction to go and if it would be safe to just switch to their engineering science physics program. I'd still like to figure out which concentration I want to go with since all of the courses I've taken in each specific field haven't held my interest (chem 2, fluid dynamics, basic circuits) but I hear upper level courses become more exciting. I just don't want to end up shooting myself in the foot for down the road in both grad school (Masters only) and eventually finding a job.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 28, 2012 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Welcome to PF;
    The short answer is: of course it matters! Whether one is as good as the other or not pretty much depends on you.

    You want to do
    ... that's a big field. Engineering and pure science overlap a lot in there. Did you talk about this with your adviser?
  4. Jul 28, 2012 #3
    Yes, she wasn't very helpful. I'm not real sure if she was even older than me (26) and I think it was her second year working at the school. I'm not saying age matters that much but experience and having a varied background help a lot when it comes to being an adviser.

    I'm really not sure where in the field I'd like to work but right now I'm thinking something to do with engines (car, big truck, jet, doesn't matter) or fusion power (depending on if they get anywhere in the next five years). May also just go wherever the work takes me. Mostly I'd just like to be able to figure out which specific field to focus on as quickly as possible.

    I'm quite confident in myself (holding a 3.9 so far), more curious as to how much it will affect if I can finish my masters in a normal amount of time and if it will make it harder for me to get a job if they see "engineering science" vs something else as my first degree.
  5. Jul 28, 2012 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    Check to see if your college does research in the fields you are interested in.
    Fusion usually means physics rather than engineering. It's sexy but not likely for powering, say, an automobile. I did some work on proton exchange membrane cells as a physicist.

    General engineering tends to be more about project management - people who build things are mechanics ;) but that is something of an over-generalization. When I went to college the engineering school just offered a straight BE as a monoblock but these days they are more explicitly specialized out. The emphasis seems to be on where you want to do research ... and on you gpa you want to think in terms of grad school even if you never end up going (because maybe you have a start-up company instead right?) So I'd say look to see what research is being done.

    You've seen this:

    ... how does that compare with your impressions?

    Bottom line: don't agonize about it. There is a long way to go, and anything can happen. If you are enjoying the course every step of the way you'll end up doing something you love.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  6. Jul 29, 2012 #5
    I didn't expect them to do anything in fusion but I did confirm the rest. I also realize you wouldn't put a fusion reactor in a car (short of in Back to the Future...Mr. Fusion) but as electric cars become more prevalent, their power has to come from somewhere.

    I don't mean to be rude but I'm just not understanding where you're going with the thought train after that. The video doesn't seem relevant but if you're wondering if I'm going toward science or design, it would definitely be the science side. I don't have any desire to look specifically at the safety factors in a project, although I did think all engineers were supposed to keep these things in mind.

    I'm mainly wondering if it is alright to switch to the engineering science program from mechanical engineering in regards to avoiding extra time in school and sustaining future hire-ability.
  7. Jul 29, 2012 #6

    Simon Bridge

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    (Fusion reactor in a car) ... google for Ford Nucleon :-)

    (Sustaining future hireability...) ... realistically, that's anybodies guess. That's why the best advice you will get is to follow what you enjoy. Presumably the department has a prospectus?
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