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Engineering EE or ME? Which will match my personality more?

  1. Aug 29, 2016 #1
    Hi, guys. I'm in a dilemma of choosing either EE or ME. I've read numerous web pages on this issue and now I think I'm more passionate about EE and I'm more curious about it. I like ME only for more hands-on projects and more art related things such as design which I'm not bad in it. I'm very detail oriented and precise. I don't find material sciences and Newtonian Physics as exciting as electronics.
    How can I make my decision stronger? Are there any tests to find out which I'll enjoy more?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2016 #2


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    This question seems to appear very often. As a non-engineer with an interest in engineering I often wonder whether the distinction between EE and ME is always that sharp. If you tend towards EE but you also like ME, I think there are many possibilities to specialize in, for example, control engineering in the course of your studies.
  4. Aug 29, 2016 #3


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    Welcome to the PF.

    What country are you in? How close are you to going to university?

    At least in the US at 4-year colleges, you don't usually need to declare your specialization in Engineering until your 3rd year. The first 2 years are very similar for all Engineering specialties. That gives you time to take classes in both the EE and ME areas, to see which you end up liking more.

    When I first started undergrad, I was planning on an EE/ME double major. But I quickly found that I really enjoyed programming and circuit design, and decided just to focus on EE. It was nice to be able to take a year or two of classes to find out which you really end up liking more, before having to formally declare. :smile:
  5. Aug 29, 2016 #4
    Thank you, berkeman.
    I'm in Iran and I'm going to university in October.
    Unfortunately, I don't have the options available in the US and I have to make my decision now for the last time.
    For summing up:
    EE pros:
    • I love electronics and the logic behind them
    • I'm more curious about EE than ME. I had loved to open an electric device just to see it's electronic circuitry and components.
    • I think EE is a more "modern" field!
    EE cons:
    ◘ Heavy math and abstracts - A hard degree
    ◘ The fact that it's courses are not practical, like said here: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/mechanical-or-electrical-engineering.519835/#post-3441185

    ME pros:
    • I'm into arts and I like to design cars, devices, and machines.
    • Easier than EE
    • Maybe more jobs
    ME cons:
    ◘ I don't like most of its courses and they seem to be boring and useless! at least by their titles.
    ◘ ME projects are more physical related than logical.
  6. Aug 29, 2016 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    I disagree with that post. My EE courses were quite practical, and if you also build some projects on your own time, that will help you to understand the more practical parts of circuit design. Building your own kits and projects helps you to "ask better questions" while doing your schoolwork. Also, that post was from 2011, and in recent years there have been a lot more labs added working with microcontrollers like the Arduino to build fun and useful projects. Enjoy your time in EE and in your career. :smile:
  7. Aug 29, 2016 #6


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    It seems to me that you have already more or less made your choice. I think you should just follow your instincts and not fear the 'heavy and abstract math". It is still engineering, after all, so there will always be a rather direct connection to a practical application. This is actually what makes the appearance of (sometimes rather advanced) mathematics in engineering quite attractive.
  8. Aug 29, 2016 #7


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    Your reasons for choosing ME over EE are non-reasons. First, EE courses are not all that impractical as you assume. Second, you won't be jobless with an EE degree. Third, you'll be disappointed how much design you'll do in an ME degree. And fourth, a hard degree with heavy math, well yeah that's true, but it being hard shouldn't be a reason not to do something you love.
  9. Aug 29, 2016 #8


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    I agree 100% with this.....

    I would like to add something about the math. If you are not a math person, or you do not feel you can handle the harder stuff I recommend you still pursue it. You can take electives leaning to the parts of EE that are not as math heavy.

    Just because you like designing the artistic side of things does not mean you will enjoy mechanical engineering.
  10. Aug 29, 2016 #9
    I'm an undergrad student of Mechanical Engineering, so maybe my opinion on this can be useful.
    Like others said, the first two years of all engineerings tend to be very similar (Calculus, Physics, Differential Equations...). It's very math heavy, but that shouldn't be a obstacle to you. I wasn't the brightest math student during high school and managed to do it (and ended up really liking the subject). It really boils down to committing yourself to studying.

    As a MechE, you will study things like Mechanics of Materials, Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer, Structural Analysis, Fluid Dynamics, Machine Design... It's a huge field, and you could end up working across multiple industries like aerospace, petrochemical, automobiles... And also across multiple areas of expertise. In aerospace, for instance: there are mechanical engineers working with structural analysis (calculating stresses in the aircraft structure), others designing turbofans and turbojets while applying concepts from fluid dynamics, thermodynamics and heat transfer, while others would work with aerodynamics.

    You will learn computational methods like Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), and there's a overlap between fields here because mechanical engineers working with computational methods need to have good programming skills (Matlab and Python).

    As for EE, it's also a great field to be in. Where I study, at least, EE's tend to have more practical hands-on experience than mechanical engineers (more labs). I'm an electronics hobbyist, and I had good experiences using an Arduino and developing some small projects on it (and I highly recommend it if you want some hands-on experience). If you want something in-between mechanical and electrical, control and automation is a good choice, also.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2016
  11. Aug 30, 2016 #10
    Thank you all guys. Your replies were great and helpful and I made my decision studying EE.
    I'm glad I found this great forum! :smile:
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