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Engineer - Partial Differential Equations

  1. Aug 23, 2005 #1
    Hi, my engineering degree does not require a partial differential course. However, one of my calculus professors suggested it may be important when applying for a masters. I was thinking of taking this course and maybe special functions.... would it really be useful? It would be a lot of work to squeeze this in so I need some good advice before deciding this. Thanks for any input.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2005 #2


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    What kind of engineering are you doing?

    I always feel that the more math you know, the better off you'll be.
    Such a course may be the thing that distinguishes your application from the rest that merely did what they were required to do.

    This might be enlightening to you:
  4. Aug 23, 2005 #3
    Mechanical Engineering with an Automotive Option, however I am leaning towards a Materials Option instead.

    BTW I have taken a numerical analysis course in which we started some very basic FEA methods. I found it interesting... I know special functions touches this subject somewhat. Is there any courses which can advance FEA knowledge further?
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2005
  5. Aug 23, 2005 #4
    well, I dont see how you could handle fluid dynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer without partial differentials. I would stongly suggest you take the course.


  6. Aug 23, 2005 #5


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    On behalf of the PF Eng. gurĂº award received, I cannot admit as an engineer as one who have not passed through the PDE torture. If you are not requested to take one PDE course, then you won't learn too many important things. An engineer without having taken a PDE course is like a soldier who didn't fight in the field of battle, those who remain in the office sat.

    I strongly recommend the book of Haberman about this stuff.
  7. Aug 23, 2005 #6
    I think the required math for an engineering degree is enough. :P I need calc 1, calc 2, calc 3, diffEQ, prob/stats, and avd. eng. math. I may take linear algebra just for the hell of it, but no more!
  8. Aug 23, 2005 #7
    Actually I have taken one fluid dynamics course already, don't remember much PDE, only regular DE. Maybe that is left for the second part of the course. Basically my University doesn't think I need it, that's why I don't have the course, but like you guys I am thinking it is important. Maybe I will see what I can do about picking it up. What about special functions? John.
  9. Aug 23, 2005 #8
    As an engineering student, I think there are more important classes you could take other than PDE. Talk to an engineering advisor.
  10. Aug 24, 2005 #9


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    If you can see yourself getting involved in any of the "complex" engineering fields (anything that has to rely on math) you're going to take PDEs in one form or another, would suggest you start early. I don't know what your 'material option' contains (?), but in many instances it doesn't alleviate the 'requirements'.
  11. Aug 24, 2005 #10
    Hi Jubs,
    I'm a Mechanical Engineer, too, so I hope my experience can help. I've found that not all engineers really use or need PDEs. It mostly depends on whether they design physical systems. In our field, a good understanding of PDEs and associated numerical methods (FD, FEA, BE) is definitely required if you are going to work in fluid dynamics (e.g., engine design) or complex structures (e.g., crash simulation). On the other hand, if you are going to work in areas like logistics or management, you are better off with a good course on optimization.
    Even better if you can have both...
  12. Aug 25, 2005 #11
    OK thanks, I am going to try and take this course. I am really interested in the mathematical demanding aspect of engineering. I just need to figure out how to squeeze it in. That's the problem with engineering. Thanks all for the input.
  13. Aug 25, 2005 #12
    I don't know if this helps, but all my friends who are ME's are required to take PDE's. So it may be a good idea. However, I'm an EE and I'm not required to take the class. So it definitely depends on what your major and focus is.

    Good luck.
  14. Aug 25, 2005 #13
    You're the first person I know who knows MEs that are REQUIRED to take PDE. What school? Seems like there would be more useful classes to take in an ME curriculum than PDE. Any PDE that you need could be picked up along the way, I would imagine.
  15. Aug 26, 2005 #14
    I'm a mechanical engineering student, and I am required to learn PDE as well.
  16. Aug 26, 2005 #15


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    I am the second one. PDE is a mandatory course for ME, EEE and AE in my college.
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