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Engineer wannabe - Advice Requested

  1. Mar 19, 2013 #1
    Engineer wannabe -- Advice Requested

    I was wondering what would be a good set of classes to take to get started with a potential engineering degree. I already have a BA in English so I had limited math and science requirements. I was thinking Calc 1 and physics would be a good place to start. I want to do well in a few engineering related classes before I apply somewhere so they know I'm serious. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2013 #2


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    One needs calculus and some physics courses, although I recommend as many physics courses as possible. What flavor of engineering, e.g., civil/structural, mechanical, electrical, computer, chemical, aerospace/aeronautical, nuclear, petroleum, marine, . . . . That will determine the type of core engineering courses one would take.
  4. Mar 19, 2013 #3
    I was interested in Geotechnical engineering which is classified as civil, or at least related to it. Thank you for the response and help.

  5. Mar 19, 2013 #4
    If you're in the USA, my advice would be to go to a junior college and take all the math they have (Calc, Linear Algebra, Diff EQ) and Statics and Dynamics.
  6. Mar 19, 2013 #5
    That's where I was planning on initially, but I don't know if they have any math or than Calc I and II. There are other schools around that I could check out though. Thanks for the help.

  7. Mar 19, 2013 #6
    You have to have Linear Algebra and Diff EQ. You can't take many engineering classes without them. Good luck.
  8. Mar 19, 2013 #7


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    OK. Indeed, it is related to civil engineering since it forms the base on which all buildings and infrastructure are constructed. It's probably closely related to mining engineering.

    One might be interested then in the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering
    http://www.issmge.org/en/committees/technical-committees-2010-2013 [Broken]

    as well as www.asce.org

    Also, check out various university programs:
    https://www.civil.tamu.edu/areas/geotechnical/index.html [Broken]

    In most schools, it appears that Geotechnical Engineering is only offered in the Graduate school, and therefore one would expect that they assume a degree in Civil Engineering through which one would receive the requisiste math and science background.


    Having a BA in English would satisfy all the humanities requirements of an undergraduate program.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  9. Mar 20, 2013 #8
    They do have those classes. I took a look and they have a lot more math than I ever realized. But their physics options aren't that strong. There's only 2 and the first one is non-calc.

    Thanks for those links. They're very helpful. Thank you to both

  10. Mar 20, 2013 #9
    The best way to become an engineer is do an engineering degree, not a series of classes vaguely related to engineering.

    Talk to your local engineering faculty about what classes you need to do before being admitted.
  11. Mar 20, 2013 #10
    Re: Engineer wanna be -- Advice Requested

    I believe they are telling the OP to go to a cc and then transfer to a university and get a bachelors in engineering. Or I could be wrong.
  12. Mar 20, 2013 #11
    You aren't wrong. The OP was very clear that that was his plan: "I want to do well in a few engineering related classes before I apply somewhere so they know I'm serious."
  13. Mar 21, 2013 #12
    Yes I was wondering some classes to take before applying because I have an English degree with very limited science and math. I didn't want to just apply with my English courses and nothing too related to engineering.
  14. Mar 21, 2013 #13
    Engineer wannabe -- Advice Requested

    Actually depending on your CC they should offer basic engineering courses too, I'd take the curriculum from the university you plan on attending and see if the courses transfer and then knock out at least one or two of those basic courses. I'm not sure if your specific field requires courses like statics and strength of materials, it should if its under civil engineering but courses like those are offered at community colleges in my area. Of course you need calculus 1-3, differential equations and maybe linear algebra. Physics 1 and 2 are good courses to transfer in as well. I didn't see it mentioned here but chemistry 1-2 is required for engineers as well as a programming language. All of these courses can be found at community colleges, at least here in South Carolina they can
  15. Mar 22, 2013 #14
    It does have engineering specific classes, but I'd have to check to see if they were transferable before I took them. But thanks for the advice.

  16. Mar 22, 2013 #15
    Engineer wannabe -- Advice Requested

    I think even if it doesn't transfer it's still good because you get a taste of engineering and doing well would show you're serious
  17. Mar 22, 2013 #16


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    gOne would need the math and the science (physics/chemistry) background, which usually takes 4 years.

    The first year would be introductory math (either pre-calculus or introductory calculus depending on one's background), and then math up through partial differential equations through the second or third year.

    Meanwhile, in an engineering program, one would take an introductory course in the field of interest in order to familiarize oneself with the field (including history), the verncular, and the research and development.

    In the second year, one begins the formal engineering program, and with each successive year, one takes specialized topical courses in the particular engineering discipline related to one's interest. The goal is to achieve a certain level of proficiency that prepares one for an entry level position as an engineer or entry into graduate school.

    The MS program has one do guided research, that is research under the guidance of a faculty member, whereas a PhD has one doing original research that contributes to the field or advances the state-of-the-art.
  18. Mar 29, 2013 #17
    Hey Marc,

    I'm actually in the exact situation---BA in English, and going after an Engineering degree. I did exactly what everyone has been suggesting--I have taken Calc 1-3, physics 1&2, Chem 1&2, etc. I just wanted to caution you to heed some of the advice here and look into taking "intro to engineering' and some of the initial engineering courses. I have not taken those yet, and it makes transfering a bit tricky, as I have most of the courses for first and second year completed, but not the basic intro classes. So it's hard for them to know where to put me.

    Good luck! So far engineering has been a lot of fun, and the BA in English still helps me a lot with projects and labs.
  19. Mar 30, 2013 #18
    Thanks for the help. I'm definitely more inclined to take an intro course before I transfer now (as someone else also suggested). But it's nice to hear from someone that's taken the same route as I am attempting to.

  20. Mar 30, 2013 #19
    No problem. This website will become your best friend during Physics 1&2.
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