1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Engineering Major Help Please

  1. Sep 30, 2015 #1
    Hi everyone, I am currently a first year undergraduate student. I have recently decided to follow my passion which is Space Exploration so I've decided to get a Mech. Engineering degree (my school doesn't have Aerospace) I am an Undeclared major at the moment and hope to apply to the School of Engineering next fall. The only problem is math is not my best subject I'm not a genius when it come to it but I am willing to work my ass off to get to where I need to be. Would it even be possible for me to get in if I'm not all that good at math? And btw I plan to get my masters in Aerospace or Astronautical Engineering.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 30, 2015 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    An engineering major is difficult to tackle if math is not your best subject. The coursework in any engineering major, particularly the basic undergrad curriculum, is chock full of math courses and courses whose successful completion depend on the student's having a good knowledge of math.

    If your math skills across the board are lacking, it's hard to advise you. My best advice is start with the basics, arithmetic and algebra, work until you understand those, then move up the math ladder into more advanced topics.

    If there are only one or two things you are having difficulty with, then extra study can help.
  4. Sep 30, 2015 #3
    My math skills are just average, nothing spectacular. I know that I want to help build/design anything and everything that goes into space and I'm willing to work for it even if it takes me 5 years to get my degree. I want this, I've never taken Calc so I'm not sure how Id do, I took Trig my senior year and got a B if that gives you an idea of how my math skills are. Should I pursue it if I've never had a chance to take any upper level math like Calc?
  5. Sep 30, 2015 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    If you got a B in trig, that's not too shabby.

    The engineering undergrad curriculum will take a HS graduate who has studied only algebra and trig and teach him the necessary calculus and other higher level math in order to complete an engineering degree.

    If you have the opportunity to take calculus in HS, I would recommend that you do so, if for no other reason but to expose yourself to high level math before you get to college.
  6. Sep 30, 2015 #5


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    It's still impossible to judge how you will do. What we can tell you, however, is that you need a strong foundation in math before beginning calculus. The calculus is typically easy in a computational setting, you'll learn about new operators. With that said, math is cumulative, so it's typically the algebra and trig skills that get most people-you can't apply the calculus without first properly setting up the problem.

    So take SteamKing's advice and brush up on your algebra and trigonometry.
  7. Sep 30, 2015 #6
    I would say go for it, and keep true to yourself that you want to get a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

    Math, for the most of us, is an acquired skill. It doesn't matter if it's Statistics, Linear Algebra, Calculus or Trigonometry, I can tell you that most of us only got good by practicing and spending time on problem sets. That's the key... and I would say it's the same as well for most freshman- and sophomore-level engineering courses.

    I was the same in college, and, I spent many hours getting help from tutors so that I can grasp concepts and solutions to problems (quizzes, tests, homework). I later became a tutor myself and have since earned my Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering and about a few years ago my Professional License.

    One final word of advice, most bachelor's program is designed to "weed out" non-engineers in the first year or two, and I only say this since I went to a State school. You may learn something similar at your college.

    Best of luck!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook