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Engineering Physics or Mechanical Engineering?

  1. Dec 29, 2014 #1
    So I've been a part-time student for the last couple of years taking classes at a rather high-ranked public university that's well known for its engineering program. The problem is, my GPA is crap and so the only engineering program that will accept me is the engineering physics program. It's an interesting major but there's a few problems.

    1.) The EP program is not ABET accredited.

    2.) Do employers generally have any clue what engineering physics even is? I feel any job application from an EP major will just get thrown out immediately.

    I've also been considering just transferring to the local community college and finishing an Associate's in engineering science. I live in northeastern USA. Do I have a chance of finding a decent job with such a degree if I also have internship experience and computer programming skills?

    I'm also considering transferring to another state university that's not as high-ranked as my current school but it offers an ABET accredited mechanical engineering program. Would there be more jobs available for someone with an ABET accredited ME degree but from a lower-ranked university or for a non-accredited Engr. Phys. degree from a high-ranked public university?

    Now, if I were to transfer to another state university, I would use my community college transcript to apply. Do state universities in America require an applicant to submit all past educational records? The reason I ask is that I'm worried I won't get admitted with my transcript from my current school. I would transfer credit from my current university after getting admitted. Would this be a problem?

    Another question is regarding mechanical engineering. Is ME really as fun as it sounds? I have an interest in things like thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and kinematics but I'm worried that a lot of mechanical engineers get stuck doing some boring job drawing a metal part in AutoCAD. At my internship, it seemed like the mechanical engineers were usually writing manuals or drawing installation schematics. Do mechanical engineers ever get into control systems design? I'm talking things related to Routh-Hurwitz tables, Root Locus and Nyquist methods. Or is that more appropriate for an electrical engineer? I'm just asking because I took an introductory class on that and did really well. While I enjoyed it, I couldn't really understand why it was an electrical engineering course since we modeled both mechanical and electrical systems.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 30, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Honestly, the rank of your university means little to industry. It is important if you are going into academia, but in industry the most it will get you is a callback. I have had very mediocre hires from the top school in the field, and stellar hires from good schools.
  4. Dec 31, 2014 #3


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    Documents, manuals, and drawings are a big part of engineering. Somebody has to create them. Usually it has to be somebody who understands the engineering as well as being able to use AutoCAD or whatever. Not everybody can be the "idea guy" who gets paid to sit in a room and think. The way to avoid being a draftsperson is to develop skills at things you enjoy doing. Do you prefer analysis? Learn to do that. Do you prefer lab activities? Design of the part rather than creating the drawing? Pick the area you enjoy and become good at it.

    Also, engineering systems nearly always have interfaces with other systems. (Always? Well... Maybe always. Not much is "always" in the real world.) So if you are an electrical, you probably have to know something about the systems your electronics is controlling. That often means mechanical, or fluids, or chemistry, or even nuclear reactions. That will often tell you things like how quickly the electronics is required to respond, what equations you need to solve, etc. It will also tell you something about the physical conditions your components must survive, what room is available for them, probably the quality assurance you must satisfy, maybe the federal laws you must obey, and just bunches of other possible constraints on your work. Consider designing medical equipment, for example. Life critical electronics has to satisfy rather drastic safety requirements.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014
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