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Engineering with math major

  1. Sep 14, 2014 #1
    I am majoring in applied math and considering a minor in physics. Would it be reasonably possible for me to get a job in engineering (electrical or mechanical) with only that background?
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  3. Sep 14, 2014 #2

    Doug Huffman

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    Absolutely. The question would be, at what level of engineering, what rate of advancement and what ultimate level of employ.
  4. Sep 14, 2014 #3


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    If you want to be an engineer, either electrical or mechanical, get an engineering degree. That way, companies looking to hire to fill an EE or ME position at least know what your educational background is and they don't have to roll the dice on whether you can be trained to fill the job.

    IMO, applied math and physics only give you some of the knowledge and skill required to be an engineer. If you are applying to a company to be a ME, for example, and you don't know anything about thermodynamics or stress analysis or machine design, the HR people are going to move on to someone else, because you will be competing against other candidates for the position who have the engineering degree and know at least the basics of what is required of an ME.
  5. Sep 14, 2014 #4
    You mean a master's degree or another bachelor's degree in engineering?
  6. Sep 14, 2014 #5
    Either will work. Remember, you're dealing with a bureaucracy that doesn't give people much latitude to think. They want to see education that says Engineering on it, not math, not physics, Engineering.

    Depending on the kind of engineering you seek, you might consider taking the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. With a passing grade on the exam, you can put "Engineer-In-Training" on your resume or CV. that may convince an HR troll that you have what it takes for them to forward your resume to the actual person doing the hiring, and it may short-cut the process of getting a formal engineering education.

    Do note that engineering is more than the sum of applied math and physics. Engineers learn many methods and approximations that are not taught to physics students, particularly in the area of thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and circuits. Do not expect to pass the FE without significant prior study.
  7. Sep 14, 2014 #6
    Yep, but I don't think anyone with a physics or applied math background is gonna find learning those engineering methods very difficult. Also, doesn't FE, PE require that you have a B.S in engineering degree?
    Also, I wanted to ask; If one has a B.Sc in engineering from a non US university can they still be eligible to take the FE or PE exams?
  8. Sep 14, 2014 #7
    I didn't say it would be difficult. However, you shouldn't expect to open up the exam book and figure these things out on the day of the exam.

    This varies state by state. See http://www.engineerintrainingexam.com/state-by-state-requirements/
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