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Engineering Help engineering career choice

  1. Apr 28, 2007 #1
    Well I like the maths and physics a lot so im going to study an engineering, at this moment im considering 3: aerospace engineering, civil engineering or mechanical engineering. I like the three, thats why i need your help to make a better choice. the diferences, etc.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2007 #2
    Since all of those disciplines require math and physics, you should narrow it down to which you like the most in terms of their topics. Aerospace is completely different from civil, and while mechanical and aerospace are similar, it helps to know, what exactly, each discipline covers.

    I recommend: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_basic_engineering_topics
  4. Apr 29, 2007 #3
    If you really want to work in the aerospace industry I suggest you major in mechanical engineering. The two degrees are very similar but with a mechanical engineering degree you have more options in terms of potential employers.
  5. Jul 2, 2007 #4
    What would an aerospace engineer do in the aerospace industry? What would a mechanical engineer do in the aerospace industry? thxs
  6. Jul 3, 2007 #5
    A lot of undergrads, in particular freshman are not aware, that you can pretty much get into any engineering/science related field, if you have a strong curriculum in mathematics and physics. If you go and talk to employers, certainly some will be predisposed to hiring mechanical or aerospace engineers, but you will probably also find that many people working in aerospace are math majors, electrical engineers, or physicists.

    The fact of the matter, is that a degree in aerospace is not a guarantee that you'll work for an aerospace company. A degree in mechanical does not mean that you can't work for an aerospace company. Most companies are looking for bright people who are dedicated and motivated. Get some work experience, when you are starting out your career early, and you can almost certainly get into whatever field you want (provided your major is at least somewhat related).

    Picking your major != deciding the rest of your life. You can always get an advanced degree in another subject, as long as you are strong in math and physics. I would almost universally recommend math or physics as an undergrad degree, because they are so broad.

    However, my largest piece of advice. Find something that you have a passion for, and find a way to do it. It makes life, much, much easier.
  7. Jul 12, 2007 #6
    If it's broad i'd be worried that i won't choose anything because of "wanting to keep my options open." :P i am indecisive in that way

    That sounds like a good idea, i still am not sure what ;) but i still have some time to think :)

    Thanks for all the advice ^_^
  8. Jul 12, 2007 #7


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    Aerospace engineering is really an specialized form of mechcanical engineering, i.e. mechanical engineering applied to aircraft and spacecraft - and their infrastructure.

    Mech and Aero engineers can specialize in structures, power plants (e.g. power generation or aircraft engines), control systems, communications, etc. In addition, I strongly recommend mechanical and aerospace engineers take courses in materials science and engineering, since systems are built from materials, and knowledge of materials behavior is a critical part of design and analysis.

    Gas turbine plants, many of which have been built in the last 10 years, were based on jet engine technology, and are so-called aero-derivative turbines.
  9. Jul 14, 2007 #8
    I just finished O levels and will start my A levels. I like physics and math alot and am good at it too. I really really really want to get into aerospace engineering. What do i do after A levels? im from Pakistan and plan to go to Toronto(thats where alot of my family is), so a natural choice would be UoT. Am i on the right path?? advice please
  10. Jul 25, 2007 #9
    Mechanical engineering is the broadest field of engineering, it covers all disciplines. The divergence from other fields occurs from the knowledge you will gain about fluid dynamics and heat transfer. Aerospace engineers will go heavy on the fluids, but often light on the mechanics. You shouldn't be thinking too much about what subfield you will specialize in this early, but if you have a career goal in mind (i.e. I want to build engines, I want to build planes, I want to design buildings) it can drastically alter which engineering field will be more advantageous.
  11. Jul 26, 2007 #10
    Thanks for the response! SRode! I do have a career goal. I want to make planes. What subjects should i chose for A levels??
  12. Jul 26, 2007 #11


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    ime, Aero courses are harder to get on and contain better candidates than Mech Eng. In this way, the Aero students usually obtain the higher marks during the first few years when a lot of the modules making up the different engineering degrees are taught together.

    I'd go for Aero, tho' I'd go for either of these over Civil; particularly if you like Maths (and Physics).
  13. Jul 26, 2007 #12


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    Maths, Further maths and Physics.

    It used to be that they told you not to specilise too early -- ie. maye throw in Chemistry or Biology -- but I think this not the case. Most students in science or engineering degrees would have done some Further Maths A-level modules.
  14. Jul 26, 2007 #13
    So math, further math, physics and chemistry is fine? i don't need computer studies do i??

    Ok and i have no clue what i do after A levels..is it called bachelors, masters etc??:uhh:
  15. Jul 26, 2007 #14
    Im not familiar with A-levels or O-levels, I think its part of the IB secondary school programs, but I wasn't sure. Admission to engineering colleges typically want you to have taken chemistry, physics, and mathematics in high school. Now there is a big difference between what courses you'll need to GET INTO the school, and what you will NEED FOR YOUR MAJOR.

    Your best bet is to reaserch the undergraduate programs your interested in and see what the courses you will be taking look like, then tailor your O-level courses to complement it. Make sure you fulfill those admissions requirements though. Also, getting ready for any science, you can't go wrong taking math electives to prepare, the physics is easy if your comfortable with the advanced math behind it.

    And the degree you would be starting at is called a bachelors.
  16. Jul 27, 2007 #15
    That was helpful :smile:

    I'm not even sure if what i'm thinking is aerospace engineering ... I find it interesting how you can calculate exactly where, say, a spaceship, is going to go, and also how you can use gravity to make it easier (use less fuel or something) Does that sound like aerospace engineering or astrophysics or something?
  17. Jul 27, 2007 #16
    well i guess any mechy can do that but come to think of it any sort of engineer can do that. all u need is a good working brain
  18. Jul 27, 2007 #17


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    O/A Levels are the old UK standard - before it got all watered down and touchy-feely and modular and can't let the kids feel they have failed < rant mode off>
    You do 9-10 O-level subjects from 15-16 then 3-4 A levels from 17-18.
    Usual A level choices are Math/Physics/Chemistry possibly with further Maths.

    I would say do mechanical engineering to keep your options open, possibly with a final year courses/project in aerospace. You could then do a 1 year specialised aerospace MSc.
  19. Sep 5, 2007 #18
    Ok now I am starting out with my A levels. I am confused. Should i take Further Math? Taking an extra subject would be a hassle, I want to know if it will be worth it. Do universities require or prefer students who have studied further math?
  20. Sep 5, 2007 #19


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    Used to be pretty much a requirement to do a maths degree and was handy for the 4A offers from Cambridge (20years ago)
    You are going to cover all the content again in the first year of a physics/engineering course anyway so it doesn't really matter.
  21. Sep 6, 2007 #20
    thanks mgb phys. I am not going to take up further math as it would be too much of a hassle.
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