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How did u decide on which branch?

  1. Oct 12, 2006 #1
    Next year ill have to directly go into a sub-discipline of engineering without a common year, im tossing up b/w mechanical and Civil....
    my question is how if any1 had this dilemna and how did figured out what branch of engineering suited you most?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 17, 2006 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    It took me the first two years of undergrad to figure out what I wanted to do. Are you saying that you do not have a similar opportunity at your school?
  4. Oct 17, 2006 #3


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    Gold Member

    When I was ponderng this question, I came up with three factors:

    1) what you're interested in. (this may change a lot, since you have more of a laymen or qualitative understanding of all the fields in the beginning, and you aquire more mathematical descriptions as you move further towards your Bachelors

    2) your talents. (this is hard to tell until you've gone through all the upper classes, where you're talents get put to the test)

    3) the market (following the market and the news will tell you where the money is going. Ideally, you wouldn't want to go into something where people have already filled the market, so you have to keep up to date every semester (or month even!) with where the frontiers of physics are.

    here's a good career resource for science in general:


    edit: I reailzed your talking about engineering after making this post, but the three factors are probably applicable to any field.
  5. Oct 18, 2006 #4
    Also -- Is one department more esteemed than that other? This is what potential employers will notice. Maybe the profs are better teachers/researchers in that department? These are people that will mentor your academic growth. Are you more impressed with upper-level students from one department over the other? You'll be mentored by those students and might end up a bit like them.
  6. Oct 18, 2006 #5


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    For a more genral background, I'd go for mechanical - the vibration stuff you'll learn could easily be used for civil engineering problems.

    Also, ime, mechanical engineering students are more clued up when it comes to the maths than their civil counterparts - ie. the environment will result in a better level of education.
  7. Oct 20, 2006 #6
    I was faced with just such a dilema. I chose civil over mechanical. My dynamics instructor said I should choose mechanical because I was good at the mechanics and it was more interesting. Some of my classmates did and enjoy thier work very much.

    I am glad I chose civil because it gives me a broader geographic choice in places to work and I got my PE and can practice without an employer if I so choose, which I have done in the past.

    Good luck on what you choose.

    PS, civil is easier in the last two years.
  8. Oct 21, 2006 #7


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    I would avoid generalization between civil and mechancial engineering and the skill in mathematics. I've worked with both and it really depends on the individual, and I know CivE's who are very competent at mathematical theory.

    In addition to CE and ME, there are also Structural Engineering (SE) programs, which have evolved from CE or ME. SE is more or less a hybrid of ME/CE. One might even consider a double major.

    As much as possible one should consider advanced mathematics classes e.g. Partial Differential Equations, and materials science and engineering classes, including mechanics of materials.
  9. Oct 29, 2006 #8
    i had a common year between civ and mech, but i knew from day one which i wanted. I LIKE THINGS THAT MOVE. and i like the idea of making new things to move in new and clever ways. so i did mechanical.
  10. Oct 29, 2006 #9


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    Hello, i am a civil undergrad (almost done, less than a year now :smile:). I think if its possible in your college, you should take un the first years the general engineering courses, while you decide.

    Honestly, I've always been a math and physics focused student, so i like using my talents in solving Civil Engineering problems be it in Structural Analysis/Design, Highway Design, etc... I just like seeing all the mathematical concepts work out in my own eyes and mind. I remember when i designed this 2 stories house for my Reinforced Concrete design course, and i was imagining every beam, every slab, every column... It was just great. It felt really good, deciding which parts of the structure were critical, and what reinforcements (rebars) i had to put. Amazing really. Even right now i was doing the same thing, imagining the car go along the highway axis, i was just drawing 10 minutes ago!, it took a lot of geometry in me to draw the curves :tongue2:.

    I don't know why i picked Civil, i am just glad i did.
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