Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Interested in Engineering, where do i start?

  1. Oct 17, 2012 #1
    I am not a perfect math student first off. Is there still a chance for to be an engineer? I am fascinating with mechanical things, especially industrial engineering and engineering in general. How could i better myself in this field, where should i start. And what level math am i required to know in order to be a proficient industrial engineer or general engineer? please the types of math I'd need to know.

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 17, 2012 #2
    Speaking from an engineering students standpoint, math is a very big part of the undergraduate curriculum. You have to take calcI-III, ODE, Linear algebra" sometimes optional", statistics... the list goes on. Also almost every course you will take will require you to solve problems, so math will follow you like the plague until graduation.

    I learned to love math, and I hated it in highschool.

    Best of luck
  4. Oct 31, 2012 #3
    Math is important (essential in undergrad education). Plenty of engineering fundamentals/concepts are conveyed with mathematics; however, outside of college, being great at mathematics is not a requirement for being great at engineering. The amount of math involved is job (and not degree) specific. I work with plenty of degreed engineers that only use algebra & trig on a day to day basis. They design great parts/machines/processes/systems. The only time they use "advanced" mathematics is while doing homework for their part time courses for their masters degrees.
  5. Nov 2, 2012 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Yer, most engineers that I know just use basic math and trig in their day to day jobs. But Engineering is so much more than the math, with is just the tool. And yet, you can't be a good engineer without knowledge and exposure to all the math courses listed above, plus Physics. And you can't get a degree without these courses.
  6. Nov 3, 2012 #5
    As an engineering student, you will be required to take math, definitely. However, you do not need to be a math genius to be a good engineer and do well in your courses. Understanding fundamental concepts and how things work is more important in my opinion. If you need to evaluate an integral, learn how to use mathematica. Knowing how to use computer software and numerically solve problems is useful.

    People who know math but can't apply it are not useful. Knowing how to apply the math and set up a problem is more important than knowing how to evaluate a complicated integral.
  7. Nov 6, 2012 #6
    I would say, give it a try.
    When the math has real world uses, it becomes more interesting(not easier),
    but interesting my get you through it.
    Beyond the math, Engineering is about the black box.
    You are given an environment with known inputs, and desired outputs.
    The job is to create a solution that converts the inputs to the desired outputs.
    The black box is what you create to solve the problem.
    It might a bridge across a river, or an algorithm to correct errors in a transmission.
    good luck!
  8. Nov 8, 2012 #7
    ^ very well said.

    As everyone has already stated, yes you need math and as long as you do pretty well on your courses and use it often it will be come second nature. It doesnt help that many physics courses dont use calculus anymore. Almost all courses employ a reduction to algebra nowadays.

    You'll need to take Calculus 1,2,3 , Differential Equations, Linear Algebra Physics 1,2,3.
  9. Nov 8, 2012 #8
    Really? That doesn't even seem possible. But I've been out of the classroom for a long time.
  10. Nov 14, 2012 #9
    Its quite difficult without a good math class, at least here, in Europe you do have deal with numbers most of your study..

  11. Dec 7, 2012 #10
    from the start of your career to the end you will be doing math problems. Problems that would take pages of equations and derivations to get to the answer. you can't avoid it. there are designers who deal with less math and get their degrees in two years, but they will pull of a job where ppl recognize them as engineers. They get paid well too.
  12. Dec 12, 2012 #11
    i used to hate maths before i got graduated, now i love them, when u start to work the maths you'll use will be simpler than college's
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Interested in Engineering, where do i start?
  1. Where to start (Replies: 4)