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Maths needed for civil/mech engineering

  1. Feb 8, 2007 #1
    I always feel guilty posting questions, :redface:, but I need some help.

    I am trying to find out a basic outline of the math courses needed to graduate with a degree in civil engineering. The obvious ones are calc I II III, diff EQ's, lots of linear algebra, but what else? Oh and multivariable calc of course (is that covered in calc III? I think it is, but only to a mild extent)

    I looked all around the net but could only find info on first year programs. Could someone give me some information in this regard? Thankyou very much in advance!! :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2007 #2
    calc 3 is multivariable, I think thats about it though for civil/mech, maybe a course in partial diffs and soe extra physics courses.
  4. Feb 8, 2007 #3
    I don't think linear algebra is required for most mechanical/civil engineering programs. Calc 1-3 and diff eq. definitely.
  5. Feb 8, 2007 #4


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    Not exactly lots of linear algebra. Only the basics. The rest depends on your interests.
  6. Feb 8, 2007 #5


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    Certainly, you should be familiar with
    algebra, geometry, and trigonometry...
    introductory calculus, including vector algebra and vector calculus.
    Linear algebra (i.e. matrix methods) is needed to solve [possibly huge] systems of equations.
    Ordinary and Partial diff eqs and Complex Variables would be useful for more advanced topics.
    Numerical methods, including Finite Element methods, might be good.
  7. Feb 8, 2007 #6
    civil engineering will require less math than mechanical engineering...

    MEs usually have to take at least calc 1-3, DE, prob/stats, advanced engineering math, and a numerical methods course. There will also be some PDE and linear alg in your engineering courses too, but you may not need a stand alone course in these subjects. You can usually pick up what you need in the engineering courses.

    and calc 3 is multivariable calc and vector calc.
  8. Feb 8, 2007 #7


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    Hello, Civil Major here.

    Algebra, Geometry, Single Variable Calculus, Multivariable Calculus, Vectorial Calculus, Intro to DE (most enphasis on ODE), Intro to Linear Algebra (Mostly Matrix Methods) and Numerical Methods.
  9. Feb 8, 2007 #8
    Thankyou everyone. I appreciate that a lot. :)

    I am surprised, I thought there would be more linear algebra and stuff. But I suppose that if I am interested in LA I can take a few extra math courses as radou said.

    Anyways, thanks again.
  10. Feb 9, 2007 #9


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    I forgot! also a Probability and Statistics course.

    Btw, FEA is a graduate course in most universities.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2007
  11. Feb 11, 2007 #10
    The assumption that calc 3 is multivarible largly depends on your university system.

    So check with the university before jumping to that conclusion. For instance at my university, calc 3 does introduce multivarible calculus; however, there is a 4th term of calculus that fully addresses multivarible calculus, and is required of both engineering and physics majors.

    Just wanted to put that out there.
  12. Feb 11, 2007 #11


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    Do so, since LA is extremely fundamental and will be of a lot of help to you, specially if you get into numerical math.
  13. Feb 11, 2007 #12
    (Multi)linear algebra, as matrix algebra, is essential partly because almost all computational mechanics methods are matrix based. And by far the most common engineering analysis method is, as mentioned earlier, finite element analysis. This is almost invariably done by computer.

    However, it's not just about computer methods. Manipulating the components of vectors (forces, velocities), 2nd order tensors (stresses, strains), etc is often best done with matrices.
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