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Engineering Mechanical Engineering with no maths?

  1. Apr 6, 2017 #1
    I'm 19 and I have a passion for cars. I'm thinking about pursuing a mechanical engineering degree & possibly creating a company in the future. There's one problem though; I didn't take algebra 2 or any maths after that (I had consumer math in hs). Is the math in mechanical engineering advanced? I don't fear math & I don't hate it but I just don't know all of it. Do you think I could make it in a ME class without the knowledge & learn from the class / on the side?
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  3. Apr 6, 2017 #2

    Stephen Tashi

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    How are those 3 things connected? Do you want to pursue a mechanical engineering degree because you want to design cars? Is there a particular kind of work that your company would do?

    Yes. It's more advanced than algebra 2.

    No, I don't think you could handle a college level ME class - but only someone who knew your abilities could give an expert opinion on that question. (You also need to know some physics to understand an ME class. ) Get a textbook for such a class and see if you can read it. There might be videos online for some ME classes.
  4. Apr 6, 2017 #3


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    Yes, mechanical engineering involves advanced math and yes, this is going to be a problem. You'll need (if I remember correctly):

    High school math:
    Algebra II (did you take geometry?)
    Calculus I

    College math:
    Calc II
    Calc III
    Differential Equations
    Statistics (not a high level class)

    And then many of the engineering core classes and electives are heavily mathematical.

    My recommendation is to find a local community college that does remedial math and enroll there. You might be able to start taking useful humanities electives too, but may be even better off with a job and just taking one math class a term, for a year. Depends on your/your parents' financial situation. After that year, you'll have a better idea if you want to pursue the engineering degree.

    More to your last point/question: you won't be *allowed* into a mechanical engineering course without the prerequisite math courses.
  5. Apr 6, 2017 #4


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    As an alternative you might look into a Mechanical Engineering Technology program. This is a softer discipline of Mechanical Engineering ie the Math isn't nearly as rigorous. It is a halfway program between vocational education and Mechanical Engineering. You will be shortchanging your advancement in Mechanical Engineering, but you may actually do well and this particular education might serve you better, if you are a hands on type with only modest mathematical ability (or don't want to bury yourself in the Mathematics required by Engineering).
  6. Apr 6, 2017 #5
    Yes. Just take a look at how Navier Stokes equations look like.
  7. Apr 6, 2017 #6
    To the OP: You can't get there from here unless you take all the math you missed and much more. ME is very math intensive, so be prepared to do a lot of catch-up work.
  8. May 5, 2017 #7
    Don't be discouraged by some of these posts, I went into my ME curriculum behind in math, and was not too fantastic at it either, and still made it through after 5 stressful, fun, tiring, mind enhancing and overall great years. That said, I also proactively pursued internships and jobs because when you have a weakness you have to rely on your stronger skills to counter it. In the end I had a great job of my preference secured at the start of first semester in my final school year and a second offer from my second choice despite a lack luster gpa.

    If you want to start your own automotive based design company after getting your ME degree and gaining experience, GO FOR IT! Like most things in life, it's not a question of if you can do it, it's only a matter of how hard your willing to work to do it.

    PS: Don't get hung up on the math part, while being proficient at math is important in earning your degree, you wont use it much in most mechanical engineer job duties. Furthermore, their are countless online and school provided resources to help you along the way.
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
  9. May 6, 2017 #8

    Meir Achuz

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    Don't take engineering in college if you don't like math.
    Try to take some technical program that is more hands on with cars
    . You may only get an associate degree or no degree at all, but you won't waste time on something you don't like.
  10. May 6, 2017 #9


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    This comment is very low in accuracy, but if you gain some real, verifiable, hands-on skills, then this will be useful for many employers.
  11. May 16, 2017 #10
    You need to take math through calculus 3 to get a BSME. You need to take statistics. Also, physics 1 & 2 are based on calculus and requried for the degree. The program courses are heavily mathematical as well. Calculus 3 is not the most complex math you will do.

    My advice is to find a tech school that teaches courses that transfer to your universities. Take math classes that will transfer. I took calculus 1-3 and physics 1&2 at a tech school. They were of the same curriculum as the state universities and transferred into the highest ranking schools in the state. I didn't even go to a university until I already had those classes done. I worked full time and did school part time until that point. I didn't want to be wrestling with calculus while also trying to do gruelling engineering courses.
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