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Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering for major?

  1. Aug 10, 2009 #1
    Hey everyone, I have another question for you. :D

    Right now I am going into my senior year of high school, and I was wondering if I should get my bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or aerospace. Eventually I want to work for a Formula 1 team as an aerodynamicist. I plan on getting a masters degree in aerospace either way. I'm not going to be able to just hop into F1 and work, and would have to work my up, proabably through other racing teams and leagues. So my question is, given that I want to work as an aerodynamicist for a racing team, should I go mechanical and then get a masters in aerospace, or aerospace all the way?

    I wouldn't mind working on something else besides a race car, so if I didn't get to work for say F1, or some other racing establishment, which would provide the better job oppurtunities?

    There is only one good school in my state that offers a degree in aerospace engineering (University of Michigan) which I am hoping I get into, because out of state is pretty expensive. So if I don't get in I would be doing mech probably at MSU then aero somewhere else, although I could do that at U of M...

    Oh! One other question, how much of an aerospace engineering degree would I be able to apply to a race car?

    Thanks for all the help. :D
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2009 #2


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    Well if you don't only want to work in the aerospace field I would suggest get a ME degree with a focus on fluid dynamics with a lot of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) courses. These would get you closer to your dream.

    Not sure what you mean by this. Would you happen to mean how much do you learn during an aerospace engineering degree can be applied to the design or build of a race car.

    A lot. First off what you should realize is that Aerospace engineers are just highly specialized mechanical engineers in the area of aircrafts and fluid dynamics.

    Off the top of my head the tools that an AE can apply directly to a race car would be perhaps the design of the body and shape of the car for optimal/desired performance and perhaps even selection and testing of key structural components to achieve this.
  4. Aug 12, 2009 #3
    Thanks for the reply. :D

    Sorry if that last question wasn't clear, but that is what I meant. I was interested in how much of what I learn could be applied to the design/build of a F1 or other race car.

    What you suggested sounded pretty good, do you think doing that would be better than getting a degree in aerospace to start with? Like I said, I'm just not sure if I should get a degree in mechanical and then a masters in aerospace which would allow me to work on other things, or just aerospace for both. I do plan on working in racing be it F1, F3, IRL, ALMS, etc. I find race cars more interesting than ariplanes or space vehicles, although I really wouldn't mind working on them, and I think that would be a good alternative to working in the racing industry.

    I guess part of it depends on if I get into the college I want to go to, because if I do I could get a degree in mechanical or aerospace to start with. If I don't I'm sort of stuck with mechanical first and then aerospace later.

    Sorry if any of this isn't clear or doesn't make sense. lol. I'm just not sure which would be better for getting me to where I want to be.
  5. Aug 12, 2009 #4
    To be honest with you, I don't think it matters very much at all if you're going to master in it.
  6. Aug 12, 2009 #5


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    You sound as if you want to be flexible in your career prospects. I would suggest go with the Bachelors in ME and see where to go later. You can get into aerospace without an AE degree.

    The AE degree is not as flexible as the ME. ME will open many more doors
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