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Mechanical or Chemical Engineer?

  1. May 9, 2010 #1
    Hey guys, I've been going back and forth through all possible physical science majors (math, physics, ALL engineering disciplines, etc.) and I think I've narrowed my choice down to two possibilities. As you can tell from the title, they are Mechanical Engineering or Chemical Engineering.

    Here's a little background on me, I'm in a community college getting the basic requirements for engineering out of the way. I've taken the introductory physics classes, math classes (taking diff eq next semester) and some engineering classes. The engineering classes I have taken really only apply to MechE. Those being Statics, Dynamics, and Mechanics of Materials. I must say I don't particularly enjoy the machine (gears, shafts, beams, etc) part of... Mechanical Engineering which seems to make me believe that many classes that I will be required to take are going to be very painful. If I choose to go with ChemE I will require more time to take all of the classes for the degree since I have only taken one chemistry class with this being my fourth semester in college.

    What is making me choose between these two is the thermodynamic aspect. I've looked through many universities' curriculum for each and they seem very similar. MechE seems to focus more on harnessing the heat for mechanisms while ChemE seems to focus on creating that heat. What I have just said may be completely false but that was my impression of it. With whichever I go with, I must do research. Really I'm looking for some explanation of what really goes on in this subject for each discipline.

    With all that being said, my ultimate goal is to get a PhD in whatever I choose and be employed at NASA. While doing this, I will definitely apply to become an astronaut so whichever discipline they see as more favorable I will be more inclined to choose. However, with what the government has in mind for NASA it seems like the space program may be coming to a halt or at least a hiatus after a decade or so, so I would want something versatile in that respect.

    So, to really just sum up what I'm asking... What are the differences between MechE and ChemE thermodynamics? Which has more potential for research positions? and I'd just like to add this quick question, does advanced thermodynamics or its accompanying topics require a lot of mathematics? For me, the more math the BETTER! :tongue:

    Thanks for reading my short novel of a post. :rofl:
  2. jcsd
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