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Engineering Mechanical vs Aerospace engineering

  1. Oct 6, 2012 #1
    Is it true that the 2 have a lot of overlapping curriculum? At least that's what i have heard, can an actual Aerospace engineer comment on this as well?

    I ask because i want to go into aerospace engineering but up here in canada, there are like 2 schools in the entire country that offer the program, so i work out the odds and if i dont get in to either one, would it just be better to go into a mech engineering program instead? which is offered by most schools?

    Also say if i wanted to come to the U.S. to study aerospace engineering, as a foreign student how much more in tuition would i have to pay?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 6, 2012 #2


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    Aerospace engineering is essentially a specialized discipline of mechanical engineering applied to rockets, missiles, spacecraft, and can include aircraft. Aeronautics and aeronautical engineering deals with aircraft and craft that travel through atmospheres, whereas aerospace would involve craft outside of atmospheres - in space.

    Aerospace engineering has propulsion and power systems (rocket motors and jet engines), and mechanical engineering involves similar technology in the area of turbomachinery. Both studies involve turbines and compressor for gas, but other thermodynamic cycles could be involved as well.

    Both disciplines also study materials, structures, thermodynamic systems, and just about anything mechanical.

    One can explore both mechanical and aerospace engineering through several engineering and technical societies:

    www.asme.org - American Society of Mechanical Engineers
    www.aiaa.org - American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    www.sae.org - Society of Automotive Engineers publishes a number of aerospace materials standards (AMS) - http://www.sae.org/standardsdev/aerospace/aermtd.htm

    and their European, Asian and international counterparts.

    Since one mentioned Canada, see - http://www.csme-scgm.ca/

    http://www.casi.ca/ - Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute
    http://www.aiac.ca/aerospace-jobs-in-canada/ [Broken] - Aerospace Industries Association of Canada
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Oct 6, 2012 #3
    If you want to be an aerospace engineer you don't have to go to either the 2 Canadian schools or the states. You can major mechanical engineering, or even electrical engineering for hardware avionics, or software engineering for software avionics. I'm a 3rd year Aerospace student at Carleton and I believe you need about an 80 average to get in, which isn't that difficult in HS.

    For the differences between mech and aero, at least at my school, see below;

    http://www1.carleton.ca/engineering-design/current-students/undergrad-academic-support/prerequisite-trees/prerequisite-trees-for-fall-2012-winter-2013/ [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  5. Oct 6, 2012 #4
    yep, only carleton or u of t offer aerospace engineering....anyway you say your a 3rd year aerospace eng student, how is it? the program...the studies...how helpful are the proffs/teachers assistants?
  6. Oct 6, 2012 #5
    I've enjoyed my time so far. I can't really compare it to other schools, as I haven't been anywhere else. If you have any specific questions, PM me.
  7. Oct 6, 2012 #6


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    Apparently Universities of Manitoba and Alberta offer aerospace engineering options in mechanical engineering at the undergraduate level.

    That page lists both undergraduate and graduate programs in aerospace engineering at Canadian universities.

    A degree in mechanical engineering in an area related to aerospace can certainly prepare one for an advanced degree in aerospace engineering.
  8. Oct 6, 2012 #7
    @ mr astronuc

    Iv heard 'horror stories' regarding engineering in general, im assuming your an aerospace engineer, how is the program or was when you were in school? how intense was it? How many hours a day on average did you study? If there was a concept you didnt understand fully, were the professors/teachers assistants helpful? (sorry i would normally PM you, but i dont think thats allowed)
  9. Oct 6, 2012 #8


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    Actually, I'm a nuclear engineer. My research during my PhD program was focussed on nuclear propulsion systems. I took several Mech Eng, Aero Eng, Electrical Eng and Mat Sci courses in addition to Nuclear Engineering.

    Engineering is applied physics, and it's all about systems of equations: continuity, momentum and energy. If one can solve the appropriate systems of non-linear PDEs (with appropriate IV, BCs), numerically, then one can solve any problem in a wide range of engineering applications.

    Ideally, an engineering student has a strong background in mathematics and physics.

    One of the major areas these days is computational physics, aka modeling and simulation.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012
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