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Minor for Aeronautical Engineering

  1. Jun 2, 2015 #1
    Hey there, guys!
    Currently I am majoring in Aeronautical Engineering, thinking of switching to Mathematics because I really like mathematics but not sure yet, as I am having a lot of fun with AE.
    Anyhow, I am drifting off.... I am having trouble picking my minor. I still have some time to decide but better start sooner than later and rush into a decision.

    Currently from what I have read so far Physics seems to be a good minor. I have actually been to a few Physics courses to check it out, as I was also thinking of switching to Physics. I just didn't like it, wasn't my thing.
    I think it is great that we are able to do all that and it's fun now knowing what the physicists are doing but I just couldn't picture myself doing that. It was very abstract as most of the courses for Physics were dealing with QM and SRT. I like theoretical work but I would also like it do be able to apply it in the real world. I am not trying to imply that what they are doing is a waste a time, au contraire. That is also the reason why I am thinking of going to Grad School in Aerospace Engineering or Applied Mathematics. Still, doing somewhat theoretical research but will have real world application.
    As I said before, I have a great interest in Mathematics, used to hate it but now I love it.
    I am thinking of going to do a MSc in Aerospace Engineering or Applied Mathematics, after which I will try to head to Graduate School.
    Our educational system is different to the system in the US. Before I am able to the MSc, I have to follow a bridging minor which will take ~6 months to complete.
    My current major spans 4 years in length, where I will be able to do the minor in the third year. This would mean that I could go straight to the Master's after my Bachelor degree.
    However, since it is only 6 months and the 3rd year spans ofcourse a year, most minors span a year.

    These are the courses for the bridging minor for Aerospace Engineering:
    http://www.tudelft.nl/uploads/RTEmagicC_Bridging_minor.jpg.jpg [Broken]

    I have also been interested in the bridging minor for Applied Mathematics.

    The courses for the Applied Mathematics minor are:
    - Mathematical structures
    - PDE
    - Statistics
    - Real analysis
    - Numerical methods

    The reason I am thinking of Applied Mathematics is because I think Applied Mathematics would benefit me because it is going into fluid dynamics, real time forecasting systems for weather among other things.

    The third year where I will be able to do the minor is ofcourse a full year, however the bridging minors are only ~6 months. I could still do another minor in my third year and follow the bridging minor after my Bachelor. 6 months extra to what would give me a good start to my future is time well spent.

    That is why I have also been looking into Computer Science but I think I would prefer the Applied Mathematics or the bridging minor for AE more. However, if you feel like CS or any other minor would benefit me more, please feel free to state so.

    My question is: which minor would benefit me most for a future in research, with a scope on aerospace engineering?
    And if you recommend a different minor than the bridging minor, what bridging minor after my Bachelor do you feel would give me more incentive in research?

    I hope I have given you enough information. If there any questions or unclarities, please say so and I'll be happy to collaborate.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 2, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I can't imagine a less important decision for a college path than what to minor in and I'm surprised there even is such a thing for an aero major, considering how difficult it is and how many credits it takes on its own. Choosing your major (between math and aero) is the only real decision you should be focusing on right now.

    While you mention "research", you don't really say what you want to do for a living. Once you decide that, it should point you to a major.
  4. Jun 2, 2015 #3
    Thank you for your reply.
    I am most likely going to stick with Aerospace Engineering but have decided to still check out the Mathematics major, that would be a pure math major.
    The reason why I was thinking about math is because a math major could almost go work anywhere, be it in tech, engineering firms or in finance.
    However, having said that, I think I would be enjoying myself better with AE but I am not sure about that and that is why I am going to follow some courses of a math major next week.

    Research is indeed a vague term, I apologize for that. I have been up on the internet lately and checking whether a PhD in Engineering is actually worth it. From what I gathered, most companies have a R&D department. The Development is somewhat split up, into "advanced" development and development. For example, development would be working on the Boeing 747-400, and then the -500 and then the -600, it keeps going on like this. "Advanced" development would be like a completely new revolutionary vehicle, for example the first UAV's.
    But before you can actually build a UAV, you need to know the theory to build it. I gathered that that is what the Research in R&D does, to improve theory and practice in a given field.
    What I would like to do is work in the Research-section for R&D, gathering new theory and improving existing theory to relate it to practice so development can build this new high-tech gadget or plane or whatever from my findings. So I can still work in a somewhat theoretical setting without having to deal with SRT, QM etc.

    Now, I know that a minor is not a dealbreaker but I think that a Applied Math minor would be better than a minor in Culinary Arts for example.
    However, if I were to pick the Applied Mathematics minor, I would also go do a MSc in Applied Mathematics. If I were to do the minor in AE, I would also go to the MSc program for AE. As the bridging minor is the key to the Master program, without the minor I couldn't go do the Master program.

    Maybe a better question would be: what Master's would give me a better future into research for AE (I hope I have succesfully explained what I mean by that now :P )?
    Because they both seem to have their benefits, the AE Master would give me a better view onto the structure and the way aircraft behave and work and the Applied Mathematics Master also seems to have functionality for fluid dynamics, weather forecasting, GPS systems (according to the description on the website of the university). Both seemingly would benefit me for a future in AE.
  5. Jun 2, 2015 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    But what do you want to do?

    A math major "could almost go work anywhere" insofar as any random college graduate "could almost go work anywhere". That doesn't make it a good idea. I work for a 100 employee engineering firm and the only place I could see a math major working is a zero-skill job in our accounting dept, but even then people would be scratching their heads as to why a math major would want a $35k random office job. You'd be competing against "liberal studies" (ie: nothing) majors. I got offered such a job when working as a temp during winter break, after the previous occupant got fired over a positive drug test (true story).

    On the other hand, my sister was a math major and is a Certified Financial Analyst, who crunches numbers on retirement/pension plan investments. I'm reasonably certain it's a 6-figure salary after just a few years on the job. Would that interest you?
    1. Such people are definitely mostly engineers, not mathematicians.
    2. I can't be certain for that high-end of a field, but I don't believe there are many engineering phd's doing such work.
    3. So either way, if you want to work for an engineering company, you are better off with an engineering degree than a math degree, phd or otherwise.
    Yes, that's a better question. Answer:
    1. AE.
    2. Math.

    As always: if you want to be an XXX, get a degree in XXX. I never understand why people say: "I want to be an XXX, should I get a degree in YYY?"
    An AE master will give you a much better handle on computational fluid dynamics than a math major would. Math is math: it doesn't have applications. AE is highly mathematical, but all application driven. There should be no mathematical limitations to what an AE masters or phd can do.
  6. Jun 3, 2015 #5
    Wow! Thank you for the elaborate reply.
    I think I know what to do now.
    And to answer your question, that would indeed interest me. Actually, finance is one of the reasons I am considering the math major.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015
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