Most Fundamental or Important Class for Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering

  • #1
Summary:: I am looking to take a engineering classes relevant to mechanical and or aerospace engineering. I am challenging my assumption that Statics & Dynamics is the most important and foundational/fundamental course to either mechanical or aerospace engineering (maybe fluid dynamics for aerospace ). I already took thermodynamics, and I am doing some space stuff outside of school.

Question:
I wanted to ask the fine people here what they thought the most Fundamental/Foundational OR important classes they thought were to the fields of Mechanical Engineering OR Aerospace Engineering (this is not an exclusive “OR”, but I would like people to discriminate in their answers). Such that if I only could take one or two classes (maybe later a couple more, but no guarantee), what would you recommend?

My situation:
I am an Über Senior at Bridgewater State University, I only have one or two semesters left. My school does not offer Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering, but they are fields I really want to work in (in particular the SPACE part of Aerospace). Currently I am enrolled in the L’Space NPWEE Academy, and worked on a team that successfully submitted a proposal to RASC-AL 2020 (sadly no award).

I am a Computer Science and Physics major, and am trying to graduate with a Concentration in Applied Physics, I know the concentration is not a super big deal, but I want the experience from the crossover from engineering that I can apply too my career (so I am trying to stuff as much aerospace and engineering stuff as I can in before I graduate).

My school offered a Statics & Dynamics class, but it was cancelled due to the pandemic, I have taken Thermodynamics (mostly from a Quantum perspective, but definitely got a lot of the classical theory). To note: otherwise I feel Physics is appropriate for me, I would like to research advanced propulsion concepts. Statics & Dynamics, I believe, will not be offered until at least next year after I will have graduated. Currently I am seeking to replace it, but I know an assumption I have been making is that Statics & Dynamics is foundational/fundamental to engineering and that makes it very important to the field (and me more likely to either work independently, work in the field, or make my own company).

I may seek to do engineering in graduate school, but I also have about 6 other ideas for what I will do at that point (I may take a gap after working on my undergrad off and on since 2014, @cgreeleybsu 2022 baby!!). I am trying to make this situation as quickly as possible, I am thinking about taking the class at a school that is 1 hour away from my own as a non-matriculating student (Northeastern University) and it affects my decision about if I am going to live on campus, but I may try to find an online course (recommendations of places too look).


TL;DR:
I am challenging my assumption that Statics & Dynamics is the most important and foundational/fundamental course to either mechanical or aerospace engineering (maybe fluid dynamics for aerospace ). I already took thermodynamics, and I am doing some space stuff outside of school.

I posted this on college confidential, but wanted to hear from people here too. Also is there a way to crosspost to the Aerospace Engineering forum?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I would say that Dynamics is the key course. Statics is important, mostly as background/prep for Dynamics. If you as limited as you indicate, by all means, take these two courses.
 
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  • #3
jrmichler
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I know of a school that watered down their physics classes to get a better pass rate. Those students failed miserably when trying to take Dynamics. A friends taught Dynamics and gave out 53% D's and F's. The students fully understood what grades they were getting when they did the teaching evaluations. He got one of the best evaluations in the department because the students knew that he did a good job of teaching. They were just not prepared for Dynamics.

Because of that experience, and my own experiences, I feel that a solid background in Physics is THE most important preparation for Mechanical Engineering. My background is in Mechanical Engineering.
 
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  • #4
I would say that Dynamics is the key course. Statics is important, mostly as background/prep for Dynamics. If you as limited as you indicate, by all means, take these two courses.
Thank you for this reply, do you mean this with respect to Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering (or both)?
 
  • #5
I know of a school that watered down their physics classes to get a better pass rate. Those students failed miserably when trying to take Dynamics. A friends taught Dynamics and gave out 53% D's and F's. The students fully understood what grades they were getting when they did the teaching evaluations. He got one of the best evaluations in the department because the students knew that he did a good job of teaching. They were just not prepared for Dynamics.

Because of that experience, and my own experiences, I feel that a solid background in Physics is THE most important preparation for Mechanical Engineering. My background is in Mechanical Engineering.
Thank you for the reply, are you saying that I may be okay regardless of weather or not I take these courses?
 
  • #6
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Thank you for this reply, do you mean this with respect to Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering (or both)?
I am an ME, but I've worked in aerospace as well as lot of other fields. I think Dynamics is the key to everything of this sort.
 
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  • #7
I am an ME, but I've worked in aerospace as well as lot of other fields. I think Dynamics is the key to everything of this sort.
I appreciate the insight, thank you
 
  • #8
gmax137
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maybe I'm missing something. I'd say calculus. and lots of it.
 
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  • #9
maybe I'm missing something. I'd say calculus. and lots of it.
Thank you, I think it is fundamental, but I have already taken it.
 
  • #11
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Linear Control Theory may be good, if you are interested in concentrating on control aspects of aerospace or mechanical engineering. This has not been mentioned yet. Optimal control is more advanced but it might be taken first if you are well prepared. Many aerospace applications use Kalman filtering
 
  • #12
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The OP ask what is the most fundamental or important course, not what are good follow-on courses. Linear Controls, as suggested by @mpresic3 would be a real bear for someone who had never taken dynamics.
 

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