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Pure math to engineering

  1. Aug 7, 2010 #1
    Hi everyone.

    I have recently completed a 4 year mathematics pure mathematics degree from Australia. I am now very interested in studying in an engineering field. I am most drawn to the idea of biomedical or aerospace engineering. However I am having a difficult time trying to figure out a few things:

    1) Will I be able to jump into a Masters degree or at least higher level courses given my background?

    2) Any suggestions on universities/courses I should be looking at.

    I am aware that I will most likely need to spend a year catching up on engineering classes, which I am fine with.

    Honestly I'm just a bit lost with where to start with this, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2010 #2
    I think so. It depends also a lot on how much physics and applied math you have studied so far. And on the engineering field you are interested in.
  4. Aug 8, 2010 #3
    I don't know if you can easily jump in like that. First of all, it depends on what field in engineering you are going into. If, for instance, you were going into something like controls which required not too much engineering courses the transition might be smooth. But something heavily aerospace related might require more than a year to catch up; assuming you are going at a sensible pace. Another thing to do, is to speak to someone in the aerospace department at the school you hope to apply to.
  5. Aug 8, 2010 #4
    Cheers for the replies.

    I haven't studied a great deal of physics. I've done a few basic courses and a few more advanced courses in modern physics (quantum and relativity).

    @╔(σ_σ)╝ I think you're right that talking to people from the departments I'm interested in makes sense, but I'm not near anything and I've been having trouble contacting universities by email.

    Do you suggest I consider doing a few more years undergraduate study then?

    Thanks again all.
  6. Aug 8, 2010 #5

    When you say " I've been having trouble contacting universities by email. " do you mean universities or professors ?

    Email from my experience is not a good way to contact universities. If you are not a student or a current applicant you might not even get a response.

    If you are having problems contacting professors it might because of the whole summer thing or profs just been profs. I had a bad accident on my bike which has placed me under "house arrest " ( I can't go to work) ; I emailed by supervisor telling him this and he never replied to me. Now this just example what can happen while trying to contact people by email especially when the recipient of the email doesn't think its urgent.

    Try getting phone numbers if possible, email multiple professors to increase your chance of a reply.

    I cannot suggest you take any immediate action until you are fully aware of your options.

    Try even speaking to people perhaps at your own university or friends you have at other universities.
  7. Aug 9, 2010 #6
    I agree with ╔(σ_σ)╝ ! I also think that you did a fair amount of physics. It is important that you try to understand what kind of engineering you are more interested in. Mathematicians are normally very good at software engineering. So computer science could be a field for you to look into. For instance, Jim Gray, a Turing Award recipient, the inventor of database ACID transactions, one of the fathers of the first relational database at IBM, was a mathematician and statistician by training who turned to software. Other engineering fields use a lot of math, such as control engineering or communications engineering. Apart from looking at course requirements and syllabi in universities' web pages, you should definitely look for advice from professors or university tutors.
    Last but not least, one field you could consider is financial engineering.
  8. Aug 9, 2010 #7
    while i am pretty sure you can apply for a masters in engineering if you have a masters in mathematics(of highest standing), i am not quite sure you are eligible with your 4-year bachelor. are you loookinf forward to study in Australia or anywhere in the world?

    If it's anywhere then a bunch of universities are offering MSc Aerospace Engineering.

    Can you list the courses you have taken??
  9. Aug 9, 2010 #8
    @╔(σ_σ)╝: I have been emailing the reception of individual departments and asking to be forwarded onto anyone who could give me information/advice. Perhaps I should start emailing/phoning individual academics. I guess being forward is necessary.

    @Goldbeetle: Software is something I had considered in the past. However, I spent a couple of summers working internships in software companies and was completely put off the idea. Perhaps this is irrational, but it would certainly not be my first choice. Control engineering is something I should have a look into though, thanks for the suggestion.

    @doodle_sack: I am okay with staying in Australia, but I am very open to (and quite keen to) head overseas, most likely somewhere in the UK. I had a look at the London Imperial College Aerospace MSc program (maybe I'm aiming too high ;P), and have tried to request further information on it.

    As for a list of courses, I don't have one handy at the moment (the university if useless with transcripts). But in Physics I have taken a courses in Quantum, Statistical Mechanics and Relativity. In Math I have focused alot on Analysis (god knows why), so Real analysis, Functional analysis and Complex analysis. I've also covered the core PDE, Linear Algebra and Modern Algebra courses. As for applied topics, I've studied Discrete Optimization, Fluids, Bio-mechanical modelling.

    Sorry that is a haphazard list, hopefully it gives you a vague idea.
  10. Aug 10, 2010 #9
    Your background in mathematics is very good for applied sciences and engineering.
  11. Aug 10, 2010 #10
  12. Aug 10, 2010 #11
    Thanks Goldbeetle, I'll definitely have a read through those and see if it sparks any interest in me.
  13. Aug 11, 2010 #12
    I'm sure CFD requires a strong math background
  14. Aug 11, 2010 #13
    That's only the introduction to classic control engineering. There are other topics, the more advanced that require more math.
  15. Aug 11, 2010 #14
    Are there any good universities that offer an MS in control engineering? I found case western does, but havent found any others. I know many schools offer systems engineering, but they two fields seems to be slightly different (based on what I read on CWU's site)
  16. Aug 11, 2010 #15
    I've done a little bit of work in CFD actually. There are certainly problems there that require alot of Mathematics. Not really my cup of tea, but something I may fall back on.

    I would also like to know about good MS courses for control engineering. Do you work in it yourself Goldbeetle?
  17. Aug 12, 2010 #16
    Saw this link in another post, maybe useful for you:
    http://www.math.rutgers.edu/~sontag/FTP_DIR/sontag_mathematical_control_theory_springer98.pdf [Broken]

    Another good (and easier) book: Linear System Theory and Design (Chi-Tsong Chen)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  18. Aug 13, 2010 #17
    Yes, Rollingrust, I studied control theory (frequency and state models) during my university studies, but, more importantly, I'm friend with people who work in the field.
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