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Question for Engineerings/majors

  1. Sep 15, 2004 #1
    I did a search for it but didn't find anything, so my question is which engineering major is harder from:

    I'm asking this is because usually people that wash out of other engineering majors at my uni , go into civil a lot. so which one has the lighter course load of the engineernig field?
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2004 #2


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    Of the ones I am most familiar, electrical, aero, mechanical, from hardest to easiest. Electrical and Aero are generally considered the hardest of any - they have the most complicated/intense math.
  4. Sep 16, 2004 #3
    A few weeks ago, I would have given you the same list. However, I have an employee working for me that has both a mechanical and civil degrees, but started off as an electrical major. He switched to mechanical from electrical, because electrical didn't provide enough of a challenge for him. Electrical engineering is a lot of math, which comes easy for him. It is the spacial relations and hands-on stuff of mechanical and civil engineering that challenges him.
  5. Sep 16, 2004 #4
    ahh i see, i've also heard something along those lines
  6. Sep 16, 2004 #5


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    I always think a reasonably good way of comparing difficulties of courses is by comparing entry requirements. Obviously this is also affected by course demand, but I think it's generally pretty accurate.

    Here in the UK, aero and mech are frequently identical (and the most intensive) in terms of entry requirements (comparing like-for-like courses and unis), with chem eng not far behind and electrical not far behind that.

    Industrial engineering is generally considered a branch of mechanical engineering (although it's obviously more interdisciplinary), at least as the better-thought-of universities.
  7. Oct 18, 2004 #6


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    its depends from one individual to another , im doing industrial Eng i find it fun to study, but i find some other courses like basic elec boring
  8. Nov 3, 2004 #7
    I think chemical is considered the most difficult, with EE pretty close. And I think civil is considered the easiest. One poster wrote, "Electrical engineering is a lot of math, which comes easy for him. It is the spacial relations and hands-on stuff of mechanical and civil engineering that challenges him." So it really depends on the person...normally, it's the math-intensive fields that people find the most difficult.
  9. Nov 6, 2004 #8
    how would computer engineering fit into all this? is it the hardest or what??

  10. Nov 6, 2004 #9


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    It's almost meaningless (in my opinion) to make generalizations of easiest or hardest. Any course is as easy or hard as the instructor/institute chooses to make it.
  11. Nov 8, 2004 #10
    Computer engineering is mostly electrical engineering applied to computers. It might be easier than general EE, since the circuitry is mostly digital.
  12. Dec 10, 2004 #11


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    There are challenges in all areas of engineering - it is challenging to push any field into new areas.

    aerospace - hypersonic aircraft, fuel efficient and quiet engines

    mechanical (very broad) - advanced turbomachinery, new materials into just about anything,

    chemical - new processes, new chemicals, environmental remediation.

    industrial - new processes, automation, intelligent systems, automated in-process inspection

    civil/structural - new bridge designs, better transportation systems

    electrical - newer/faster microchips, more efficient power systems, control systems, remote sensing

    And in most cases there are areas that span multiple disciplines. Electrical engineers can work with mechanical and civil engineers on diagnostic systems for small or large structures. Civil engineers use ground penetrating radar to characterize rock structures for tunnels or mines or underground/subsurface strata for large structures like bridges or buildings.

    Or consider a nuclear-electric powered spacecraft to Mars - nuclear, aerospace, mechanical, electrical, and industrial engineers would be involved in various systems.

    On Mars (or Moon), one presumably needs civil, mechanical and electrical engineering. But that's looking somewhat down the road. :smile:
  13. Dec 14, 2004 #12


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    i would say all engineering majors are equally as hard, but there are the hardest and least hardest. the most hardest of all engineering is chemical. in second place are aerospace/mechanical and computer/electrical. in third place securely sits biomedical. and on the last place is civil engineering
  14. Dec 16, 2004 #13
    What was the hardest?

    So, for you engineering majors, do you think that your pre-engineering classes were most difficult, or your upper level engineering courses? Also, how much do you guys study, and what are/were your toughest classes?
  15. Dec 16, 2004 #14


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    I study senior year of Mech.Eng.

    My toughest classes were:

    -Thermal Physics, Integral Calculus (1st year).
    -Partial Differential Equations, Electronics I (2nd year).
    -Introduction to Fluid Mechanics (3rd year)
    -Structural Engineering, Electronics II (4th year).

    But after all I have a nice remind of them.... :!!)
  16. Dec 16, 2004 #15
    It's better to look at 'extending' the field or doing great work. Any monkey can suck up math and grind out numbers. But that shouldn't be the definition of how hard a discipline is. Anything is as hard as you make it; so pick what most interests you and kick arse!
  17. Dec 16, 2004 #16
    "Stage-wise Equilibrium Processes" was the class from Hell! If you don't know what it's about, it's this: the design and analysis of fractional distillation towers, like they use, say, for separating the various constituents in petroleum.
  18. Dec 17, 2004 #17


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    yea materials/energy/mass balances are a B. i basically changed my major from chemE to mechE(w/ aerospace conc) after taking materials balance class. you should look at the books that are used in junior and senior classes for your major - if you find them even slightly boring you shouldnt major in that. chemical engineering is basically all that - its motonous and never seems to end. you'd think that maybe its just one course.. or two.. but no. its the whole profession like that. its all about manipulating matter and various ways chemical compounds bind (equilibrium/physical chem) and how to calculate and control the processes.

    chemical engineering is for people who are comfortable, make that 'anal' about math and chemistry. those people are like a different breed of engineers.

    mechanical engineering/aerospace engineering is for those who like all things moving. gears, pulleys, engines, friction, heat/cold, fluid mechanics - basically all the things that are required in computer hard drives, internal combustion or jet engines, micro electronics, prostetics (if you also do biomedical engineering after mecheng), power generators, heating/ventilation (air conditioners)

    electrical/computer engineering is all about circuit design, working with electrons and manipulating electric/em fields for various applications. you will find job opportunities anywhere the electricity is used.

    civil engineering is pretty much building thing that dont move and dont want/need not to be movable. buildings, bridges, tunnels, dams, roads, cities, sewers, water canals - you name it.
  19. Dec 17, 2004 #18
    Generally speaking, the closer the engineering disipline is to Phyisics or other Hard Sciences, the more difficult it will end up being. Electrical Engineering is the closest thing to physics without being an Applied Phycisist. Although I've heard Materials Science (not Chem. E.) is very difficult because alot of QM is used, at that point you are an applied scientist not an engineer. (the difference is subtle but present)
  20. Dec 17, 2004 #19


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    I guess I would tend to agree with that, but amplify it by saying that how tough (and how scientific) your field is depends on the specific technology you use in your job. I design air conditioning systems and that's a piece of cake, but if I were to design air conditioners, the thermodynamics and heat transfer gets real heavy.
  21. Dec 26, 2004 #20
    Let's not forget about our friends in Biomedical Engineering as well :cool:
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