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Seeking advice on undergraduate major/minors for Grad School in Mech/Aerospace

  1. May 20, 2012 #1
    Hi, I am a rising sophomore at Lehigh University. Currently, I am a Mech E major with an Aerospace Engr minor. My main interest is Aerospace Engineering, and so i plan on going to grad school(the best ones, obviously) in Aerospace Eng. research. However, I need some advice regarding choosing certain majors and minors. At Lehigh, although I'm a Mech E, I currently applied for a 5 years Integrated Business and Engineering(IBE) Honors Degree program, which is a 5 year dual degree in Business and Mech. Eng. Doing so, I will have two degrees with an Aerospace Eng and Economics minor. although I plan to go to grad school for Aerospace Research, I still plan on doing IBE because Business too interests me.

    The main question is, when I do IBE beginning sophomore year (fall 2012), I will have to take about 16 credits each semester for next 4 years. Adding one 3 credit class each semester will however give me an Electrical Engineering minor. So, it comes down to whether should I be minoring in Electrical Engineering as well, or should I just stick to the regular IBE degree with 16 credit hours and rather get involved in research if i plan on going to good grad school.

    I know research means a LOT for grad school, but taking 19 credits each semester and ending up with dual degree in Business and Mech E and triple minor in Aeropsace Eng, Electrical Eng and Economics would be more useful for grad school or just the IBE with Aerospace Eng. plus Economics and some research throughout my college would suffice? I sometimes think that since Aerospace involves both Mechanical and Electrical, Electrical Eng. minor would give an edge to my grad application.

    Or should I not do IBE-Mech Eng. degree and rather do Mechanical Eng. degree with Aerospace and Electrical Eng. minor and some research? Would the 5 years IBE honor's degree make no positive influence? I just think that IBE dual degree and triple vital minors with grad degree would get me great job, so....

    Also, I am an international student doing my undergrad here at the US. Does it affect my grad application by any way? And for internationals, does GRE matter just as much as it matters for the native applicants?
    More about myself, I ended up with 3.99 in my freshman year and target on maintaining above 3.90 throughout college. I am involved with the Aerospace club and some Mech E clubs, and my Aerospace minor adviser invited me to get involved in research with his graduate students right from my sophomore year this fall 2012, until possibly i graduate.

    I have to start taking IBE and Electrical Eng. classes beginning this fall 2012 if I really plan on doing IBE and minoring in Electrical Eng as well. I love aircrafts and so i want to get into Aerospace but I somewhat like business too, and Electrical- I just think Electrical eng minor would be very useful as an Aerospace engineer. I am very motivated to work hard to get into a top notch grad school for Aerospace Eng. but I really need some genuine suggestions from people who know what's involved with this whole grad school thing. So some detailed genuine suggestions for each major and minor case I have described above on this thread would be GREATLY appreciated.

    thanks for reading
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2012 #2

    boneh3ad

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    Gold Member

    The factors important to graduate schools will be:
    • Major and relevance of coursework to the graduate program you are entering
    • GPA
    • GRE scores
    • Letters of recommendation from professors
    • Research experience (if any)

    Unless you intend to do some sort of research that heavily cross-pollinates with electrical engineering, they aren't going to care at all about an electrical engineering minor. They will care even less about a dual major in business with an economics minor. Additionally, taking 19 hours per semester over a long period of time is almost never worth it. You are better off using a chunk of that time to get research experience, and the earlier you start that the better since it could eventually lead to publications with your name on them if your research group is sympathetic to undergraduates publishing.

    This all remains essentially the same regardless of whether you are international or domestic. The only real thing to watch out for is that in aerospace, there are a lot more projects that are ITAR-restricted so there are some projects you just won't legally be allowed to work on. That shouldn't stop you though. I have plenty of international colleagues in aerospace doing just fine.
     
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