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Should i drop this engineering class?

  1. Feb 20, 2009 #1
    i'm currently a physics and applied math double major, looking at mechanical/aerospace engineering after graduation (i'm in my 4th yr but will stay for 5th)

    i'm taking my 1st engineering class ever this semester, which is Feedback and controls since i heard it would be a good class for me to take since it involves engineering and lots of math and theory. unfortunately, the class has been boring and uninteresting to me.

    we got our midterm back and i stunk it up... i'm borderline between passing and failing. my homework scores are similar. we still have the final left, worth 55% of the grade and the prof said taht students usually do better on the final than the midterm

    my overall gpa is 3.85 and my only reason for keeping the class is because it will make my resume look better as i'm looking for mech/aero internships this summer.

    what should i do?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 20, 2009 #2
    Perhaps you should think a bit about why you think you want to get a degree in mech/aero engineering and why you are looking for internships in those areas for this summer. You might ask yourself why has the class been boring to you. Was it too easy, so much so that you simply put nothing at all into it? Or did the material really just not interest you at all? The answers to those two questions might give you some insight into which way to go with your career as well as what to do right now. I would suggest that you be slow to drop the class, unless you also decide irrevocably to abandon engineering forever.
     
  4. Feb 20, 2009 #3
    the class has been boring and uninteresting since we haven't focused on the applications of what we're learning at all. i wish to see how we learn relates to, say, aircraft or missile guidance. or at least some kind of physical meaning of whats going on

    i'm currently leaning towards thermal analysis in mechE. i may even consider computational fluid mechanics in applied math for grad school
     
  5. Feb 20, 2009 #4

    Unfortunately, that very boring class you're in does have a lot to do with the guidance, or at least the general flight dynamics of missiles and aircraft. I guess the class could be more on the theoretical side but you don't usually see that happening until you take a lab or an applications class.
     
  6. Feb 20, 2009 #5
    Drop it man, you don't want to ruin an otherwise pristine GPA for this one course, you can always try it again.
     
  7. Feb 20, 2009 #6
    i guess i could drop it. but then i wont have ANY engineering classes i can put on my resume
     
  8. Feb 20, 2009 #7


    Question is, exactly what kind of internships were you looking for in the first place? I mean, Controls is a pretty specific class so it's not like that would limit you that much in terms of finding internships.
     
  9. Feb 21, 2009 #8
    anything related to mech/aero eng. true, controls is pretty specific but its MUCH better than nothing, right?
     
  10. Feb 23, 2009 #9
    i also might apply for mech or aerospace grad schools. wont getting a C REALLY hurt my chances of getting in to the top schools?
     
  11. Feb 23, 2009 #10
    You really seem to have the cart before the horse here. You are worried about getting into a top school for graduate school when you don't even know what it is you want to study. You are so afraid of finishing a course for fear it may mess up your GPA that you are unwilling to try to find out what an engineering curriculum is about.

    Maybe you need to go back to square one, forget about graduate school and think about what it is you want to study as an undergraduate. That may very well be all the education you get. Choose carefully. Then go really work at that. If you finish a BS in something, then you can think about changing majors for graduate work, but right now you need to settle on an undergraduate program and commit to it. Planning ahead is great, but not when it makes you unable to commit to your first requirement which is a BS in something.
     
  12. Feb 23, 2009 #11
    i wish i could just study physics problems in applied math using paper and pencil (solving PDEs, DEs, matrices, etc that arise in physics problems like heat flow, oscillators,etc)

    i already am committed to finishing a double major in physics and applied math. i wont be done until winter of next year.

    making missiles and weapons has always appealed to me, hence i decided to take this engineering class. but its turned out to be too abstract and doesnt focus on the applications. some of the other more applications based classes, that deal with physics, like heat transfer and fluid mechanics sound more appealing, so i want to take those next quarter
     
  13. Feb 23, 2009 #12


    Hah, I see.


    Very broad area, though. What exactly about them do you want to do? Materials side? Electronic triggering? Guidance? Structure design? Systems engineering? aerodynamics of missiles? energy based weapons?
     
  14. Feb 23, 2009 #13
    It is pretty unlikely that even in engineering graduate school will you find courses labeled missle design or weapons design. Instead, what you will discover is that you are almost certain to have to go back to pick up a certain amount of undergraduate engineering courses in areas like thermo, fluids, perhaps mechanics of materials and vibrations, before you will be prepared to take the graduate level engineering courses in those areas. Your physics and math background will be a great help to you, but I don't think you will find that you are prepared to skip over very many of them, despite having the physics and math.

    You complain about the controls course being too abstract, but I should tell you that many of the graduate level engineering courses will be very abstract. You may want to consider going out to work for a while after you get a BS degree to see what the world is really like before you go back to graduate school.
     
  15. Feb 23, 2009 #14
    i'm interested in structure design, thermal analysis, modeling and simulation. i didnt like aerodynamics in my freshman level physics and AP physics classes.

    i'm willing to spend a year or so to pick up the undergrad courses i missed. but then again, it is a hassle, which is why i'm considering just goingto grad school for applied math and specialize in computational fluid mechanics
    getting a job with just a BS doesnt sound so appealing, as I've spoken to past alumni from my school who are now engineers, and they say that i need an advanced degree if i want to use as much of the physics and math i learned in school in my job. also, since i want to avoid experimental work they also said to get an advanced degree

    thanks for everyones advice. much more helpful than what my advisors said
     
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