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Should I switch out of Chemical Engineering to other major?

  1. Jun 26, 2015 #1
    I am currently third year student doing Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Dual Degree and I am currently miserable. Like my many friends who became ChemE majors, I didn't know exactly what I was getting into. I imagined it is like chemistry except more complicated and advanced. I am doing quite alright academic-wise, but I hate what I am studying right now. It is my dream to work in R&D jobs in industry, but none of R&D in Chemical Engineering field interest me. Only saving grace of this major was Physical Chemistry, such as thermodynamics and quantum mechanics, which I obsessively love. I realize I sound naive, and to be honest, incredibly stupid, but I have been struggling with this problem for months now. I am thinking of transferring to Mechanical Engineering major instead, so I could delve more into physics and, hopefully, have R&D job in industry that I could love doing. Should I just deal with it or should I try to do other major, where I can at least be happy?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2015 #2
    It should be easy to figure out what are the fields or research in chemical engineering at your current university. If you want to go into R&D then you need a PhD. The challenge is finding a subject that appeals to you, you have to opportunity to do a PhD in, and that has crossover potential in the industry.

    Sounds like you should have done a regular chemistry degree. Because chem eng., is exactly the opposite of what you describe. It is chemistry simplified and applied to real-life problems ( that bring up non-scientific complications of their own, hence the scientific simplification.)
    Also, the percentage of people that do a PhD coming from an engineering school is way lower than those that come from a natural science school. And the culture difference will reflect that.

    In the end it doesn't matter how much you like the classes in your master. What matters is what PhD programs it prepares you for.
  4. Jul 1, 2015 #3
    As a chemical engineer, I am having trouble understanding your discomfort. You say you love physical chemistry and thermodynamics, but yet these are the bases of chemical engineering, and so should represent a major part of what you are learning. Which part don't you like: transport phenomena (fluid mechanics, heat transfer, mass transfer), unit operations, or what? What makes you think that if transport phenomena is your dislike, you will be better off in Mechanical Engineering? Although Mechanical Engineering does much of the same in fluid mechanics and heat transfer as Chemical Engineering, it doesn't do much with mass transfer. But, you can replace mass transfer with solid deformation mechanics. Is this what you really want?

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