1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Undergraduate in Applied Maths, Graduate in Eng.?

  1. Aug 26, 2009 #1
    Simple question: Say I get an undergraduate degree in applied mathematics, and I take a lot of engineering electives during this time. How likely is it that I would be able to go to graduate school for engineering?

    Also, are there areas of study (in mathematics) that are very intimately tied together with engineering?

    Thanks in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2009 #2
  4. Aug 27, 2009 #3
    If you know you want to go to grad school in engineering, why not study it as an undergrad? Some grad schools require an engineering undergrad degree in the same field you want to study at the graduate level.

    My lab partner in engineering double majored in applied math and is getting her math phd now. You could always go that route too.
  5. Aug 27, 2009 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Well, there are computational fluid dynamics, PDEs, mostly applied mathematics.

    I've also heard of people (including my uncle) who are engineers, and are currently researching on measure theory, which is very mathematical in nature.
  6. Aug 27, 2009 #5
    I forgot to mention, yesterday I went to see my guidance counselor. She said I can't take engineering courses as an elective because engineering is from a different faculty.

    I didn't ask her about the double major though...I shall find out.
  7. Aug 27, 2009 #6
    Did she mean you can't take them as electives to satisfy your math requirements? You must be able to take courses outside of the math department.

    Why do you think you want to go to grad school for engineering and not math?
  8. Aug 27, 2009 #7
    "Did she mean you can't take them as electives to satisfy your math requirements?"

    She meant that I can't take any engineering courses at all :(

    I was thinking of a PhD in engineering, because I would very much like to do research into engineering methods for a weapons development company, and I would like for this research to be mostly mathematical in nature. I figured with an undergraduate degree in applied mathematics I would be able to do this if I went to graduate school for engineering, or maybe a sub-field of engineering that deals with maths in the way that I am interested in.
  9. Aug 27, 2009 #8
    Sure, it's doable. If I were you I'd start looking at specific grad programs now and see what their requirements are. You might also want to look at changing majors. Engineers are typically in such demand that an undergrad degree is all that you need for 99% of industry jobs. A graduate degree definitely helps you move up the technical career ladder more easily though.

    You could also apply to a company heavy into engineering straight out of undergrad. Most companies will pay you to get a masters part time while you work. When you finish that degree you'd already be doing similar work in a company you'd want to stick with, and you should have no trouble moving to more pure engineering from an analysis position or other sort of position that your math major alone will qualify you for. Once you're in, you may not even need a different degree at all to get to the type of work you want.

    Definitely try to get an internship within the engineering organization of a large company while you're still in school. Whether you want to use grad school to change paths or you go directly to such a company full time, an internship will be invaluable. If you keep your grades up and can get an internship you should be fine no matter how the other details work out.
  10. Jan 20, 2010 #9
    You're saying that if one gets a BS in applied math and then works for a position that the math major alone qualifies him for, he can eventually obtain, say a mechanical engineering position?

    As for one with a BS in applied math even obtaining any full-time job in the first place, if one gets an offer that uses math/programming, but is from a company that does work not related to engineering, should he take that offer?
  11. Jan 20, 2010 #10
    If the position doesn't require a PE certification, then sure. You'll find random scientists and mathematicians working in the engineering departments of large companies.

    As for your second question, it all depends on your other options.
  12. Jan 20, 2010 #11
    For the first question, how easy is it to switch positions to obtain an engineering-related one?

    In the second question, I meant if a math major got an offer for a, say, consulting company that does work related to economics but requires math/programming on the job, but the person wishes to work for in the defense industry, should he take that job, so that he can put that work experience on his resume, increasing his chances of getting hired at an engineering company in the future?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook