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Which Engineering is best, IE or ME?

  1. Oct 30, 2009 #1
    I currently am in the Engineering program at PSU, hoping to get into mechanical, but my advisor said that due to how i'm doing in one of my courses, Statics, that i should look into Industrial or Nuclear, since they are the closest to Mechanical in the types of courses that are required. Mechanical has a cap on it, as well as a GPA requirement, whilst the other 2 don't. I hate to give up on my dream of becoming a mechanical engineer, hopefully in robotics, but i don't want to be in school longer than i need to. I already switched my major once, thus switching schools and PSU not accepting any of the 38 credits i took towards the major, which really killed me. But my questions to those reading this are: What's the main differences between the 3, which has a bigger job outlook, and anything else you guys might want to say? I appreciate the comments!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2009 #2
    See http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos027.htm for job outlooks etc. In general I would say IE is more limiting than ME. MEs are often hired to do IE work, but not vice versa (I'm an ME in a primarily IE job that I love). IEs don't become typical design engineers. If you knew you wanted to have an IE type job I'd say it probably doesn't matter all that much which you choose. Out of the three, only MEs will work on anything like designing robots or other machines / equipment.

    What are you asking though? Are you required to switch out of ME? If not, it already sounds like you want to stick with it. Grades will be important in any major. Keep in mind that I have no idea how things work at PSU specifically, and your advisor will probably have seen students like you before. Frankly, it's also possible he may just not want you in his department, and you may need to work on your grades.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  4. Oct 30, 2009 #3
    Thanks for the response. I'm not required to switch out of ME, the dilemma i'm facing right now is that i have to schedule for my courses this upcoming Monday, and i don't want to schedule classes that i done need for IE if i don't get chosen for ME. At PSU, they let you know whether or not you got into the major by March, which is in the middle of the Spring semester. So i'm just trying to figure out what i should do in that respect. In terms of my classes, i have a hard time in Physics related courses, and i'm having a very hard time with Calculus 2. I have successfully completed Physics 1, working on 2 now, and 2 is the cut off for IE. ME however goes up to Physics 4. If i may ask, what do you do in your IE-like job?
  5. Oct 30, 2009 #4
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  6. Oct 30, 2009 #5
    In your experience, how creative is your job? Like is it more analyzing things than anything?
  7. Oct 30, 2009 #6
    There is analyzing for sure, but it's mostly fast paced doing. The largest analysis project I did involved delivery data and financial inventory inputs and outputs. But the analysis was self-initiated so that I could implement a proper solution and see financial results. It's creative in the sense that you have to come up with novel ways to get the product made and out the door despite all of the problems that always come up. On the other side we are constantly doing projects to improve the process and make things faster, cheaper, more reliably, etc. It's very creative in that there is only a general text book and every problem you face is new and original. I rarely ever will sit down to design something, although manufacturing engineers do get to do that.

    Many more of my coworkers will attend business school than engineering grad school. Operations is really more management than engineering.

    Your mileage may vary at smaller companies. I recommend talking to IE grads from your school. Also, get with career services and put together a resume. See where they think it can get you, and think about what you want it to look like by the time you graduate.
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