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Which engineering major requires the most math?

NBAFan20NBAFan20 Posts: 108Registered User Junior Member
edited January 2009 in Engineering Majors
I was thinking about majoring in mathematics because that is my favorite subject. But then I thought why don't I just do an engineering major? I want to pick a engineering major that involves the most math, which one of these is it?

Civil Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Material Engineering
Mechanical Engineering

?
Post edited by NBAFan20 on
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Replies to: Which engineering major requires the most math?

  • ken285ken285 Posts: 3,879Registered User Senior Member
    A math major is very different from an engineering major; be sure you like engineering first. Some people choose to major in engineering just because they were good in math and science in high school. That's a mistake.

    Why not major in math if that's what interests you? You won't get much of the theoretical math courses in engineering.
  • NBAFan20NBAFan20 Posts: 108Registered User Junior Member
    Yeah math and science have been my 2 strongest subjects in HS.

    What's the main difference though? From my understanding, it's just more rigorous, and you have to have the ability to apply math and science into practical use.
  • Klockan3Klockan3 Posts: 201Registered User Junior Member
    At least in Sweden it is engineering physics which requires the most math.

    Edit: But then our engineering programs are 5 years where you study only engineering subjects full time so it is basically a major+master at the same time. I would guess that they have to cut out a ton to fit it into 4 years with half time studies.
  • silence_kitsilence_kit Posts: 1,826Registered User Senior Member
    Mathematics is the major that requires the most math. I agree with some of the other posters, if you really enjoy and are talented in math, you should study mathematics.
    From my understanding, it's just more rigorous,

    If you are looking for rigor, then engineering is probably not the way to go. Math/Physics/CS are much more theoretical than any engineering major.
  • fatpig554fatpig554 Posts: 432- Member
    Some aspects of Electrical Engineering are very heavily math-related, including signal processing. I would recommend you look into that but keep in mind that abstract mathematical concepts are not emphasized in the curriculum. You could complete math minor or do a double major maybe..

    The important question is: what do you hope to do when you graduate? Do you have a specific career in mind? Maybe plan what career you would like, then find a major which suits that. Also consider doing undergrad. in math and graduate studies in engineering.
  • ken285ken285 Posts: 3,879Registered User Senior Member
    In engineering, the focus won't be on the math. It's merely a tool to help engineers do what they have to do. Also, you'll probably only go up to differential equations, whereas a math major will go significantly beyond that.

    What do you like about math exactly? That will probably help you decide between a math major and another major.
  • NBAFan20NBAFan20 Posts: 108Registered User Junior Member
    Good question ken and fatpig, thats exactly what I was about to mention.


    I like:

    Logic
    Problem Solving
    Critical Thinking
    Working with numbers

    Thats the main reasons I've like math mostly, just the logical aspect.

    The things I don't like about math and maybe engineering is the whole "visualizing" aspect. I've never really liked having to visualize in my head and so on. Basically not a big fan of "Geometry". Though I like the "Proofs" part of Geometry. See, logic is good, but shapes/visualize I don't like.


    I'm not really as big of a math fan as you guys are thinking, I just like the things I mentioned. Which so far in my life Math correlates most with.


    So based on that which engineering do you think I will be most successful in?


    And one more thing, I'm also planning to do a double major in Finance. I'm just seeing which will compliment my finance major better. Neither math or engineering will directly compliment it, but I'm looking to sharpen my analytical/critical thinking ability for maybe a potential I-Banking job.


    But the main question is here, based on my interests/likes which engineering am I best suited for?
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 35,060Registered User Senior Member
    I'm also planning to do a double major in Finance

    I'll let the engineering majors comment also. I think this double major will be hard to complete in four years. In fact, I think it will be hard to do...period. DD wanted to do a minor and can't fit the courses in to do so.

    Re: the math...DH is an engineer (EE) and DD is an engineering major (bio). Both are good at math, but the both excel at application. For example...DD got a B- in her last term of calculus...but got a B+ in Differential equations. She has gotten either B+ or A- in all of her engineering course despite never getting a grade higher than a B- in the math sequences. She's very good at application, and DH says THAT is what engineering is all about.
  • ken285ken285 Posts: 3,879Registered User Senior Member
    Engineering majors tend to have a lot of core classes, so it is usually very difficult to double major. Actually, I don't recall coming across any engineering major on CC (or elsewhere) who double majored successfully.

    I'm not familiar with ibanking hiring practices, but I've gotten the impression that GPA is very important. As an engineering major (and especially as a double major), you'll be taking a hit there.

    On a side note, my academic experience was very similar to thumper's daughter's. Math was by far my worst subject in college.
  • NBAFan20NBAFan20 Posts: 108Registered User Junior Member
    But do you guys think based on my likes/dislikes that I listed on my last post, engineering is a right for me? And if so, which engineering correlates most to my interests?
  • silence_kitsilence_kit Posts: 1,826Registered User Senior Member
    Thats the main reasons I've like math mostly, just the logical aspect.

    The things I don't like about math and maybe engineering is the whole "visualizing" aspect. I've never really liked having to visualize in my head and so on. Basically not a big fan of "Geometry". Though I like the "Proofs" part of Geometry. See, logic is good, but shapes/visualize I don't like.

    If you like reasoning for reasoning's sake, then mathematics is the best way to do it. Abstract math is an excellent way to exercise reason. But in engineering you'll do a lot of reasoning as well . . . and with team projects, etc., it may be of a more practical sort for a finance major.
    And one more thing, I'm also planning to do a double major in Finance.

    Double-majoring in engineering with another major that doesn't share classes with it is a pretty difficult thing to do. Engineering has a lot of required classes and is a huge time-sink. If you decide to do both engineering and finance, you'll have to spend a lot of time on academics. Mathematics (at least at my school) has fewer required classes, so it would be easier to double major with math.
    But the main question is here, based on my interests/likes which engineering am I best suited for?

    If you want to do a major in engineering, I vote for computer science or electrical engineering. You'll learn a lot of math in these majors and it seems like a lot of students use these majors to do non-engineery or computery things.
    But do you guys think based on my likes/dislikes that I listed on my last post, engineering is a right for me? And if so, which engineering correlates most to my interests?

    I think that if you are set on doing a finance major with another major, then mathematics would be a better fit. Mathematics is one of the best ways to exercise reason. You'll learn a lot about practice in your finance major I'd think (WARNING: I know nothing about finance), so you'll get a good mix of theory/application.
  • purduefrankpurduefrank Posts: 485Registered User Member
    If you think you want to go into finance, the best thing to do is probably just major in finance and take as many math courses as possible. You should definately take calc 3, diff equations, and linear algebra. If you do this, and do well in your other classes, this will give you the best shot at doing what you want to do. Unless you are going to Cornell, MIT, or one of those types of schools, I-banks are not really recruiting engineers specifically - though of course there are always exceptions. On the other hand, I am aware that I-banks see the math classes as a necessity, coming from any school.

    Also, if you were interested in going that route, a popular choice is to double major in math and econ. This will set you up well for most jobs in finance, including I-Banking.

    Trying to double major with engineering is a mistake. You don't have enough give in the schedule, and like another poster said - you're going to take a hit with your GPA. Plus, if you don't like the subject matter, it's going to be hell trying to get through undergrad in engineering. I would wait until you get to where you're going to school, I have a feeling you will be highly surprised at the difference between high school math and science and that in college. An engineering major is hard enough by itself, even if you're smart and a hrad worker. Trying to add another major to that would require extreme intellect and a crazy work load. BUT, I have met a person here at Purdue who had four majors, CS, Physics, Math, Chem; and two minors. Keep in mind this person had a perfect SAT and GRE score. Plus, he came into college taking math courses above those I mentioned earlier - e.g. he took them in high school... If your like this guy - go for it, otherwise, plan accordingly.
  • NBAFan20NBAFan20 Posts: 108Registered User Junior Member
    Thanks for the help everyone!!!

    Well actually I'm in University already. I go to the University of Washington, which has a great engineering program (I think it was at least top 10 or 20) and a good business program (Top 25). I actually have "Junior" standing (since I took 2 years of C College at HS).

    I've taken some math courses and have done fairly decent (3.7), and my average GPA at UW is so far 3.77.


    But yeah I've never really thought about the amount of workload that would put on me since I haven't looked too much into engineering. Maybe Math + Finance is the best option for me.



    But its still a good comparison


    Finance + Math:

    Less Workload
    More time
    More suited for I-Bank + Finance Role
    Less Flexibility

    Finance + EE:

    More flexibility
    More career options
    Safer
    More work
    Less Time
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 35,060Registered User Senior Member
    Finance + EE:

    More flexibility
    More career options
    Safer
    More work
    Less Time

    I don't agree with this. I don't think you'll have more career options. You will have two distinctly different majors with not much connection at all. If you don't excel at both, you won't have opportunities in both. They simply don't relate that much. I guess the finance folks I know don't have engineering backgrounds and the engineers I know don't have finance backgrounds. They are distinctly different.

    The bigger question is...what do you want to do? Do you want to work in Ibanking? If you do, a degree (even as a second major) in engineering isn't going to help you a speck (in my opinion).

    If you want to work as an engineer a degree in finance (even as a second major) isn't going to help you a speck (in my opinion).

    You sound like a first year college student who is trying to figure out what your major should be. If that is the case, you need to realize that many students change majors MULTIPLE times before they graduate...well...except the engineers...because it takes all four years to fulfill the requirements.
  • lil_killer129lil_killer129 Posts: 4,706Registered User Senior Member
    I like 100-level classes. I wish there was a major for that. Engineering is tough. I was one of the top student in math/science in HS, and Dynamics in college is killing me. It's only been the first week too.
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