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Triple Major with Engineering

astrogirlastrogirl Registered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
Hi there! I am an incoming freshman, and I am deciding to take advantage of everything UMD has to offer. I am currently pursuing a double major in Astronomy and Physics, but want to pursue a major in Aerospace Engineering too. Is a triple major in Astronomy, Physics, and Aerospace Engineering even possible? I know that for the double major in Astronomy and Physics is just 5 courses more, but could I add the engineering? Or is it too much? I was thinking if not, to do a double major in astronomy and physics, and a minor in International Engineering. I really wanted to do an Engineering major too, but I don't know if it is possible. What would you guys suggest? Are there any students that have tripled major with Engineering? Thank you!

Replies to: Triple Major with Engineering

  • maryversitymaryversity Registered User Posts: 2,008 Senior Member
    It's not possible if u are not admitted to the Clark School of Engineering. Either for adding as an additional major or minor.

    Don't bite off more than u can chew. Engineering is no walk in the park. It has to be a strong calling for u to want to pursue ...not something just to "take advantage of while u are there"...it is the most demanding of studies and should not be taken lightly. If u r serious about it then u have to apply to engineering as an internal transfer and pass the gateway courses successfully (really not a prob).

    Double majoring is challenging enough and there will be other programs/opportunities u will want to take "full advantage" of so don't overbook yourself before u even start. U need time to transition to college expectations/work level/demands and balance that with new freedoms/social life.

    I'm glad u are excited about all the possibilities that Maryland offers and I hope u have an awesome experience!
  • 2forall2forall Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Hello! It's great that you are so ambitious and are so interested in exploring your opportunities. May I suggest that you talk to your advisor and ask their opinion about how to best explore your interests. It's ok to change or alter the course of your studies during your time in college. That's the reason you are at UMD--to explore your opportunities and interests. Just be sure you are consulting with the administration so you take all the proper steps. Many areas of study are demanding, not just engineering. Good luck with everything!!
  • da6onetda6onet Registered User Posts: 653 Member
    edited August 2014
    A UMD alum from JPL, who doubled in both Astronomy and Aerospace Engineering (took him two extra years) gave some very salient advice on the matter, "Pick one." You're either going to be a principal investigator or an engineer. I'm not saying you can't study both, but I would first ask you, "As a space physics person, why are you interested in engineering?" This question is even more poignant since you also mentioned the minor in International Engineering, akin to a humanities minor on global perspectives, as your backup plan to an actual engineering discipline (Aerospace).

    Full disclosure, as an Aerospace engineering major, I thought about doubling in Astronomy, but in answering my own question "as an Aerospace engineer, why are you interested in astrophysics?" I realized I'm only interested in the topics, not the profession, so I scaled it back to courses that were the most relevant/interesting--orbital dynamics, computational methods, more solar system/planetary science, leaving out other requirements for the double--observational techniques, statistical thermo, mathematical physics and quantum I.

    A good friend of mine in the engineering honor society is doubling in Aerospace and Physics, but was a little jealous of the astro courses I was taking while he was stuck taking quantum II and classical mechanics etc etc. I think he thought doubling in Physics would give him a greater appreciation of the space science, but the physics curriculum proper isn't focused like that (it's meant as a general understanding of everything to setup for grad school). That said, he has the cool internship out at wallops for a 2nd summer while I'm stuck with a non-aerospace related internship (still engineering at least), so he must be doing something right :-p
  • maryversitymaryversity Registered User Posts: 2,008 Senior Member
    Oops @2forall, honestly didn't mean to imply engineering is the only hard major...!!!

    However, even students that "only" go into engineering as a single major find themselves overwhelmed/in over their heads because they assume that being good in math and science means they can/should be engineers. Engineering is not for everyone and that's why there is a bigger retention issue with engineering than most other majors. That's why engineering is a LEP (limited enrollment program) to ensure there are sufficient support resources to help with retention. It's a lot more work than people anticipate, based on their experience with high school AP courses in math and science....so, honestly, no offense intended. I was just responding to what I (perhaps mistakenly) perceived as a lighthearted thought of adding engineering as if it was an easy major to do, especially given an already very challenging double major!

    Glad @da6onet weighed in since that's up his alley...
  • astrogirlastrogirl Registered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    Ok thank you all for your responses! I think I might just stick with the Double Major, and maybe do a minor (still deciding). :D
  • PeterWPeterW Registered User Posts: 308 Member
    Astrogirl, I admire your ambition but the addition of an Engineering component may be a bit too much. As Maryversity has stated "Engineering is not for everyone ..." I am not familiar with the major/ or minor requirements for Aerospace Engineering at Maryland. My boy is a senior Computer Engineering major at another well respected Midwestern Big10 university and he has his hands whole with his single major (no minor unless use count his courses in Computer Science). I suspect that a single major in Physics will be challenging enough (maybe not in our first/second semester freshman year) with all the applied math and various diverse physic topics that you will encounter. Good luck.
  • maryversitymaryversity Registered User Posts: 2,008 Senior Member
    @astrogirl, rather than doing a minor (since you already have a double major), you might want to considering aiming for departmental honors. It is different than Honors College (which you are admitted to directly as a freshman and is based on high school performance). I remember astrophysicsmom (unfortunately have not seen her post recently...both her daughters have graduated so don't know if she is on cc anymore) saying her eldest daughter (who was in honors college) did do the departmental honors also and found it to be very rewarding...it is based on college performance, you have to apply for it (either end of soph year or beg of junior - each dept is diff), and it involves a different level of research...that might give you the extra something special ambition-wise that you are looking for...?

    Or if you want to start sooner, check out undergraduate research opportunities available http://www.astro.umd.edu/undergrad/ugresearch.html (with Goddard so close, there are some awesome opportunities right down the road!) and those were just under the astronomy department...physics opens up a completely separate set of doors depending on your interests... http://umdphysics.umd.edu/academics/undergraduate/researchopportunities.html

    As I said, give yourself a chance to get adjusted/acclimated to school first....the two majors you have chosen are ripe with a wealth of opportunities, each in their own right...not to mention everything else that Maryland has to offer! Be on the look out for
    "FIRST LOOK FAIR 2014 - SEPTEMBER 17 & 18

    The First Look Fair is one of the longest running involvement traditions at the University of Maryland. The event is host to more than 500 student clubs and organizations, campus departments and services, local vendors, and community service agencies. The festive atmosphere is the perfect place to gather resources, learn more about how to get involved, and connect with other students with similar interests. Don't miss this fantastic opportunity to discover everything that University of Maryland has to offer! "

    It's a great opportunity to see everything that Maryland has to offer outside the classroom. The possibilities are endless :)

  • astrogirlastrogirl Registered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    Thank you for all the info! I will definitely be on the lookout for the First Look Fair! :)
This discussion has been closed.