(Original post by minifridge15)
Hi, I've just finished my first year of engineering at Cambridge and I'll be starting Chemical Engineering in October.
You said you're not keen on electronics. The Cambridge course has an entire paper on electronics (one of the four papers at the end of first year) split into 3 sections: Electromagnetics, Linear Circuits (transisters, amplifiers...) and digital circuits (logic gates, microprocessors) so if you don't like electronics then you won't like a quarter of the Engineering course but the sort of electronics you do at school doesn't resemble university electronics at all I've found, it's been my favourite module really and it does involve a lot of maths, rather than the frustration of trying to put circuits together on a breadboard which was what our GCSE electronics consisted of.
You use an awful lot of A level maths for Engineering - one of our end of year papers is Maths and we need to use Argand Diagrams, trig substitutions and hyperbolic trig, calculus (quite a lot of it), matricies etc... and I found that fun because I also liked A level maths. My favourite modules were the pure ones too (C3, C4, FP2 in particular) and it is that sort of maths that we use a lot.
The other modules are Thermofluids, Mechanics (a lot of graphical methods), Structures, Materials and Computing. Our Materials course goes into a fair amount of detail but if that is your main interest then I believe the Natural Scientists go into more detail than us - with them focusing more on the molecular side of it and the engineers looking more from a macroscopic point of view.
I believe Chemical Engineering has a very large amount of inorganic chemistry (I haven't studied it yet so I don't know) and I chose ChemEng because I could use all 4 of my A-Levels (Further Maths, Physics and Chem).
You said you're not much of a 'hands-on' person. We don't need to use our hands much at all for first year engineering, apart from a couple of pieces of coursework (although as long as you turn up and do a reasonable attempt then everyone gets full marks in the coursework so this isn't an issue). The lab sessions has a lot of CAD and Computing. We need to learn the basics of Matlab and C++ and there are 2 questions on the end of the maths paper in C++ in first year so it does tend to be more theory and computer work than actually building things.
If you're considering doing engineering for 4 years, you can drop electronics after the second year and choose the modules you're most interested in for third year, but judging by what you've said, you'd really enjoy the maths part of our course.
The NatScis also do similar types of maths I believe, although that judgement is just from seeing one sheet of a first year exam paper so its probably better if you ask someone else.