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Chemical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering or Mechatronics? Please help!

Basically those are the 3 courses i've looked at potentially applying for at Uni, but I don't know an awful lot about any of them. As you can probably tell, I'm looking to do an Engineering degree and those are the 3 I've been recommended/strike me as the most suitable for me.

So anybody who does any of these courses or just knows a decent amount about them, could you please provide me with any relevant information that may help me?

For example, what does each course consist of doing in a nutshell? Which course is easiest to get onto (I know it will differ from Uni to Uni but generally)? What kind of career can I expect to pursue with this degree?

Thanks alot!

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Reply 1
Except for chemical, you will need physics as a must for the other to eng degrees. Thats all I know, lol.
Original post by shaunbrockhill
Basically those are the 3 courses i've looked at potentially applying for at Uni, but I don't know an awful lot about any of them. As you can probably tell, I'm looking to do an Engineering degree and those are the 3 I've been recommended/strike me as the most suitable for me.

So anybody who does any of these courses or just knows a decent amount about them, could you please provide me with any relevant information that may help me?

For example, what does each course consist of doing in a nutshell? Which course is easiest to get onto (I know it will differ from Uni to Uni but generally)? What kind of career can I expect to pursue with this degree?

Thanks alot!


In a previous post you've claimed that you'll be dropping Chemistry after AS, and so this will limit you greatly in terms of university options for Chemical Engineering.
Original post by Tullia
In a previous post you've claimed that you'll be dropping Chemistry after AS, and so this will limit you greatly in terms of university options for Chemical Engineering.


Most of the Chemical Engineering courses ive looked at (well at the Unis im looking at going to) all dont require chemistry or only require it at AS...
Original post by shaunbrockhill
Most of the Chemical Engineering courses ive looked at (well at the Unis im looking at going to) all dont require chemistry or only require it at AS...


If that is the case, then that is fine for you. I don't know which universities you wish to apply to, and so my comment was more general as not having an A-level in Chemistry does remove a lot of choices for Chemical Engineering at university.
Reply 5
I'm just commenting because mechatronics is such an awesome word. Carry on.
Original post by shaunbrockhill
Basically those are the 3 courses i've looked at potentially applying for at Uni, but I don't know an awful lot about any of them. As you can probably tell, I'm looking to do an Engineering degree and those are the 3 I've been recommended/strike me as the most suitable for me.

So anybody who does any of these courses or just knows a decent amount about them, could you please provide me with any relevant information that may help me?

For example, what does each course consist of doing in a nutshell? Which course is easiest to get onto (I know it will differ from Uni to Uni but generally)? What kind of career can I expect to pursue with this degree?

Thanks alot!


From myself and friends experiences applying to University of Glasgow, Mechatronics was easiest to get into and chemical the hardest. Only problem with aerospace is that jobs are limited and although there is a need for engineers at the moment some of my friends that have left uni are struggling to get jobs in it. One that got a first from imperial and has a work experience with rolls Royce still cant get one. Mechatronics is really good as it combines a lot of areas of engineering and let's be honest Robots are cool but I dont know much about a job Market in it.

Your probably best going for chemical as it has the widest field of possibilitys, gets the best pay and has a great need for jobs

Just so you know I'm not being bias I do theoretical physics with astrophysics and plan on doing a one year masters in aerospace engineering when I finnish this masters


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(edited 11 years ago)
Original post by shaunbrockhill
Most of the Chemical Engineering courses ive looked at (well at the Unis im looking at going to) all dont require chemistry or only require it at AS...


If you do plan on doing Chemical Engineering, you're going to need to make sure that your Chemistry is top notch in your AS results and try not to forget it over the next year before you start Uni. Personally, I think it would be much safer if you didn't drop it, although I'm not sure what your other subjects are.

Out of curiosity, which unis have you looked at?
Original post by do-not-pass-go
If you do plan on doing Chemical Engineering, you're going to need to make sure that your Chemistry is top notch in your AS results and try not to forget it over the next year before you start Uni. Personally, I think it would be much safer if you didn't drop it, although I'm not sure what your other subjects are.

Out of curiosity, which unis have you looked at?


The Uni really depends on the course I opt for... but for Chemical Engineering i´ve looked at quite a lot and Loughborough, Newcastle, UCL and Manchester are the ones that stand out as far as im concerned...

As for everything else, i´ve looked at Durham and that was really nice (but not really any courses there that im particularly interested in aha)... also Southampton looks great for engineering in general.

Oh and as for subjects, I do Further Maths, Maths, Bio, Chem and Physics... definitely dropping Further Maths and PROBABLY Chemistry unless the course I opt for particularly needs/"strongly desires" it
(edited 11 years ago)
Original post by shaunbrockhill
The Uni really depends on the course I opt for... but for Chemical Engineering i´ve looked at quite a lot and Loughborough, Newcastle, UCL and Manchester are the ones that stand out as far as im concerned...

As for everything else, i´ve looked at Durham and that was really nice (but not really any courses there that im particularly interested in aha)... also Southampton looks great for engineering in general.

Oh and as for subjects, I do Further Maths, Maths, Bio, Chem and Physics... definitely dropping Further Maths and PROBABLY Chemistry unless the course I opt for particularly needs/"strongly desires" it


Birmingham and Nottingham are also excellent for Chemical Engineering as well!

Those are definitely good subjects for general engineering courses. I don't think you'll have any problems with getting in, as long as you get the grades.
Reply 10
Original post by shaunbrockhill
The Uni really depends on the course I opt for... but for Chemical Engineering i´ve looked at quite a lot and Loughborough, Newcastle, UCL and Manchester are the ones that stand out as far as im concerned...


Maybe it's worth contacting UCL about having A-Level Chem. I went to an open day last month and they said they were changing their requirements to include Maths, Phys and Chem; I don't know if that's for 2013 entry, though.
Original post by Bromine
Maybe it's worth contacting UCL about having A-Level Chem. I went to an open day last month and they said they were changing their requirements to include Maths, Phys and Chem; I don't know if that's for 2013 entry, though.


Just to update this:

UCL
Please note that from next year (September 2014 entry) Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics will be the three compulsory subjects for all UCL Chemical Engineering courses .


Check here for details: http://search.ucas.com/cgi-bin/hsrun/search/search/StateId/EZ-CBNV-bs1j_K5CalkanPCdCk6hw-3hLB/HAHTpage/search.HsEntryReq.run?n=1162944#CSRA
Reply 12


Ah thanks :smile: So I suppose if OP is applying this September then he should be OK.

I'd think that Chemistry would still be a favourable subject to have, though.
It's just not true - Chemistry at A-Level simply is not a requirement for the vast majority of Chemical engineering courses. Mathematics definitely is, plus a science from physics or chemistry, in 90% of cases for the top universities. For any engineering subject, maths = required. A single physical science (i.e. chem or physics) = usually required. Further maths = strongly recommended.

They're all similar, yet different. For starters, your first two years will, in all likelyhood, not differ greatly between all 3 courses - there will be plenty of maths, probably subjects like thermodynamics, and various other core lectures which will be similar. There will be some specifics on your specialism - but they will account for a few modules per year at best.

I studied electronics. I know about mechatronics, and I currently work in the Aerospace sector, so I can provide guidance on those ones. People will say some are harder to get into, some are not - your only real guide here (in that they're all engineering courses and will be hard to get into) is that the higher the typical grades required or offers, generally, this is because they are the most popular courses as it helps to filter out the "best" candidates.

So Mechatronics, or mechanical + electronics engineering. This tends to be a mish-mash of both the mechanical world and the electronics side of things. After doing this course, you'll be good at both, but your specialisation will determine which way you lean. People often equate mechatronics with robotics, which, yeah, I can see why - they're ideally placed for this (and indeed, there are a lot of jobs out there concerning robotics - 6000 openings on the IEEE website currently) But in reality, you're not at all limited to robotics - you can equally as well go into mobile phone communications or manufacturing, or any other job that lends itself to either type of engineer. Engineering is highly transferable between disciplines - in electronics for instance, the jobs that exist today didn't exist 4 years ago, yet are only open to graduates who *could not* have studied them. This is because an engineering degree provides you with the foundations to enable you to teach yourself, together with an understanding of applied mathematics and physics (even in chemical engineering) - so I wouldn't really worry too much about which specialisation you go into.

Aerospace engineers are essentially mechanical engineers, they just deal with fluids more, and what happens when things break phenomena like the sound barrier. Electronics engineers too, are mechanical engineers on the micro and nanoscale, although they're better at programming. Mechatronics introduces you to systems engineering - making things work together, no matter from what discipline they're from, and Chemical - well thats just dealing with the physics of materials and compounds. There is a lot less chemistry in chemical engineering than you're average A-Level student would believe - which is reflected in the fact that it's entirely possible to do it without having done A-Level chemistry. Those who have done it will find it relevant, sure.

Downsides to them? really not too many. Mechatronics is still a new-fangled combination, and the fact it doesn't explicitly say engineering can unfortunately count against you in job applications (easily rectified - put mechanical engineering with electronics in the form instead - helps the poor Human Resources people understand that yes, you are qualified to do the job) Aerospace sounds flashy, but "more opportunities than other engineers?" disagree with that statement - I work in aerospace, and less than half my colleagues of my age have aerospace degrees - as with most engineering, it doesn't really disadvantage you in terms of which area you want to end up in. I did electronics - didn't even study thermodynamics but I have the same problems to tackle as those who did. Chemical engineering is great if you want the highest paid *engineering* jobs in oil & gas, but if you're just out to make money, study engineering and go into finance. Providing the world economy doesn't collapse whilst you're at university...

Anyway, hopefully there are a few useful snippets in there for you,

best of luck with whatever you go for, oh and for what it's worth, further maths is your most useful A-Level, even if it's difficult and might drag your average marks down.

Stu Haynes, MEng, MIET, MIEEE
Original post by pheonix254
It's just not true - Chemistry at A-Level simply is not a requirement for the vast majority of Chemical engineering courses. Mathematics definitely is, plus a science from physics or chemistry, in 90% of cases for the top universities. For any engineering subject, maths = required. A single physical science (i.e. chem or physics) = usually required. Further maths = strongly recommended.


Actually, the following all require both A-level Maths and Chemistry:


Cambridge

Imperial

UCL (from September 2014)

Birmingham

Bath

Edinburgh

Newcastle

Sheffield

Surrey

Lancaster



When you also take into account that many universities will stipulate that if you don't have Chemistry that you require Physics, then that would make it almost essential for someone without Physics to study Chemistry. Manchester being the obvious exception, where you only require Maths.

Excellent post otherwise though that I'm sure many will find extremely useful. :smile:
Original post by pheonix254
It's just not true - Chemistry at A-Level simply is not a requirement for the vast majority of Chemical engineering courses. Mathematics definitely is, plus a science from physics or chemistry, in 90% of cases for the top universities. For any engineering subject, maths = required. A single physical science (i.e. chem or physics) = usually required. Further maths = strongly recommended.

They're all similar, yet different. For starters, your first two years will, in all likelyhood, not differ greatly between all 3 courses - there will be plenty of maths, probably subjects like thermodynamics, and various other core lectures which will be similar. There will be some specifics on your specialism - but they will account for a few modules per year at best.

I studied electronics. I know about mechatronics, and I currently work in the Aerospace sector, so I can provide guidance on those ones. People will say some are harder to get into, some are not - your only real guide here (in that they're all engineering courses and will be hard to get into) is that the higher the typical grades required or offers, generally, this is because they are the most popular courses as it helps to filter out the "best" candidates.

So Mechatronics, or mechanical + electronics engineering. This tends to be a mish-mash of both the mechanical world and the electronics side of things. After doing this course, you'll be good at both, but your specialisation will determine which way you lean. People often equate mechatronics with robotics, which, yeah, I can see why - they're ideally placed for this (and indeed, there are a lot of jobs out there concerning robotics - 6000 openings on the IEEE website currently) But in reality, you're not at all limited to robotics - you can equally as well go into mobile phone communications or manufacturing, or any other job that lends itself to either type of engineer. Engineering is highly transferable between disciplines - in electronics for instance, the jobs that exist today didn't exist 4 years ago, yet are only open to graduates who *could not* have studied them. This is because an engineering degree provides you with the foundations to enable you to teach yourself, together with an understanding of applied mathematics and physics (even in chemical engineering) - so I wouldn't really worry too much about which specialisation you go into.

Aerospace engineers are essentially mechanical engineers, they just deal with fluids more, and what happens when things break phenomena like the sound barrier. Electronics engineers too, are mechanical engineers on the micro and nanoscale, although they're better at programming. Mechatronics introduces you to systems engineering - making things work together, no matter from what discipline they're from, and Chemical - well thats just dealing with the physics of materials and compounds. There is a lot less chemistry in chemical engineering than you're average A-Level student would believe - which is reflected in the fact that it's entirely possible to do it without having done A-Level chemistry. Those who have done it will find it relevant, sure.

Downsides to them? really not too many. Mechatronics is still a new-fangled combination, and the fact it doesn't explicitly say engineering can unfortunately count against you in job applications (easily rectified - put mechanical engineering with electronics in the form instead - helps the poor Human Resources people understand that yes, you are qualified to do the job) Aerospace sounds flashy, but "more opportunities than other engineers?" disagree with that statement - I work in aerospace, and less than half my colleagues of my age have aerospace degrees - as with most engineering, it doesn't really disadvantage you in terms of which area you want to end up in. I did electronics - didn't even study thermodynamics but I have the same problems to tackle as those who did. Chemical engineering is great if you want the highest paid *engineering* jobs in oil & gas, but if you're just out to make money, study engineering and go into finance. Providing the world economy doesn't collapse whilst you're at university...

Anyway, hopefully there are a few useful snippets in there for you,

best of luck with whatever you go for, oh and for what it's worth, further maths is your most useful A-Level, even if it's difficult and might drag your average marks down.

Stu Haynes, MEng, MIET, MIEEE


Thanks alot that was a very helpful and informative post... and as for chipping into to the "do you need Chemistry for Chemical Engineering" debate, all the Unis ive looked at (with the exception of Cambridge and Imperial - which I have no intention of applying to anyhow) all the places ive looked at either dont require it at all or in 1 case (Newcastle) need it at AS so fingers crossed it should be fine in my case
Original post by shaunbrockhill
Thanks alot that was a very helpful and informative post... and as for chipping into to the "do you need Chemistry for Chemical Engineering" debate, all the Unis ive looked at (with the exception of Cambridge and Imperial - which I have no intention of applying to anyhow) all the places ive looked at either dont require it at all or in 1 case (Newcastle) need it at AS so fingers crossed it should be fine in my case


Which universities other than Newcastle have you looked at then?
Original post by Tullia
Which universities other than Newcastle have you looked at then?


UCL, Manchester, Lboro and Nottingham.
Reply 18
Original post by pheonix254
It's just not true - Chemistry at A-Level simply is not a requirement for the vast majority of Chemical engineering courses. Mathematics definitely is, plus a science from physics or chemistry, in 90% of cases for the top universities. For any engineering subject, maths = required. A single physical science (i.e. chem or physics) = usually required. Further maths = strongly recommended.

They're all similar, yet different. For starters, your first two years will, in all likelyhood, not differ greatly between all 3 courses - there will be plenty of maths, probably subjects like thermodynamics, and various other core lectures which will be similar. There will be some specifics on your specialism - but they will account for a few modules per year at best.

I studied electronics. I know about mechatronics, and I currently work in the Aerospace sector, so I can provide guidance on those ones. People will say some are harder to get into, some are not - your only real guide here (in that they're all engineering courses and will be hard to get into) is that the higher the typical grades required or offers, generally, this is because they are the most popular courses as it helps to filter out the "best" candidates.

So Mechatronics, or mechanical + electronics engineering. This tends to be a mish-mash of both the mechanical world and the electronics side of things. After doing this course, you'll be good at both, but your specialisation will determine which way you lean. People often equate mechatronics with robotics, which, yeah, I can see why - they're ideally placed for this (and indeed, there are a lot of jobs out there concerning robotics - 6000 openings on the IEEE website currently) But in reality, you're not at all limited to robotics - you can equally as well go into mobile phone communications or manufacturing, or any other job that lends itself to either type of engineer. Engineering is highly transferable between disciplines - in electronics for instance, the jobs that exist today didn't exist 4 years ago, yet are only open to graduates who *could not* have studied them. This is because an engineering degree provides you with the foundations to enable you to teach yourself, together with an understanding of applied mathematics and physics (even in chemical engineering) - so I wouldn't really worry too much about which specialisation you go into.

Aerospace engineers are essentially mechanical engineers, they just deal with fluids more, and what happens when things break phenomena like the sound barrier. Electronics engineers too, are mechanical engineers on the micro and nanoscale, although they're better at programming. Mechatronics introduces you to systems engineering - making things work together, no matter from what discipline they're from, and Chemical - well thats just dealing with the physics of materials and compounds. There is a lot less chemistry in chemical engineering than you're average A-Level student would believe - which is reflected in the fact that it's entirely possible to do it without having done A-Level chemistry. Those who have done it will find it relevant, sure.

Downsides to them? really not too many. Mechatronics is still a new-fangled combination, and the fact it doesn't explicitly say engineering can unfortunately count against you in job applications (easily rectified - put mechanical engineering with electronics in the form instead - helps the poor Human Resources people understand that yes, you are qualified to do the job) Aerospace sounds flashy, but "more opportunities than other engineers?" disagree with that statement - I work in aerospace, and less than half my colleagues of my age have aerospace degrees - as with most engineering, it doesn't really disadvantage you in terms of which area you want to end up in. I did electronics - didn't even study thermodynamics but I have the same problems to tackle as those who did. Chemical engineering is great if you want the highest paid *engineering* jobs in oil & gas, but if you're just out to make money, study engineering and go into finance. Providing the world economy doesn't collapse whilst you're at university...

Anyway, hopefully there are a few useful snippets in there for you,

best of luck with whatever you go for, oh and for what it's worth, further maths is your most useful A-Level, even if it's difficult and might drag your average marks down.

Stu Haynes, MEng, MIET, MIEEE


Cheers for this!!
Im stuck between Aerospace and chemical engineering. I honestly dont know what to go for... I was thinking about disregarding chemical engineering as im not a big fan of chemistry but now that you mention about not even needing chemistry, it seems like more of a possibility. You are currently achieving your areospace degree right? I was looking at the university of Sheffield and they offer a 4 year course which includes 1 year of going to work abroad in the industry. Do you think the one year work experience would be useful into obtaining a job in the future? It would be nice to have a good wage and do something I enjoy, but do chemical engineers really get the salaries that people say? My friends always say I should do chemical because they get the best wages, but surely aerospace can be good also if you get the right qualifications as well as the degree itself?
Thanks for the help
Reply 19
Hi do you know any books to read about aerospace engineering to include when writing your personal statement

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