want to do engineering at uni but have never got a physics qualification before?

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lucy713
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I am in S5 in Scotland and am interested in applying for mechanical engineering (definitely either engineering or computer science), but have never had a qualification in physics at school. Last year i sat my National 5s, and got 6 A's in maths, chemistry, biology, english, history and french. I'm currently taking these in highers apart from french. I have a few questions to ask:
1) Would i be accepted to a scottish university if i take crash higher phyics next year
2) How dependent are these courses on physics
3)Is physics a manageable course to crash
4)If i don't enjoy physics, will i dislike engineering? (i enjoy maths at school and am engaged in class)

sorry for all the questions, i'm just in a bit of a panic if i've decided too late.
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bigboateng_
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(Original post by lucy713)
1) Would i be accepted to a scottish university if i take crash higher phyics next year
I dont know the scottist system so dont really know
2) How dependent are these courses on physics
I'd say like 40% of the time you need to know the physics of things but as long as you can do the math you'll be fine. Even though most people take physics, I found that in uni we still got taught stuff from scratch (but at a fast rate so it helps if you've done it before)

3)Is physics a manageable course to crash
Crash as in learn it at a fast rate? If you're good at math and understand the concepts, yes
4)If i don't enjoy physics, will i dislike engineering? (i enjoy maths at school and am engaged in class)
Probably not, the thing is engineering has lots of different parts, so there will be modules on maths, designing (maybe with programming), mechanics(Statics, Dyanamics, Material Science), and thermodynamics+fluid mechanics,electronics, all of those modules arent physics based( as in in the exams you'll only be asked to work out stuff and not explain it so worst case scenario you only need to know formulas and not where they came from). If you're good at maths, you can pretty much do well in them without Alevel physics (As long as you''ve done mechanics before). Thermodynamics/Fluid mechanics is the only module thats mind blowing that even Alevel physics doesnt mean jack sh*T but the rest you should be fine on. Just apply for engineering and see what happens (Chemistry is actually useful too so it will increase your chance I think)
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a10
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(Original post by bigboateng_)
Probably not, the thing is engineering has lots of different parts, so there will be modules on maths, designing (maybe with programming), mechanics(Statics, Dyanamics, Material Science), and thermodynamics+fluid mechanics,electronics, all of those modules arent physics based( as in in the exams you'll only be asked to work out stuff and not explain it so worst case scenario you only need to know formulas and not where they came from). If you're good at maths, you can pretty much do well in them without Alevel physics (As long as you''ve done mechanics before). Thermodynamics/Fluid mechanics is the only module thats mind blowing that even Alevel physics doesnt mean jack sh*T but the rest you should be fine on. Just apply for engineering and see what happens (Chemistry is actually useful too so it will increase your chance I think)
what....
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bigboateng_
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(Original post by a10)
what....
lol I dunno, reading that back I sound ******ed, I may have been sleepy or something. Maybe you can help explain it better
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a10
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(Original post by bigboateng_)
lol I dunno, reading that back I sound ******ed, I may have been sleepy or something. Maybe you can help explain it better
Personally, I would say if someone hated physics completely then they should stay away from engineering really because it only gets worse. If you don't have the slightest interest in physics (particularly applied physics) then this will probably result in the person having a severe lack of motivation thus they wouldn't survive on the course.

There are some exams where you will be expected to explain why or derive the principles using physics conditions (like in my fluid mechanics exam few days ago for example).
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uberteknik
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Engineering is entirely based on physics because engineering is, pure and simply put, the application of physics using the language of mathematics!

As a10 said, engineering is not for the faint hearted and is widely recognised as one of the hardest university courses alongside medicine and law, with a very high academic workload. So you had better like the applications of physics because you will be steeped in it from day 1. In fact, I don't think you will be accepted on to any decent engineering course without a mandatory qualification in physics.

There are many disciplines of engineering and if you want to progress from being simply a 'fixer' to someone who designs and innovates all the way up to cutting edge technology, then you need to have a grasp of physics every bit as good as a physicist!

To be a good engineer, you need to have a passion for understanding how and why things work and that requires an understanding of the fundamentals of physics. Going further, you need to be able to take things apart and innovatively strive to make them work better. That only comes with a solid and deep understanding of physics.

In the modern world, mechanical and electrical/electronic/systems engineers must have a good grasp of each others disciplines because virtually everything mechanical must now interface with complex computers and software. Guess what, the software algorithms are steeped in physics and maths.

Try understanding electrical and electronic engineering (let alone getting into designing semiconductors, integrated circuits, lasers, all manner of electronic components etc.) without knowing the composition and structure of an atom or having a decent grasp of Quantum Mechanics and you are in deep trouble.

Competent engineers must interface with physicists and many other scientific disciplines where together, they define specifications and engineer solutions. The physicist may have the 'blue sky' ideas but it's the engineer that puts it into reality and is so very often the arbiter of what is feasibly possible given the state of the technology at any given time. Which means (depending on where you see yourself working) engineers and physicists engage constantly.

The field in which you work and the level of your engineering ability will determine how far you progress as an engineer.
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Doones
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(Original post by uberteknik)
In fact, I don't think you will be accepted on to any decent engineering course without a mandatory qualification in physics.
Just to chuck in that some decent unis don't require it. E.g. for Civil at UCL.

But, yes, given how unusual that is reinforces how necessary Physics actually is (or should be) for Engineering.

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Elegantsolution
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(Original post by uberteknik)
Engineering is entirely based on physics because engineering is, pure and simply put, the application of physics using the language of mathematics!

As a10 said, engineering is not for the faint hearted and is widely recognised as one of the hardest university courses alongside medicine and law, with a very high academic workload. So you had better like the applications of physics because you will be steeped in it from day 1. In fact, I don't think you will be accepted on to any decent engineering course without a mandatory qualification in physics.

There are many disciplines of engineering and if you want to progress from being simply a 'fixer' to someone who designs and innovates all the way up to cutting edge technology, then you need to have a grasp of physics every bit as good as a physicist!

To be a good engineer, you need to have a passion for understanding how and why things work and that requires an understanding of the fundamentals of physics. Going further, you need to be able to take things apart and innovatively strive to make them work better. That only comes with a solid and deep understanding of physics.

In the modern world, mechanical and electrical/electronic/systems engineers must have a good grasp of each others disciplines because virtually everything mechanical must now interface with complex computers and software. Guess what, the software algorithms are steeped in physics and maths.

Try understanding electrical and electronic engineering (let alone getting into designing semiconductors, integrated circuits, lasers, all manner of electronic components etc.) without knowing the composition and structure of an atom or having a decent grasp of Quantum Mechanics and you are in deep trouble.

Competent engineers must interface with physicists and many other scientific disciplines where together, they define specifications and engineer solutions. The physicist may have the 'blue sky' ideas but it's the engineer that puts it into reality and is so very often the arbiter of what is feasibly possible given the state of the technology at any given time. Which means (depending on where you see yourself working) engineers and physicists engage constantly.

The field in which you work and the level of your engineering ability will determine how far you progress as an engineer.
This is a great post mate, cheers!
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Et Tu, Brute?
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(Original post by uberteknik)
Engineering is entirely based on physics because engineering is, pure and simply put, the application of physics using the language of mathematics!
As a10 said, engineering is not for the faint hearted and is widely recognised as one of the hardest university courses alongside medicine and law, with a very high academic workload. So you had better like the applications of physics because you will be steeped in it from day 1. In fact, I don't think you will be accepted on to any decent engineering course without a mandatory qualification in physics.
There are many disciplines of engineering and if you want to progress from being simply a 'fixer' to someone who designs and innovates all the way up to cutting edge technology, then you need to have a grasp of physics every bit as good as a physicist!
To be a good engineer, you need to have a passion for understanding how and why things work and that requires an understanding of the fundamentals of physics. Going further, you need to be able to take things apart and innovatively strive to make them work better. That only comes with a solid and deep understanding of physics.
In the modern world, mechanical and electrical/electronic/systems engineers must have a good grasp of each others disciplines because virtually everything mechanical must now interface with complex computers and software. Guess what, the software algorithms are steeped in physics and maths.
Try understanding electrical and electronic engineering (let alone getting into designing semiconductors, integrated circuits, lasers, all manner of electronic components etc.) without knowing the composition and structure of an atom or having a decent grasp of Quantum Mechanics and you are in deep trouble.
Competent engineers must interface with physicists and many other scientific disciplines where together, they define specifications and engineer solutions. The physicist may have the 'blue sky' ideas but it's the engineer that puts it into reality and is so very often the arbiter of what is feasibly possible given the state of the technology at any given time. Which means (depending on where you see yourself working) engineers and physicists engage constantly.
The field in which you work and the level of your engineering ability will determine how far you progress as an engineer.
How long have you been working as an engineer for might I ask?
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University of Glasgow
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(Original post by lucy713)
1) Would i be accepted to a scottish university if i take crash higher phyics next year
Hi there!

Glad to hear you're interested in engineering and computer science, they're both great fields to get into!

People have touched on the other questions, so I'll give some insight to Scottish universities and crash higher:

Most universities (if not all) will require physics taken as a higher for them to consider you for engineering. There are, of course, some exceptions as with everything. When it came to me applying for engineering, they really only focused on your 5th year classes and disregarded your 6th year classes. This will depend on each university, though. Some may be happy to offer you conditionals on your 6th year classes, others may wait until you've got your physics grade.

Things may well be different now, so the best idea would be to email some universities directly. They should be able to give you a good idea of what would happen.

Last note, if you don't enjoy higher physics, I wouldn't worry at all. Although engineering is primarily maths and physics based, physics is HUGE, and they won't touch on everything.

If you have any other questions, please let us know!

Scott
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Aeronautical Engineering - School of Engineering
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lucy713
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Thanks everyone
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uberteknik
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(Original post by Et Tu, Brute?)
How long have you been working as an engineer for might I ask?
My career started probably several years before you were born! I reached development team leader at the age of 26 and then Principle Engineer by 31 working for a global FTSE 100 company in the aerospace sector.

I joined TSR to both help my son and two of his friends who wished to pursue engineering/physics degrees and also because of the IET outreach programme to engage young people in the pursuit of science and engineering careers.
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Et Tu, Brute?
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(Original post by uberteknik)
My career started probably several years before you were born! I reached development team leader at the age of 26 and then Principle Engineer by 31 working for a global FTSE 100 company in the aerospace sector.

I joined TSR to both help my son and two of his friends who wished to pursue engineering/physics degrees and also because of the IET outreach programme to engage young people in the pursuit of science and engineering careers.
So you did Electrical/Electronics?
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uberteknik
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(Original post by Et Tu, Brute?)
So you did Electrical/Electronics?
B.Sc hons electronics with a focus on semiconductor design, then a sponsored M.Sc. in Systems Engineering (aerospace) with a focus on engineering programme management.
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