dasistnumberwang
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#1
I'm in year 13 at the moment and applied (wrongly, I think) for mathematics this year, back in September. However I'm really put-off by how dissimilar a mathematics degree is to A-level maths, particularly the more abstract pure side of it. I realise now that I would be better suited to a course involving all applied maths, such as engineering or physics.

I'm studying both maths and further maths A-levels at the moment, and I absolutely love doing both, especially the core, further pure and mechanics units. I'm also doing A-level chemistry, which I find bearable and do pretty well at, but don't enjoy anywhere near as much as A-level maths. Having said that, do I sound like I'd enjoy chemical engineering? Everybody says that the course will be almost all applied maths, like everything from core/further pure/mechanics I assume, which is ideal for me. Would you say that this is definitely the case? Roughly what percentage of the course is maths (not just simple arithmetic but of A-level or higher standard), and what percentage isn't? Also, in what ways is the style of maths taught and used in chemical engineering similar/different to that of A-level maths & further maths?

Another thing is that I find it difficult to visualise how the maths you learn can be used in an engineering context. For example, could you give any specific cases in which matrices would be of benefit, or complex numbers, or calculus, and so on? On that note, do you learn more and more (new) mathematical methods year by year as you progress through the modules, i.e. does the maths go very far beyond what A-level further maths contains?

Thanks!
0
reply
Smack
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#2
Report 3 years ago
#2
(Original post by dasistnumberwang)
I'm in year 13 at the moment and applied (wrongly, I think) for mathematics this year, back in September. However I'm really put-off by how dissimilar a mathematics degree is to A-level maths, particularly the more abstract pure side of it. I realise now that I would be better suited to a course involving all applied maths, such as engineering or physics.

I'm studying both maths and further maths A-levels at the moment, and I absolutely love doing both, especially the core, further pure and mechanics units. I'm also doing A-level chemistry, which I find bearable and do pretty well at, but don't enjoy anywhere near as much as A-level maths. Having said that, do I sound like I'd enjoy chemical engineering? Everybody says that the course will be almost all applied maths, like everything from core/further pure/mechanics I assume, which is ideal for me. Would you say that this is definitely the case? Roughly what percentage of the course is maths (not just simple arithmetic but of A-level or higher standard), and what percentage isn't? Also, in what ways is the style of maths taught and used in chemical engineering similar/different to that of A-level maths & further maths?

Another thing is that I find it difficult to visualise how the maths you learn can be used in an engineering context. For example, could you give any specific cases in which matrices would be of benefit, or complex numbers, or calculus, and so on? On that note, do you learn more and more (new) mathematical methods year by year as you progress through the modules, i.e. does the maths go very far beyond what A-level further maths contains?

Thanks!
You're in quite a common situation, in that you're enjoying the maths you're currently taking at school/college and would like to choose a degree course that is essentially a continuation of this.

You are right - engineering degrees are mostly applied maths/physics, with bits of software, group and design projects bolted on. Some courses are more mathematical than others - some will go quite far beyond A-level FM whereas others won't and may stay around that level. You will learn some new methods throughout the course, which typically takes place in the dedicated maths modules.

Why chemical engineering in particular, though? Ultimately, if you want to study applied maths, then surely an applied maths or physics degree would be a better choice?

Do you envisage having a career in engineering, or are you at least open to the idea of one? I'd only really recommend that you study engineering if you do.
1
reply
dasistnumberwang
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#3
(Original post by Smack)
You're in quite a common situation, in that you're enjoying the maths you're currently taking at school/college and would like to choose a degree course that is essentially a continuation of this.

You are right - engineering degrees are mostly applied maths/physics, with bits of software, group and design projects bolted on. Some courses are more mathematical than others - some will go quite far beyond A-level FM whereas others won't and may stay around that level. You will learn some new methods throughout the course, which typically takes place in the dedicated maths modules.

Why chemical engineering in particular, though? Ultimately, if you want to study applied maths, then surely an applied maths or physics degree would be a better choice?

Do you envisage having a career in engineering, or are you at least open to the idea of one? I'd only really recommend that you study engineering if you do.
To be brutally honest, the main reason I ask about chemical engineering in particular is because I didn’t take A-level physics. I do maths, further maths, chemistry and biology. That of course rules out a physics degree. As for engineering, I know that this doesn’t strictly limit me to only chemical, but physics is still a prerequisite for the majority of other engineering courses at universities like Imperial, Oxbridge, etc. That’s not to say I’ll only be satisfied with those institutions, but given that I’m predicted 4A* I’d still like to be within a chance of applying for those, which would only be possible if I did chemical.

What puts me off an applied mathematics degree is that, whilst the name makes it sound like a great idea, I still would have to take core pure modules in analysis, abstract algebra, etc. which I just wouldn’t enjoy. In fact, I’d much rather swap those for modules in computing, physical chemistry, or a design project.

I get that tonnes of people just head towards chemical because of the $$$ but job/salary prospects haven’t influenced my decision at all. I really am just looking for a course that is, as you have said, for the most part a continuation of the applied maths that I am enjoying now, i.e. engineering or physics. And given my lack of A-level physics, chemical engineering seems like the only option left that will give me that. I will mention though that, of the recent/ongoing innovations in engineering, almost all that have captured my interest the most were related to chem eng (or at least I think so lol). Renewable energy prospects, cultured meat production, development of nuclear fusion to name a few. I’m not going to lie and say that I’m passionate about pursuing a career in engineering, BUT that’s solely because I’ve never given any future career path much thought. I’m definitely open to it. I’ll also have plenty of time (until I apply for uni next October) to educate myself more about this type of stuff, so I’m keen to read more and more around chemical engineering itself. I understand the importance of this because of how many universities choose to interview for this course.

You mentioned that how mathematically oriented it is would depend on the course itself. Does that mean the more academically demanding courses (i.e. requiring A* maths) tend to be the ones which will go a lot further beyond what is learnt at A-level further maths?

A huge, huge thank you for answering these questions by the way. I really appreciate the help.
0
reply
Texxers
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#4
Report 3 years ago
#4
All engineering disciplines are maths based, but you said you've already applies for Mathematics.. Would you wait for 2019 entry for Chem Eng?
0
reply
dasistnumberwang
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#5
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#5
(Original post by Texxers)
All engineering disciplines are maths based, but you said you've already applies for Mathematics.. Would you wait for 2019 entry for Chem Eng?
Yes - I would've gone for deferred entry if I accepted any of my offers this year so that I started uni in 2019 anyway. But now I'll just have to apply in next year's UCAS cycle, for Chem Eng instead. Are you applying for Chemical Engineering this year?
0
reply
Texxers
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#6
Report 3 years ago
#6
(Original post by dasistnumberwang)
Yes - I would've gone for deferred entry if I accepted any of my offers this year so that I started uni in 2019 anyway. But now I'll just have to apply in next year's UCAS cycle, for Chem Eng instead. Are you applying for Chemical Engineering this year?
Yes I am applying, got invited to an Interview with Lboro, got unconditional offer from Aston and still waiting to hear back from Surrey, Lancaster and Manchester. I would recommend Chem Eng just because I find it the most interesting core engineering discipline. But I would also suggest you make comparisons between Chemical and Mechanical. Both really good, however for me Chemical edges over

So I'm guessing you're Oxbridge bound with 4A*s predictions haha? I'm predicted AAA
1
reply
Smack
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#7
Report 3 years ago
#7
(Original post by dasistnumberwang)
To be brutally honest, the main reason I ask about chemical engineering in particular is because I didn’t take A-level physics. I do maths, further maths, chemistry and biology. That of course rules out a physics degree. As for engineering, I know that this doesn’t strictly limit me to only chemical, but physics is still a prerequisite for the majority of other engineering courses at universities like Imperial, Oxbridge, etc. That’s not to say I’ll only be satisfied with those institutions, but given that I’m predicted 4A* I’d still like to be within a chance of applying for those, which would only be possible if I did chemical.

What puts me off an applied mathematics degree is that, whilst the name makes it sound like a great idea, I still would have to take core pure modules in analysis, abstract algebra, etc. which I just wouldn’t enjoy. In fact, I’d much rather swap those for modules in computing, physical chemistry, or a design project.

I get that tonnes of people just head towards chemical because of the $$$ but job/salary prospects haven’t influenced my decision at all. I really am just looking for a course that is, as you have said, for the most part a continuation of the applied maths that I am enjoying now, i.e. engineering or physics. And given my lack of A-level physics, chemical engineering seems like the only option left that will give me that. I will mention though that, of the recent/ongoing innovations in engineering, almost all that have captured my interest the most were related to chem eng (or at least I think so lol). Renewable energy prospects, cultured meat production, development of nuclear fusion to name a few. I’m not going to lie and say that I’m passionate about pursuing a career in engineering, BUT that’s solely because I’ve never given any future career path much thought. I’m definitely open to it. I’ll also have plenty of time (until I apply for uni next October) to educate myself more about this type of stuff, so I’m keen to read more and more around chemical engineering itself. I understand the importance of this because of how many universities choose to interview for this course.

You mentioned that how mathematically oriented it is would depend on the course itself. Does that mean the more academically demanding courses (i.e. requiring A* maths) tend to be the ones which will go a lot further beyond what is learnt at A-level further maths?

A huge, huge thank you for answering these questions by the way. I really appreciate the help.
You shouldn't let your current subject choices restrict your degree options. If you are ultimately looking for a degree that is the closest thing to a continuation of A-level maths, it might be a good idea to find a way to take A-level physics and thus open up all of the engineering disciplines as well as physics itself.

I understand that you would not enjoy taking maths modules in the pure side rather than the applied side. However, I think very few people like every module in their degree. Taking engineering in an attempt to avoid things like analysis and abstract algebra opens you up to taking other modules that you may not like such as CAD, professional skills & ethics, and some management, quality control and financial stuff.

It seems logical that the courses that ask for an A* in maths for entry are the ones that are going to be more mathematically challenging. Truth is though that I don't really know exactly which universities are more mathematical than others, although I would assume the aforementioned is likely to be generally correct. I'm still not sure though whether you would be better off just doing the pure maths modules you don't like in an applied maths degree rather than trying to find the most mathematical chemical engineering degree (electronics and aerospace are generally the most mathematical engineering degrees). From what I have seen, engineering degrees in England generally have two maths modules, i.e. modules that are dedicated to learning new mathematical methods. Much of the rest of it is using mathematical methods applied to solve real-world problems.
0
reply
dasistnumberwang
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#8
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#8
(Original post by Texxers)
Yes I am applying, got invited to an Interview with Lboro, got unconditional offer from Aston and still waiting to hear back from Surrey, Lancaster and Manchester. I would recommend Chem Eng just because I find it the most interesting core engineering discipline. But I would also suggest you make comparisons between Chemical and Mechanical. Both really good, however for me Chemical edges over

So I'm guessing you're Oxbridge bound with 4A*s predictions haha? I'm predicted AAA
Congrats on the interview and unconditional man. Are the other 3 likely to interview before giving an offer? Do you know what your first choice will be provided all the offers come through? It's a little frustrating knowing that I'm not exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to which engineering course due to lack of physics. But before I thought I wanted to do maths I actually wanted to do chemical engineering for like 2 years funnily enough. To me it's by far the most interesting one at first glance.

They're only predictions so far! So I can't get too complacent haha. In all honesty though, the courses at Bath, Imperial, etc. seem a lot more interesting than those at Oxbridge. The whole natural science/general engineering route at Cambridge is a bit off-putting. At the moment I'm just trying to find the right course as opposed to the right uni, which will hopefully happen soon! What in particular makes you choose chemical engineering over the others?
0
reply
dasistnumberwang
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#9
(Original post by Smack)
You shouldn't let your current subject choices restrict your degree options. If you are ultimately looking for a degree that is the closest thing to a continuation of A-level maths, it might be a good idea to find a way to take A-level physics and thus open up all of the engineering disciplines as well as physics itself.

I understand that you would not enjoy taking maths modules in the pure side rather than the applied side. However, I think very few people like every module in their degree. Taking engineering in an attempt to avoid things like analysis and abstract algebra opens you up to taking other modules that you may not like such as CAD, professional skills & ethics, and some management, quality control and financial stuff.

It seems logical that the courses that ask for an A* in maths for entry are the ones that are going to be more mathematically challenging. Truth is though that I don't really know exactly which universities are more mathematical than others, although I would assume the aforementioned is likely to be generally correct. I'm still not sure though whether you would be better off just doing the pure maths modules you don't like in an applied maths degree rather than trying to find the most mathematical chemical engineering degree (electronics and aerospace are generally the most mathematical engineering degrees). From what I have seen, engineering degrees in England generally have two maths modules, i.e. modules that are dedicated to learning new mathematical methods. Much of the rest of it is using mathematical methods applied to solve real-world problems.
I have since looked at applied mathematics degrees, and whilst the name is pretty, it’s the exact same course as the straight mathematics degree offered by the same university. Except the applied modules which are optional in straight mathematics are instead made compulsory in applied mathematics.

I appreciate that there wouldn’t be much sense in doing engineering if I wasn’t interested in the design/production side of things. But I would envisage that a massively rewarding part of the course would be to see all the physics, maths and other framework you’ve done behind a certain product come to life in a design project. It’s something I’m definitely open to despite not knowing much about. I know that things like the ethics and economic evaluation of processes will be studied as part of the course too, although that is something I know I’d find pretty interesting.

I see what you’re saying in that second paragraph, but I wouldn’t at all be taking engineering to avoid the likes of mathematical analysis. Rather that engineering concerns itself less with the whys and hows of maths, and more with application of mathematical methods to come out with useful, meaningful values. And that is exactly what I am looking for.

What draws me away from mathematics is my lack of desire to tackle all the theorem-proof stuff, and how this is very much the one main focus of the degree. So for me to say I dislike proofs and like maths is just nonsensical. The focus of an engineering degree seems a lot more suitable. What I actually love doing is studying the methods, and more so to apply these methods in a more practical sense. I can’t safely say ‘to solve real-world problems’ there because calculating things like slope friction in an A-level mechanics paper lacks that kind of complexity haha. Nonetheless, the whole studying maths purely for the sake of studying maths thing isn’t for me. That much became clear when I did a lot of the past STEP/MAT papers as preparation for this year’s MAT exam. It was all far too abstract for me to enjoy. Rather than spending ages trying to understand why everything I’ve learnt works, I much prefer using the maths as more of a tool to come out with answers like what magnitude of force should I apply, solving transport problems with calculus, etc. It seems to me that problems of this type are ones I will encounter again and again on an engineering course. And not on a physics one, which would be more about studying physics just for the sake of it, much like a maths course of, well, studying maths for the sake of maths.
0
reply
Texxers
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#10
Report 3 years ago
#10
(Original post by dasistnumberwang)
Congrats on the interview and unconditional man. Are the other 3 likely to interview before giving an offer? Do you know what your first choice will be provided all the offers come through? It's a little frustrating knowing that I'm not exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to which engineering course due to lack of physics. But before I thought I wanted to do maths I actually wanted to do chemical engineering for like 2 years funnily enough. To me it's by far the most interesting one at first glance.

They're only predictions so far! So I can't get too complacent haha. In all honesty though, the courses at Bath, Imperial, etc. seem a lot more interesting than those at Oxbridge. The whole natural science/general engineering route at Cambridge is a bit off-putting. At the moment I'm just trying to find the right course as opposed to the right uni, which will hopefully happen soon! What in particular makes you choose chemical engineering over the others?
The other 3 are most likely to just give me the offer (I'm pretty sure I'll get most if not all offers tbh). And my top 2 right now are Surrey and Lboro.

Cambridge do offer Chem Eng students to go down the NatSci route, which IMO defeats the point of studying chemical engineering. It's only in the 3+4 years you actually specialize in Chemical Engineering. So if I were you I'd aim for Imperial since it's Chem Eng course is nothing short of sensational.

I was actually close to picking Mech Eng, but Chem Eng seems more interesting that all the other engineering disciplines. I love chemistry and I've always wanted to carry on studying chemistry so I was happy once I found out Chem Eng courses go over some organic and inorganic chemistry. Job opportunities for Chem Eng are amazing as well furthermore it's the best paid out of the core 4 engineering subjects.
0
reply
Smack
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#11
Report 3 years ago
#11
(Original post by dasistnumberwang)
I have since looked at applied mathematics degrees, and whilst the name is pretty, it’s the exact same course as the straight mathematics degree offered by the same university. Except the applied modules which are optional in straight mathematics are instead made compulsory in applied mathematics.

I appreciate that there wouldn’t be much sense in doing engineering if I wasn’t interested in the design/production side of things. But I would envisage that a massively rewarding part of the course would be to see all the physics, maths and other framework you’ve done behind a certain product come to life in a design project. It’s something I’m definitely open to despite not knowing much about. I know that things like the ethics and economic evaluation of processes will be studied as part of the course too, although that is something I know I’d find pretty interesting.

I see what you’re saying in that second paragraph, but I wouldn’t at all be taking engineering to avoid the likes of mathematical analysis. Rather that engineering concerns itself less with the whys and hows of maths, and more with application of mathematical methods to come out with useful, meaningful values. And that is exactly what I am looking for.

What draws me away from mathematics is my lack of desire to tackle all the theorem-proof stuff, and how this is very much the one main focus of the degree. So for me to say I dislike proofs and like maths is just nonsensical. The focus of an engineering degree seems a lot more suitable. What I actually love doing is studying the methods, and more so to apply these methods in a more practical sense. I can’t safely say ‘to solve real-world problems’ there because calculating things like slope friction in an A-level mechanics paper lacks that kind of complexity haha. Nonetheless, the whole studying maths purely for the sake of studying maths thing isn’t for me. That much became clear when I did a lot of the past STEP/MAT papers as preparation for this year’s MAT exam. It was all far too abstract for me to enjoy. Rather than spending ages trying to understand why everything I’ve learnt works, I much prefer using the maths as more of a tool to come out with answers like what magnitude of force should I apply, solving transport problems with calculus, etc. It seems to me that problems of this type are ones I will encounter again and again on an engineering course. And not on a physics one, which would be more about studying physics just for the sake of it, much like a maths course of, well, studying maths for the sake of maths.
I can definitely understand where you're coming from. When I was at a similar stage to you, I also generally quite liked doing the maths methods rather than the actual mathematics behind them.

I will further elaborate on what I have previously said regarding the maths (i.e. the mathematical methods) in an engineering degree.

From what I remember, the bulk of the maths was calculus and trigonometry. I did some complex numbers, but they're mainly used in electrical and electronics engineering. Matrices were used sometimes. Vectors made an appearance too, but I can't remember much about them. Laplace transforms and Fourier series were also used occasionally - Laplace in controls, for example.

I had four maths modules - but English universities typically only have two, as they start at a higher level than Scottish ones. A lot of the material I covered in my first two maths modules you would have covered in A-level maths and further maths. You can check out university module specifications for further and more up-to-date detail on what their maths modules cover.

This maths is then used in the other - I guess we can call them engineering - modules. However, not everything taught in the engineering modules will require the more sophisticated mathematical techniques covered during the maths modules - although, as previously mentioned, some universities are more mathematical than others. Ultimately, the maths is a tool to be utilised rather than the main focus.

Engineering degrees don't necessarily lock you into engineering careers. At your stage it's maybe a bit early to know exactly what you want to do for a career, and engineering degrees do leave other doors open. I wouldn't recommend studying an engineering degree if you are not also considering an engineering career, but you still have plenty of time to look into one, and if it is something you are considering, then obviously an engineering degree is a good option.
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Do you have the space and resources you need to succeed in home learning?

Yes I have everything I need (340)
55.74%
I don't have everything I need (270)
44.26%

Watched Threads

View All