GreenCub
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(Cross-posting to the Maths sub-forum)

I'm in year 12, and I'm finding it difficult to decide whether to do a maths or engineering degree.

I take Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry and I have been considering Chemical Engineering for a while now.

I've always been interested in science and I like the idea of a career that involves the application of science/maths to solve real world problems. I've done a number of engineering super-curricular activities so I would probably have a better chance of getting into a top university for ChemEng than maths. However, I've done some research and it seems as though many engineers don't really use very much maths in their actual jobs, compared to the degree. In addition, I'm not sure whether I would definitely enjoy being an engineer and I've heard some negative things about chemical engineers only being paid well because of having to work in undesirable, remote areas. I've also heard negative things about the degree not being 'interesting' (perhaps these people were expecting something different?) and being overly focused on pipes and tanks.

As for maths, I'm generally a lot more interested in proofs and understanding things, as opposed to just repeatedly plugging numbers into a formula. I have noticed I've been spending a lot of time doing maths proofs and challenge questions outside of class and the material studied in a Maths course seems interesting and more understanding-based compared to A level.

I really like the idea of doing a Maths degree, but the possibility of doing engineering is dragging me in the other direction and I'm not sure which one I'd actually prefer. I wouldn't want to be an accountant but I wouldn't mind a career in other branches of finance that are more mathematical. I'm also aware that maths graduates can work for a wide variety of companies doing mathematical modelling etc.

The main thing it comes down to is that I think I'd enjoy doing a maths degree a bit more than a chemical engineering degree (not by a lot), but I'd be much more likely to get into a top university for engineering (considering I don't have maths olympiads and I do have quite a few engineering supercurriculars) and I like the idea of a career that involves the application of scientific concepts.

Does anyone have any advice on how I should choose between these?
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tdag
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(Original post by GreenCub)
(Cross-posting to the Maths sub-forum)

I'm in year 12, and I'm finding it difficult to decide whether to do a maths or engineering degree.

I take Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry and I have been considering Chemical Engineering for a while now.

I've always been interested in science and I like the idea of a career that involves the application of science/maths to solve real world problems. I've done a number of engineering super-curricular activities so I would probably have a better chance of getting into a top university for ChemEng than maths. However, I've done some research and it seems as though many engineers don't really use very much maths in their actual jobs, compared to the degree. In addition, I'm not sure whether I would definitely enjoy being an engineer and I've heard some negative things about chemical engineers only being paid well because of having to work in undesirable, remote areas. I've also heard negative things about the degree not being 'interesting' (perhaps these people were expecting something different?) and being overly focused on pipes and tanks.

As for maths, I'm generally a lot more interested in proofs and understanding things, as opposed to just repeatedly plugging numbers into a formula. I have noticed I've been spending a lot of time doing maths proofs and challenge questions outside of class and the material studied in a Maths course seems interesting and more understanding-based compared to A level.

I really like the idea of doing a Maths degree, but the possibility of doing engineering is dragging me in the other direction and I'm not sure which one I'd actually prefer. I wouldn't want to be an accountant but I wouldn't mind a career in other branches of finance that are more mathematical. I'm also aware that maths graduates can work for a wide variety of companies doing mathematical modelling etc.

The main thing it comes down to is that I think I'd enjoy doing a maths degree a bit more than a chemical engineering degree (not by a lot), but I'd be much more likely to get into a top university for engineering (considering I don't have maths olympiads and I do have quite a few engineering supercurriculars) and I like the idea of a career that involves the application of scientific concepts. Does anyone have any advice on how I should choose between these?
You sound like me in year 12 XD, although you've done a lot more extracurricular stuff. my advice: do engineering unless you want to end up as an accountant/maths teacher or professor.
Is chem engineering the only you've considered? or are there other types of engineering?

I remember I wanted to do chem eng until I learnt about Materials Science and engineering which is really quite interesting, and has more maths involved.
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1Person
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What about studying Engineering Mathematics then?

For example: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/under...eng-eng-maths/
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Smack
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(Original post by GreenCub)
(Cross-posting to the Maths sub-forum)

I'm in year 12, and I'm finding it difficult to decide whether to do a maths or engineering degree.

I take Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry and I have been considering Chemical Engineering for a while now.

I've always been interested in science and I like the idea of a career that involves the application of science/maths to solve real world problems. I've done a number of engineering super-curricular activities so I would probably have a better chance of getting into a top university for ChemEng than maths. However, I've done some research and it seems as though many engineers don't really use very much maths in their actual jobs, compared to the degree. In addition, I'm not sure whether I would definitely enjoy being an engineer and I've heard some negative things about chemical engineers only being paid well because of having to work in undesirable, remote areas. I've also heard negative things about the degree not being 'interesting' (perhaps these people were expecting something different?) and being overly focused on pipes and tanks.

As for maths, I'm generally a lot more interested in proofs and understanding things, as opposed to just repeatedly plugging numbers into a formula. I have noticed I've been spending a lot of time doing maths proofs and challenge questions outside of class and the material studied in a Maths course seems interesting and more understanding-based compared to A level.

I really like the idea of doing a Maths degree, but the possibility of doing engineering is dragging me in the other direction and I'm not sure which one I'd actually prefer. I wouldn't want to be an accountant but I wouldn't mind a career in other branches of finance that are more mathematical. I'm also aware that maths graduates can work for a wide variety of companies doing mathematical modelling etc.

The main thing it comes down to is that I think I'd enjoy doing a maths degree a bit more than a chemical engineering degree (not by a lot), but I'd be much more likely to get into a top university for engineering (considering I don't have maths olympiads and I do have quite a few engineering supercurriculars) and I like the idea of a career that involves the application of scientific concepts.

Does anyone have any advice on how I should choose between these?
It sounds like you're much more interested in maths, so that's what I'd recommend.

What are your grades and subjects? For STEM degrees like engineering maths, they're much more interested in them than extra or supercurriculars - so if your grades are up to par you're unlikely to struggle getting offers for either.
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GreenCub
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#5
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(Original post by tdag)
You sound like me in year 12 XD, although you've done a lot more extracurricular stuff. my advice: do engineering unless you want to end up as an accountant/maths teacher or professor.
Is chem engineering the only you've considered? or are there other types of engineering?

I remember I wanted to do chem eng until I learnt about Materials Science and engineering which is really quite interesting, and has more maths involved.
^ I've only really considered chemical engineering.

I'm well aware that chemical engineering is not chemistry and that liking chemistry isn't a good reason to choose the course, but when I was younger I was set on doing a chemistry degree until I started considering other options and chemical engineering seemed a more natural option to consider (being interested in chemistry as well as maths and physics).

As far as engineering is concerned, I think I'd be more interested in process engineering (as is done in chemeng) as opposed to CAD/design elements that are more common in other engineering fields.

(Original post by Smack)
It sounds like you're much more interested in maths, so that's what I'd recommend.

What are your grades and subjects? For STEM degrees like engineering maths, they're much more interested in them than extra or supercurriculars - so if your grades are up to par you're unlikely to struggle getting offers for either.
^ As stated in the opening post: Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry. I got As and A*s for my autumn term 'working-at-level' grades and I think I'd be capable of getting A*s in all of them (not to brag).

I really want to apply to Cambridge and other top universities which do care about 'engagement with the subject' and supercurriculars (I haven't focused on irrelevant extracurriculars at all). For maths I still have a concern since in comparison to all the applicants with UKMT Olympiads I might be at a disadvantage considering how competitive it is.
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Max1989
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One of my friends was kinda in this situation, he loved maths but also wanted to do mechanical engineering, as he enjoyed the mechanics side of maths, using formulas to solve things and how everything made sense. But he also enjoyed the solving of equations and the raw proofs and methods behind most mathematical concepts. He was adamant of maths until he started researching courses and eventually decided on Physics instead, as it had the best of both worlds. I myself am in year 13, doing Physics, maths, further maths and biology, but hoping to go into a anatomical/medical engineering route with hope of doing clinical work. So you doors aren't just open to maths and engineering degrees you'll be surprised what's out there, you still have a good majority of the year to research and find stuff. In my opinion I'd not do maths purley as there is less options with what you can do with it, although you will find a job you'll enjoy and you will probably enjoy the course it is still a narrow field. With engineering however many courses no matter the engineering discipline have similar backbones so you can really get into any engineering job no matter the degree, especially if that degree is from a good university. So if I was you I'd first investigate other engineering disciplines. And in engineering you still need to understand the formula to use it, it is not like physics where you are just given a formula where you don't really need to know what's what then use it.
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Max1989
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(Original post by GreenCub)
^ I've only really considered chemical engineering.

I'm well aware that chemical engineering is not chemistry and that liking chemistry isn't a good reason to choose the course, but when I was younger I was set on doing a chemistry degree until I started considering other options and chemical engineering seemed a more natural option to consider (being interested in chemistry as well as maths and physics).
Mabey chemical modeling/drug modelling ,it's maths with a more practical purpose? using maths instead of human test subjects, it's an interesting field.
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ML8020
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(Original post by GreenCub)
(Cross-posting to the Maths sub-forum)

I'm in year 12, and I'm finding it difficult to decide whether to do a maths or engineering degree.

I take Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry and I have been considering Chemical Engineering for a while now.

I've always been interested in science and I like the idea of a career that involves the application of science/maths to solve real world problems. I've done a number of engineering super-curricular activities so I would probably have a better chance of getting into a top university for ChemEng than maths. However, I've done some research and it seems as though many engineers don't really use very much maths in their actual jobs, compared to the degree. In addition, I'm not sure whether I would definitely enjoy being an engineer and I've heard some negative things about chemical engineers only being paid well because of having to work in undesirable, remote areas. I've also heard negative things about the degree not being 'interesting' (perhaps these people were expecting something different?) and being overly focused on pipes and tanks.

As for maths, I'm generally a lot more interested in proofs and understanding things, as opposed to just repeatedly plugging numbers into a formula. I have noticed I've been spending a lot of time doing maths proofs and challenge questions outside of class and the material studied in a Maths course seems interesting and more understanding-based compared to A level.

I really like the idea of doing a Maths degree, but the possibility of doing engineering is dragging me in the other direction and I'm not sure which one I'd actually prefer. I wouldn't want to be an accountant but I wouldn't mind a career in other branches of finance that are more mathematical. I'm also aware that maths graduates can work for a wide variety of companies doing mathematical modelling etc.

The main thing it comes down to is that I think I'd enjoy doing a maths degree a bit more than a chemical engineering degree (not by a lot), but I'd be much more likely to get into a top university for engineering (considering I don't have maths olympiads and I do have quite a few engineering supercurriculars) and I like the idea of a career that involves the application of scientific concepts.

Does anyone have any advice on how I should choose between these?
Judging from your words I feel you like Maths more, but at the same time it might be true that your chance of getting into Cambridge is higher if you apply for ChemEng - ChemEng appreciates a good breadth of Maths and Sciences subjects (which you have shown by taking 4 STEM A levels and some supercurriculars), whereas Maths appreciates a superb depth in purely mathematical understanding more (which you might not be able to show this in your application, any UKMT Maths Challenges or Maths Olympiad medals?) And if you're applying for Cambridge ChemEng, are you thinking of the NatSci route or the Engineering route?

In terms of content, I have to stress again: Similar to any other Engineering disciplines, ChemEng is 95% Physics+Maths (And the question types are very similar to Physics I would say) as well. Don't expect it to be much different from other streams of Engineering just because its name appears to be more related to Chemistry - it is not. I'm in year 2 of my ChemEng degree now and I don't even have a single Chemistry course this year lol. You will find little to none Chemistry throughout the degree but loads of physical modelling, be ready to see (partial) differentials and integrals everywhere. Oh and what's your attitude towards Biology? Apparently there are compulsory Biology modules and questions in ChemEng as well, not too much, but enough to cause some nuisance if the reason why you became a physical scientist is you hated Biology.

I think one point that worths considering is the problem of labs as well. Maths and ChemEng both have similar amount of lecture hours (probably ~15 hours per week), but for NatSci/Engineering disciplines you are usually required to spend another ~10 hours in lab in the afternoon every week, while Maths students usually have their afternoons free (by free I mean self-studying anyway but at least no compulsory labs nor they need to hand in lab reports in addition to supervision work). Would you mind to take on these extra lab hours and lab reports?
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Smack
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(Original post by GreenCub)
^ As stated in the opening post: Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry. I got As and A*s for my autumn term 'working-at-level' grades and I think I'd be capable of getting A*s in all of them (not to brag).

I really want to apply to Cambridge and other top universities which do care about 'engagement with the subject' and supercurriculars (I haven't focused on irrelevant extracurriculars at all). For maths I still have a concern since in comparison to all the applicants with UKMT Olympiads I might be at a disadvantage considering how competitive it is.
Whoops, missed that. With those grades you shouldn't have trouble getting plenty of offers for any engineering or maths degree, except perhaps at places like Cambridge that interview and also consider relevant super-curriculars. You can apply for up to five universities.

I wouldn't just focus on Cambridge, though, at possibly the expense of choosing the right course for you.
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