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Is mechanical engineering a good degree for me?

A level student here, studying maths, physics and further maths. Hold an offer to study Mech Eng at Queen Mary University of London. I wanted to know if mechanical engineering is generally a good degree? I'm not sure what career I want and I wasn't sure what degree to study. But I enjoyed maths and physics and problem solving, so I applied for Mech Eng. After looking at the modules, it did seem slightly interesting, but a lot of people say that you should be passionate about your degree. I wouldn't say I'm passionate about Mechanical Engineering, nor do I necessarily wish to become a Mechanical Engineer, but the degree does seem a little interesting, so I don't think I'd hate it. Having said that, I wouldn't mind a maths or finance degree but I think a mechanical engineering degree would have better prospects. Or am I wrong?

However, I'm not too good at group projects or practicals that much, would that be a big hint not to study this? When I do understand a practical, I don't mind it, however most of the times I'm confused.

So my questions are, would mechanical engineering be a good degree for me? If not, what suggestions do you have? Another thing that attracted me to it is, I've heard it's a general degree, so after graduating I can apply for jobs in other engineering disciplines, such as electrical, aeronautical and maybe chemical? And also due to the maths and problem solving skills developed, finance is potentially a sector a Mech Eng graduate could enter. I really don't want to limit my career options now. Also a gap year is unfortunately not an option. Thank you

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Reply 1
What about a physics degree ?
Original post by 161BMW
What about a physics degree ?

I don't think it has as much as prospects as Mech Eng, since most Engineering jobs won't be available to Physics graduates
Reply 3
Original post by Not Too Sure
I don't think it has as much as prospects as Mech Eng, since most Engineering jobs won't be available to Physics graduates


Mech Eng is mainly useful if you want to be an engineer. It is harder to be an engineer with a physics degree.
@mnot @Smack

I think you two have some knowledge on this topic?
Original post by 161BMW
Mech Eng is mainly useful if you want to be an engineer. It is harder to be an engineer with a physics degree.

Yeah, that's the thing. If I do decide I want to become an engineer. It would be difficult to do so with a Physics degree, and I'd like to keep my options open, if that makes sense? Since I'm not sure what career I want.

Also are you at uni?
You can do lots of things with a mechanical engineering degree. You could be working with CAD software, designing medical systems, or even designing aeroplanes.

Alternatively, it would open the door for careers outside of mechanical engineering. E.g. software development, data science, quant finance, accountancy, actuarial work, teaching, etc.
Original post by Not Too Sure
A level student here, studying maths, physics and further maths. Hold an offer to study Mech Eng at Queen Mary University of London. I wanted to know if mechanical engineering is generally a good degree? I'm not sure what career I want and I wasn't sure what degree to study. But I enjoyed maths and physics and problem solving, so I applied for Mech Eng. After looking at the modules, it did seem slightly interesting, but a lot of people say that you should be passionate about your degree. I wouldn't say I'm passionate about Mechanical Engineering, nor do I necessarily wish to become a Mechanical Engineer, but the degree does seem a little interesting, so I don't think I'd hate it. Having said that, I wouldn't mind a maths or finance degree but I think a mechanical engineering degree would have better prospects. Or am I wrong?

However, I'm not too good at group projects or practicals that much, would that be a big hint not to study this? When I do understand a practical, I don't mind it, however most of the times I'm confused.

So my questions are, would mechanical engineering be a good degree for me? If not, what suggestions do you have? Another thing that attracted me to it is, I've heard it's a general degree, so after graduating I can apply for jobs in other engineering disciplines, such as electrical, aeronautical and maybe chemical? And also due to the maths and problem solving skills developed, finance is potentially a sector a Mech Eng graduate could enter. I really don't want to limit my career options now. Also a gap year is unfortunately not an option. Thank you

The prospects benefit of engineering over finance more relate to if you want to work in engineering. If you want to work in finance or a more general role then I would just pick whatever degree seems most interesting to you but you can still go down this path with the engineering degree...

The practical element isnt a big deal in engineering. You'll have some labs but most of the degree will be academic.

Basically just pick the subject that interests you the most, if its engineering, mech-eng is great. I really enjoyed my degree's. If its maths id go with that.
Original post by MalcolmX
You can do lots of things with a mechanical engineering degree. You could be working with CAD software, designing medical systems, or even designing aeroplanes.

Alternatively, it would open the door for careers outside of mechanical engineering. E.g. software development, data science, quant finance, accountancy, actuarial work, teaching, etc.

Yeah, that's why it really appeals to me. It opens so much doors, and I can still become a mechanical engineer, or even apply for jobs in other engineering disciplines. So this is probably the best course for me now, given that I'm not sure of the career I want?

Also what course did you study at university?
Original post by Not Too Sure
Yeah, that's why it really appeals to me. It opens so much doors, and I can still become a mechanical engineer, or even apply for jobs in other engineering disciplines. So this is probably the best course for me now, given that I'm not sure of the career I want?

Also what course did you study at university?

I did computer science at university. If you have aptitude in physics and maths and you want to do a degree that will give you lots of job opportunities, mechanical engineering makes sense.
Original post by Not Too Sure
A level student here, studying maths, physics and further maths. Hold an offer to study Mech Eng at Queen Mary University of London. I wanted to know if mechanical engineering is generally a good degree? I'm not sure what career I want and I wasn't sure what degree to study. But I enjoyed maths and physics and problem solving, so I applied for Mech Eng. After looking at the modules, it did seem slightly interesting, but a lot of people say that you should be passionate about your degree. I wouldn't say I'm passionate about Mechanical Engineering, nor do I necessarily wish to become a Mechanical Engineer, but the degree does seem a little interesting, so I don't think I'd hate it. Having said that, I wouldn't mind a maths or finance degree but I think a mechanical engineering degree would have better prospects. Or am I wrong?

However, I'm not too good at group projects or practicals that much, would that be a big hint not to study this? When I do understand a practical, I don't mind it, however most of the times I'm confused.

So my questions are, would mechanical engineering be a good degree for me? If not, what suggestions do you have? Another thing that attracted me to it is, I've heard it's a general degree, so after graduating I can apply for jobs in other engineering disciplines, such as electrical, aeronautical and maybe chemical? And also due to the maths and problem solving skills developed, finance is potentially a sector a Mech Eng graduate could enter. I really don't want to limit my career options now. Also a gap year is unfortunately not an option. Thank you


I don't necessarily think you absolutely must be passionate about your degree; there's nothing wrong with treating it as a means to an ends, and many subjects - engineering being one of them - aren't ones you'll have had prior exposure anyway. As long as you are actually considering a career in engineering, then it's a fine choice of degree. It doesn't commit you to the career. I wouldn't recommend it if you actively were not considering a career in it, though, certainly not if you just want to study a traditionally "difficult" or "respectable" degree you can use to try to get into another field. If that's the case, I'd recommend you study something either more relevant or something you find more interesting.

You don't have to be particularly good at practicals or group work as although they are in the degree, they're not a major component - your final classification will be almost exclusively based on exam marks, some coursework that you do, and your dissertation.

Mechanical engineering is not general engineering, and afterwards you would not be able to apply for jobs in other, specialist engineering fields. The degree is quite broad, covering many different areas, but this is not necessarily the same as being able to apply to any engineering job. Although there are many jobs that accept applications from similar degrees, e.g. from mech eng, aero, civil, that cover the same core skills; for example, I currently work in pipelines engineering, which can you get into from mech, civil, aero or naval architecture, basically anything where you cover enough solid mechanics. Lots of job titles don't necessarily correlate to specific degrees, which can complicate things a bit particularly when explaining to pre-university students, but by the time you're ready to graduate you'll have a much better understanding of the roles available.
Original post by mnot
The prospects benefit of engineering over finance more relate to if you want to work in engineering. If you want to work in finance or a more general role then I would just pick whatever degree seems most interesting to you but you can still go down this path with the engineering degree...

The practical element isnt a big deal in engineering. You'll have some labs but most of the degree will be academic.

Basically just pick the subject that interests you the most, if its engineering, mech-eng is great. I really enjoyed my degree's. If its maths id go with that.


Thanks for the insight. Found it very useful.

What did you mean by the first sentence though? I'm still studying an engineering degree so I should still be able to apply for engineering graduate positions, right?
A maths/physics degree *might* be the most interesting, that or Mechanical Engineering, however with maths or physics, I don't think engineering jobs are possible.

What degree did you study?
Reply 12
Original post by Not Too Sure
Yeah, that's the thing. If I do decide I want to become an engineer. It would be difficult to do so with a Physics degree, and I'd like to keep my options open, if that makes sense? Since I'm not sure what career I want.

Also are you at uni?


No not yet.
Original post by MalcolmX
I did computer science at university. If you have aptitude in physics and maths and you want to do a degree that will give you lots of job opportunities, mechanical engineering makes sense.

Kl
Thanks for the help
Original post by Smack
I don't necessarily think you absolutely must be passionate about your degree; there's nothing wrong with treating it as a means to an ends, and many subjects - engineering being one of them - aren't ones you'll have had prior exposure anyway. As long as you are actually considering a career in engineering, then it's a fine choice of degree. It doesn't commit you to the career. I wouldn't recommend it if you actively were not considering a career in it, though, certainly not if you just want to study a traditionally "difficult" or "respectable" degree you can use to try to get into another field. If that's the case, I'd recommend you study something either more relevant or something you find more interesting.

You don't have to be particularly good at practicals or group work as although they are in the degree, they're not a major component - your final classification will be almost exclusively based on exam marks, some coursework that you do, and your dissertation.

Mechanical engineering is not general engineering, and afterwards you would not be able to apply for jobs in other, specialist engineering fields. The degree is quite broad, covering many different areas, but this is not necessarily the same as being able to apply to any engineering job. Although there are many jobs that accept applications from similar degrees, e.g. from mech eng, aero, civil, that cover the same core skills; for example, I currently work in pipelines engineering, which can you get into from mech, civil, aero or naval architecture, basically anything where you cover enough solid mechanics. Lots of job titles don't necessarily correlate to specific degrees, which can complicate things a bit particularly when explaining to pre-university students, but by the time you're ready to graduate you'll have a much better understanding of the roles available.

Yeah, a career in mechanical engineering is an option at the moment, but not 100% sure. Probs like 40% atm. Let's suppose I wanted a respected degree that I could use to get into another field. What would be a good degree for that?

Oh ok. That's good to know. But I'll still try to improve those skills.

So with some jobs, I'll be able to apply, others, maybe not and it depends on the position and requirments. Got it. I think I understood your last point, what matters more is the content of your degree and the skills developed, right? Such as problem solving.

Also what did you study at uni, Mechanical Engineering?
Reply 15
Original post by Not Too Sure
Yeah, a career in mechanical engineering is an option at the moment, but not 100% sure. Probs like 40% atm. Let's suppose I wanted a respected degree that I could use to get into another field. What would be a good degree for that?

Oh ok. That's good to know. But I'll still try to improve those skills.

So with some jobs, I'll be able to apply, others, maybe not and it depends on the position and requirments. Got it. I think I understood your last point, what matters more is the content of your degree and the skills developed, right? Such as problem solving.

Also what did you study at uni, Mechanical Engineering?

It depends on the field you want to get into. And the degree.

I think can be a bit of a waste learning engineering and then not going into engineering. It like learning medicine then deciding you don’t want to be a doctor. Imagine if 50% of medical students did that ?

If you want to keep the engineer door open you need an engineering degree.

As for the term “respected“. It is a vague term. Respected for who ? You don’t know what fields you want to go into it seems from what you said.

Maths, Physics you could use to go into finance but it would be harder to be an engineer although you may be able to go into engineering fields.
Original post by Not Too Sure
Yeah, a career in mechanical engineering is an option at the moment, but not 100% sure. Probs like 40% atm. Let's suppose I wanted a respected degree that I could use to get into another field. What would be a good degree for that?


Engineering might be one of them. I suppose anything "traditional", like maths, physics, economics, law, etc... although if it's something numerical you want to go into then a numerical degree would almost certainly help.


So with some jobs, I'll be able to apply, others, maybe not and it depends on the position and requirments. Got it. I think I understood your last point, what matters more is the content of your degree and the skills developed, right? Such as problem solving.


In engineering you're partially right. Some - probably many actually - positions can be quite specific in the name of the degree they request. For example, many of the positions people I was at university with have did quite specifically want a mechanical engineering degree, because they were genuine mechanical engineering positions (they involve machinery and process equipment). If you want to be a structural engineer that designs bridges or buildings, the companies that do that will almost certainly want you to have a civil & structural engineering degree; however, if you want to be a structural engineering that designs offshore wind turbine structures then mech eng is generally fine for that. It's complicated, I know.


Also what did you study at uni, Mechanical Engineering?


Yes.
Original post by Smack
Engineering might be one of them. I suppose anything "traditional", like maths, physics, economics, law, etc... although if it's something numerical you want to go into then a numerical degree would almost certainly help.



In engineering you're partially right. Some - probably many actually - positions can be quite specific in the name of the degree they request. For example, many of the positions people I was at university with have did quite specifically want a mechanical engineering degree, because they were genuine mechanical engineering positions (they involve machinery and process equipment). If you want to be a structural engineer that designs bridges or buildings, the companies that do that will almost certainly want you to have a civil & structural engineering degree; however, if you want to be a structural engineering that designs offshore wind turbine structures then mech eng is generally fine for that. It's complicated, I know.



Yes.


Oh I kinda get it, not 100%, but I think I get what your're saying. Thank you for the insight. Based on your experience, would you say most engineering jobs require a specific a degree? Or are most somewhat flexible and will consider similar degrees?
Original post by 161BMW
It depends on the field you want to get into. And the degree.

I think can be a bit of a waste learning engineering and then not going into engineering. It like learning medicine then deciding you don’t want to be a doctor. Imagine if 50% of medical students did that ?

If you want to keep the engineer door open you need an engineering degree.

As for the term “respected“. It is a vague term. Respected for who ? You don’t know what fields you want to go into it seems from what you said.

Maths, Physics you could use to go into finance but it would be harder to be an engineer although you may be able to go into engineering fields.


Yeah I suppose so, but are 18 year old's generally meant to know what career they wish to pursue without any experience or exposure? I'm considering a career in engineering yeah, but not certain in it. Reading on university's websites, they usually have a list of companies and position previous graduates have gone on to work at, and I've noticed some of them aren't Engineering related.

Respected generally I guess, when it comes to applying for jobs, a degree which will suggest the student has the most valuable skills.
Original post by Not Too Sure
Oh I kinda get it, not 100%, but I think I get what your're saying. Thank you for the insight. Based on your experience, would you say most engineering jobs require a specific a degree? Or are most somewhat flexible and will consider similar degrees?


A mixture. At the graduate level possibly more towards the former (e.g. some companies might not consider an aerospace degree suitable for a graduate mechanical engineer - particularly if it's a sector that doesn't is less familiar with such similar degrees). Then the further away from your first job the less your degree matters (but you'll typically have need a relevant degree to get on the ladder anyway).

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