Eli55
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I'm currently in a dilemma on whether to pursue a chemistry or general engineering degree. I've always had a strong love for science and mathematics, and currently would love to pursue a career in the energy side of technology and was wondering which degree would set me up better for that. I've always found science very stimulating, but have struggled in the past to decide between chemistry or physics. General engineering has very little chemistry within it as far as i understand and im worried i might miss chemistry but ultimately find the technology side of engineering far more endearing. I have high predicted grades and was wondering what anyone's point of view is on this. I'm worried that because i don't have a deeper understanding of engineering I may go into the degree knowing nothing and perhaps science, despite also being challenging, might have more similarities to the skills i already obtain. Also, if you study either of these subjects, what about the future within these subjects excites you and which degree offers you more interchangeable skills? Thank you!
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shortguy
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Chemical engineering grad here. I love science and if you love science don’t take engineering. I have a masters degree in this and honestly it was so boring. I went from loving my a levels to just praying my degree would do itself. The only thing that kept me going through uni was the social aspect. Throughly do research regarding the modules and course content. And for the love of god if you love science don’t do engineering at all
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Eli55
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(Original post by shortguy)
Chemical engineering grad here. I love science and if you love science don’t take engineering. I have a masters degree in this and honestly it was so boring. I went from loving my a levels to just praying my degree would do itself. The only thing that kept me going through uni was the social aspect. Thoroughly do research regarding the modules and course content. And for the love of god if you love science don’t do engineering at all
What in particular bored you about the degree? If you could retake it, what degree would you do instead and why? Thank you for your response, its definitely made me look at the reality of the situation a little differently.
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briteeshbro
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(Original post by shortguy)
Chemical engineering grad here. I love science and if you love science don’t take engineering. I have a masters degree in this and honestly it was so boring. I went from loving my a levels to just praying my degree would do itself. The only thing that kept me going through uni was the social aspect. Throughly do research regarding the modules and course content. And for the love of god if you love science don’t do engineering at all
How does one know they love engineering from doing pure sciences at A-Level though? Surely an interest in engineering would be born from a love of certain aspects of science?
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University of Bath
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(Original post by Eli55)
I'm currently in a dilemma on whether to pursue a chemistry or general engineering degree. I've always had a strong love for science and mathematics, and currently would love to pursue a career in the energy side of technology and was wondering which degree would set me up better for that. I've always found science very stimulating, but have struggled in the past to decide between chemistry or physics. General engineering has very little chemistry within it as far as i understand and im worried i might miss chemistry but ultimately find the technology side of engineering far more endearing. I have high predicted grades and was wondering what anyone's point of view is on this. I'm worried that because i don't have a deeper understanding of engineering I may go into the degree knowing nothing and perhaps science, despite also being challenging, might have more similarities to the skills i already obtain. Also, if you study either of these subjects, what about the future within these subjects excites you and which degree offers you more interchangeable skills? Thank you!
Hi there! My name is Leah and I am a chemical engineering student at the University of Bath.

I was very torn between chemistry and engineering when I was at school, so I can relate. At uni, chemistry and engineering are very different (as you said, little to no chemistry in an engineering degree) and both are very different from school level studies. It's important to note that I can only speak from my experience of chemcial engineering - I do not have first hand experience of chemistry or other engineering courses.

If you really love understanding why something occurs at molecular level, using fundamental concepts to explain behaviour and taking a much more theoretical approach, chemistry might be something you prefer. A chemistry degree will give you in an indepth understanding of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry in a lot more depth than you learnt it at school. Chemistry degrees also have a very big focus on practical work - you will spend lots of time in the lab and if you choose to pursue a scientist role in industry, this is likely to also be very lab heavy. Chemistry will feel more relatable than engineering as you have studied it at school, but it is still a big step up.

Engineering, on the other hand, is much more applied. You will be taught the fundamental physics concepts for the purpose of applying them a practical application. In chemical engineering, for example, we take maths physics, biology and chemistry concepts and apply them to process design (designing a reactor, separation processes, fluid and solids flowing). I will be honest, at times the chemical engineering theories behind these applications can be a bit dry - but you do find that you don't enjoy every aspect of your degree. As I have progressed through my degree, I have found I enjoy the more "sciencey" aspects of my degree - where the more fundamental science concepts are studied and we look at why things happen at a molecular level. I also enjoy applying chemical engineering concepts in a biology setting. Other engineering degrees focus on a variety things - I would recommend having a detailed look at the modules of the degree you want to study. One thing I think I have missed in my degree is learning the more fundamental aspects of science.

Both degrees have practical applications in industry and what you can do with both chemistry and engineering is very broad. I cannot speak for chemistry, but from my experience the opportunities in the energy technology field for engineers is huge and will continue to expand. There is lots of innovation in this area.

I would not worry about what you already know and the skills you have, as undergraduate degrees are designed to be taught from scratch. You will be eased into, so I would not recommend choosing chemistry just because you have studied it before. There are lots of new skills to be learnt from both degrees and these will be taught from a beginners level.

I think an engineering degree offers a lot of transferable skills. With the world become digitalised, the modelling and coding work that tends to be taught in an engineering degree provides a very good base for entering any technology field. I think there is less emphasis on these digital aspects in a chemistry degree, as more time is spent in the lab. Both degrees will teach you problem solving, analytical, critical thinking, numerical skills and so much more - unless the job is degree specific, a lot of employers do not tend to have a specific preference when searching for a STEM graduate.

I think engineering can sometimes be advertised as more employable. It sometimes said that it is easier to become a as an engineer in industry compared to a chemist in industry, and this was something that definitely swayed me to picking engineering over science. However, this is not good advice. Fundamentally I really enjoyed science and I think I would have really enjoyed a science degree - had I not been thinking about job prospects so much I probably would have pursued it. While job prospects are important, you will study a degree for 3/4 years - this is a very long time to be studying a subject in depth, and you really want to be passionate about the content you are learning. I find the applications of engineering very exciting but sometimes the fundamental principles of engineering vs. science are, in my opinion, more difficult to engage. This is a very personal opinion though.

All of science, engineering and technology has very exciting avenues at the moment and whichever degree you choose to pursue, I am sure you will find something you are really interested in and be able to pursue it. It's important to consider the content of the degree, what an engineer / chemist does day to day in industry and where you interests lie.

Apologies for the rather long post - I hope I did not sway you too much either way but rather gave you information to make an informed decision yourself. Remember that your own interests are unique, so try not to be swayed by other people's opinions and experiences. At the end of the day, your experience of studying and your interests may be very different to their's.

I hope this helps - do let me know if you have any questions

Leah
Placement Chemical Engineering Student
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