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Aerospace, mechanical or electrical engineering?

Hi there,
I’m current finding out what different uni courses have to offer and I’ve narrowed it down to 3 choices. I really enjoy maths and physics at college/high school and I’m very interested in building robots and high tech. I love the aerospace side of it all too.
If someone could point out key differences between the 3 that would be brilliant. I’ve heard mechanical involves lots of work on materials which I’m a lot less interested in too.
Many thanks
I think some universities have sessions to show what each type of engineering is - Southampton used to. Could you ask your physics teacher if they know of any?
Original post by joshspullen
Hi there,
I’m current finding out what different uni courses have to offer and I’ve narrowed it down to 3 choices. I really enjoy maths and physics at college/high school and I’m very interested in building robots and high tech. I love the aerospace side of it all too.
If someone could point out key differences between the 3 that would be brilliant. I’ve heard mechanical involves lots of work on materials which I’m a lot less interested in too.
Many thanks

If you like robots and high tech, electronics and software would be the best choice. Aerospace is essentially a specialised type of mechanical engineering degree focused on the aero industry. Mechanical itself is mainly concerned with physical equipment that is subject to things like forces, pressures, temperatures, vibrations, etc., so is definitely involved in robotics and similar applications (and you'll study controls too, which is definitely relevant to robotics). But today robotics is probably more about the electronics and software element than the traditional mechanical element (but that's not to say you can't pick up relevant bits of software, for example, from a mechanical background).
(edited 1 year ago)
Mechanical & aero are very similar, aero is really a specialisation of mechanical.

Electrical engineering is a bit different but also a great subject, almost everything in the modern world is really electrified in some capacity (of course all systems integrate with each other, electrical systems often have thermal problems (mechanical) and mechanical systems nowadays are being increasingly electrified).

On the robotics id say have you considered mechatronics?

If you enjoy aerospace, I suppose it depends what appeals to you (im going to assume its not laplace transforms...) so perhaps mechanical or aerospace is the way to go.

You can of course probably go into either the aerospace or robotics industries from electrical & electronic engineering although this degree will impact what role you have...
Original post by joshspullen
Hi there,
I’m current finding out what different uni courses have to offer and I’ve narrowed it down to 3 choices. I really enjoy maths and physics at college/high school and I’m very interested in building robots and high tech. I love the aerospace side of it all too.
If someone could point out key differences between the 3 that would be brilliant. I’ve heard mechanical involves lots of work on materials which I’m a lot less interested in too.
Many thanks

I think that electrical engineering or mechanical engineering would be better. I would rule out aerospace if I were you. If you enjoy aerospace engineering then that's okay, but I just think that there aren't that many direct roles that require aerospace engineers. One of the best companies would be Airbus, Boeing or Rolls Royce and there is a huge emphasis on aircraft engines and systems engineering. I think that aerospace engineering degree is too specialised, but obviously if your goal is to become an engineer in aerospace then that's all you need.

Mechanical and electrical engineering degrees bring better job prospects because they are needed everywhere. I have seen plenty of graduate schemes advertising for mechanical and electrical engineers specifically. Not so much for aerospace engineers. However, if aerospace engineering is what you love, then it's not meant to discourage in any way.

Another thing that you mustn't forget is that regardless of what engineering degree you'll do, you will need a basic understanding of materials, structures and electronics. My aeronautics and astronautics course covered all of these aspect in first year. Also, be expected to do some CAD modelling and work with drawings. I love maths and physics as well, but I absolutely hate drawings and CAD, because it's not my thing, so keep those things in mind.
(edited 1 year ago)
Thanks a lot for your answers, they really help me.
To be honest I was just really interested in aerospace for the tech side of it, so I probably shouldn’t specialise in that.
The debate now is between mechanical and electrical. Does anyone know what actual jobs those two degrees lead on to after and how they’re different?
Original post by joshspullen
Thanks a lot for your answers, they really help me.
To be honest I was just really interested in aerospace for the tech side of it, so I probably shouldn’t specialise in that.
The debate now is between mechanical and electrical. Does anyone know what actual jobs those two degrees lead on to after and how they’re different?

Well they look at different things.

Mechanical studies mechanical systems (thermodynamics, kinematics, stress, fluid mechanics.... how do solid bodies & fluids interact with energy & forces for different applications...) industries: basically everything.

Electrical engineers work with electrical & electronic systems... which are also everywhere (it’s about using electrical architecture & an understanding physics that governs electrical systems to utilise it for our benefit in some kind of output)... and again electrical engineers are everywhere!

They often work together! But fundamentally what you will be learning about will be different (thermodynamics or capacitance what appeals to you more...) im not an electrical engineer so I can’t offer as much detail on that course.
Bath - Integrated Mechanical and Electrical Engineering degree - including placement year option - https://www.bath.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate-2022/integrated-mechanical-and-electrical-engineering/
Aerospace engineers design, test and control the production of aircraft, spacecraft, and rockets. In addition, they are developing new technologies for use in aviation, defense systems, and space exploration. The field is divided into two areas of attention: vehicles flying in the Earth's atmosphere (aeronautics), and vehicles flying in space (space). Due to the sophistication of modern aircraft, rockets, and spacecraft, a team of engineers from many different disciplines is needed to create these vehicles. For example, a mechanical engineer can design an engine, a civil engineer can design a structure, and a computer engineer can design a flight control computer, I am actually an aerospace engineer now and I help students choose their paths, I was such a student in my time but now I work for the engineering company Engre.co and my colleagues wrote the interesting article about aerospace engineering right here: https://engre.co/blogs/articles/what-does-an-aerospace-stress-engineer-do-in-aircraft-industry/. In fact, all of these disciplines will contribute to the whole process. One of the best ways to explore how aerospace engineering can work is to learn about the people who are currently working in the field. Listen to Aldo Spadoni on "A Day in the Life of an Aerospace Engineer" here https://youtu.be/Ws1MLVzM2uU and read an article about him. Immerse yourself in aerospace engineering topics that interest you! For example, the Apollo program, which successfully sent six United States manned missions to the moon, has done much more than sending humans into space. This has led to a number of modern inventions that are sold today for commercial use. See the "20 Inventions We Wouldn't Have Without Space Travel" infographic from NASA https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/infographics/infographic.view.php?id=11358. What about the other specialties, I can not advise you anything, but for me, the aerospace direction is the best, because it includes many aspects of other engineering areas.

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