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Is it better to do your undergrad in mechanical engineering and for grad school, focus on the actual career?

Hello, I am currently a junior and I am preparing for my major and the college that I want to be enrolled in. I am interested in being a part of STEM however I am not sure what I want to do exactly.

Some of my career interests include aerospace, biotech, biomedical, nuclear engineer, robotics, genetic engineering, forensic science or criminal justice, and cyber security.

I am also planning on double majoring as an economic + STEM.

However, since I am not sure what I want to do as a career choice and want to be able to live as confortably as possible, I am planning on getting a degree that is worth my time and money.

So, I am currently thinking of majoring in mechanical engineering for my bachelor´s and do my career option for my master´s.

Is this a good idea for me or should I only do my associates in mechanical and then focus on my career goals in STEM?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Stephen’s Answer

Hello,

I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering but I do not have a masters, so I will mostly just address the undergrad portion of your question. Since you have a such a wide variety of interests and potential careers I think majoring in Mechanical Engineering to start could b a good idea. Since mechanical is a broad field, you will take courses in chemistry, programming, physics, fluid dynamics and other courses that may help you determine what you are most interested in. Getting exposure to programming may help you see if cyber security is really what you want to do and taking chemistry can help determine if you would want to do forensic science or biotech. So I think mechanical is potentially a good major to start out with to get exposure to a variety of subjects and you can always change majors after a year or 2 if you decide your passion is for something else. Then you can focus on that for your Masters or other educational endeavor.

If you do switch majors after a year or 2 and you switch from mechanical to one of the other majors you mentioned above, it's very possible that you could still graduate undergrad in 4 years since most of the classes would count towards the other major, I would recommend talking with an advisor or counselor at whatever college you attend so that you can better understand the requirements for each major and see which courses would count towards what majors. For example, both mechanical engineers and forensic scientists will likely need to take chemistry in the first year but there may be multiple chemistry course options and they may not all count towards the major requirements. My university had a "chemistry for engineers" course that was different than what chemistry majors needed to take. Just something to look into.

Good luck!
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Jaiyta’s Answer

Hello!!

This is a good question! I feel you should get a degree in what interests you the most. You mention getting a masters too. If you dont do well in BS it narrows your options for masters (in terms of colleges and degrees), so it is very important to pursue what excites you the most. If mechanical engineering is something that you think you will succeed in, you should go for that.
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David’s Answer

Freddie - You've done some good thinking! A mechanical engineering degree is extremely versatile and will serve you well. I caution against the temptation to add a major in economics, as the engineering degree will consume a lot of your time. As you pursue a four-year degree you will have opportunities for internships; these can be extremely valuable in providing real-world experience in potential careers and in helping you determine your path. By your junior year you should have a much clearer understanding. Another consideration is that many master's programs are created to be completed while you are working, so you could earn your B.S. and enter the workforce and continue working toward the advanced degree.
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rene’s Answer

Another factor to consider is that some companies pay for your grad school as well as other courses. I graduated with a BS mechanical engineering. My company paid my tuition and books for me to study part time and obtain my MS mechanical engineering. Some of my colleagues chose an MBA instead (also paid for). Grad school is more expensive than undergrad.

rene recommends the following next steps:

When interviewing for a company, ask about any benefit to further your education, such as grad school.
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