So you have decided to take engineering at Umass Lowell…
This article is for anyone who is in the same shoes I was freshmen year: undeclared engineering. Engineering is a good option, starting salaries at 50-60k, high demand for engineers in the industry, and the opportunity to work anywhere on earth. The possible engineering majors for undergraduates are; plastics, mechanical, civil and environmental, electrical and computer, and chemical. Each one has their own challenges.
Typically, an engineering degree means fighting your way through difficult calculus, physics, and chemistry classes. I thought that listing the general education math and science classes for each focus would help make your choice.
Plastics: I am a plastics major. Plastics engineering is chemistry based, but you will also learn physical properties. So for plastics you will need to take: physics 1 and 2, calculus 1, 2, 3 and differential equations, and chemistry 1, 2 and intro to organic chemistry. Compared to some of the other majors, this looks a little heavy. However I can not provide insight for how difficult any of the core classes are, except for plastics.
Mechanical: Mechanical focuses highly on static and dynamic physics. You will need to take physics 1, calc 1-3 and diff eqs. For chemistry however, you will only need to take select topics of chemistry, which is all the chemistry that applies to mechanical engineering. A rule of thumb is that an applied class is easier than a general class.
Electrical and Computer Engineering: Focused highly on physics, count yourself out of all chemistry classes. You will take physics 1 + 2, calculus 1, 2, 3 and diff eqs. These two majors will also require a number of courses on circuits. I assume they are difficult, but you would need to ask someone else for better advice.
Civil and Environmental Engineering: You are going to need a well balanced knowledge of physics, calculus and chemistry. You will take physics 1, calc 1, 2, 3 and diff eqs, and chem 1 and 2.
Chemical Engineering: Keep a periodic table with you at all times. You are going to take chemistry 1 and 2, as well as organic chemistry 1 and 2. You will also need to take physics 1, and calc 1, 2, 3 and diff eqs. As a plastics engineer, I had to take intro to organic chemistry. This was easily one of the most difficult classes I have taken, if chemistry isn’t your strong point, you might find trouble with this major.
Any engineering major is going to involve a lot of work. Even if you are gifted and can ace any exam you take, you still can’t escape the work load. You can expect lots of lab reports, group projects, and homework assignments. If you want to do well in engineering, you really need to commit yourself to it. Listed below are the links to the classes for each major.
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