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Old 12-06-2004, 09:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How important is Chemistry for ME?

I'm planning on schooling for a b.m.e., and all the schools i've looked at only require a semester or so of general chemistry for their m.e. programs. My question is this: How important is knowledge of chemistry for a career in m.e. or related fields? I know that i probably won't need to take more than i already have to complete the bachelor's. From everything i read about m.e., it seems that a broad understanding of many different disciplines is required, so will a lack of chemistry hurt me in the long run?

The reason i'm asking is that i feel like i should take more, but i'm finding the subject to be really difficult to get into.
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Old 12-06-2004, 10:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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/disclaimer : I'm a Chem. E.

Depends on what you want to do. I don't know many Mech. E's that have more than the general chemistry level. I don't think that organic / physical is very common. I can definately see a use for some of it if you're interested in materials / surface science.
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Old 12-06-2004, 10:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm a Chem E also

I wouldn't bother taking more if I were you. I'm trying to remember what was taught in 1st semester vs 2nd semester but at the most all you need is two semesters. You won't likely be using organic chem in your professional job and if you do, you'll ge the necessary training.

Even physical chem won't be important. All of the ideas taught in pchem are taught in standard thermo classes you'll take.
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Old 12-06-2004, 10:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If you're not interested in it, and you can keep from getting a chemistry-related job, then it would be no problem. A friend of mine is majoring in mech. eng., and he only took 1 semester of chemistry. They made the curriculum that way for a reason...you'll get thermo, physics, and electrical with chemistry mixed in, and that's the way it's supposed to be. Just take what you're interested in, it's easier to learn then anyway.
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Old 12-06-2004, 11:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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pretty much what's said, I agree with, but you mentioned BME in your post? Biomechanical engineering? If so, a couple quarters of ochem or pchem would be good
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Old 12-06-2004, 11:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input. Right now i have enough time to take a nonessential class or two every semester before i transfer to the university so i was thinking about taking chem up to organic 2 because i think a general understanding of chem would transfer into me becoming a better engineer. I feel better about putting it off now.

Amano, i was planning on biomedical for a while, but i don't think i can handle the chem i would need to take to be able to transfer into the program, so, possibly an m.e. with a bio emphasis.

I should talk to an academic counselor, but the ones at my current school can't be trusted to know what they're talking about.
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Old 12-06-2004, 11:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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filtherton : had any statistics? that's one that'll push a ways in any engineering field. yeah, if you're going with a bio emphasis, then org. might make sense...i assume that you can't take, ummm, biology? i personally thought organic chemistry was cool as hell, but that's just me. i would also suggest taking fluid mechanics...mainly because no one else will really understand it when you get out, and you'll be able to put people in place when it comes up. no one i know understands fluid mechanics.
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Old 12-06-2004, 12:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the suggestions. That reminds me that i was meaning to take some statistics.
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Old 12-06-2004, 12:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah, statistics is pretty useful. I've never taken it, but I've learned some over the years...and it's one of those things that most people are completely ignorant of, so if you have some knowledge in the area, you can quickly make progress/insight/commentary where others can't. You're more effective, and your boss is likely to say "Damn!!! That Filtherton really knows some cool shit that I don't know, he must be way smart and we definately can't fire him, and he makes me look good by knowing all this crap. Christ, I need a hooker." Are you interested in following a research track, or a practical engineering track?
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Old 12-07-2004, 07:37 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Right now i'm aiming towards practical engineering, but who knows? I still have a few years of the college before i even have the bachelor's. I will probably end up doing whatever i happen to find most interesting when the headhunters come around.
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Old 12-07-2004, 08:54 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Isn't statistics common curriculum in nearly all engineerig programs? We took a semester of it plus 2 numerical analysis classes that were half stats. The same goes for fluids, I thought most programs included that also.

I hated organic with a passion. As a result I rarely went to class and only studied the day before a test. Luckily I got C's in both semesters.
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Old 12-07-2004, 09:14 AM   #12 (permalink)
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filterton : probably a good way to go. i got into research early, and sometimes wonder what my perspective would have been if I had taken some co-ops or something...

kutulu, I don't know. In our Chem-E BS degree, stat was a course you *could* take...I was all into being math-guy at the time, so I think I took some upper level ODE class instead. I really wish I'd taken the stat course. We had some stat in our our courses, but nothing comprehensive. As far as fluids go, I know it's compulsory for Chem-E majors pretty much everywhere, but I'm not sure about mechanical. It would make sense, but I don't know what their curriculum calls for. I loved organic with all the spatial interractions and steric hindrance and all that stuff. I think it helps that I had a good teacher for the course too.
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Old 12-08-2004, 01:51 PM   #13 (permalink)
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im undergoing Civil eng. atm.

no you dont need chem THAT much, its just a general cource req, even as civil if i ever go into soil/materials/ect i wouldnt need chem, just specific soil or materials cources. not that im going towards soil. mech im guessing probably more towards physics and maths. but yeah, chem is kinda distant from mech. if you can take non-essential cources, just go for ones taht would count towards graduation and you think you'd like, you'll always do good in waht you like. if there is nothing you like thats avalable, take soemthing easy or with lots of girls in it.... :/ anyone studying eng where i am knows that there is a BIG shortage of women studying engineering.... can get really damn borring all semester with not 1 worth while girl in any of your classes hehe

good luck, if all els fails, just go and ask a cource advisor or something :P
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Old 12-08-2004, 02:14 PM   #14 (permalink)
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From what I can tell of my friend's curriculum (he's an ME), they only have two terms of chemistry before starting in on pro classes like materials science and such. So the classes are practical applications of chemistry but he learns chem more specific to his needs. So a couple of general chem classes should cut it unless you want to do something beyond ME.
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