Amanda, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo asked Sana Rasool, Hagler Bailly Pakistan

AddedWednesday, May 20, 2015 at 2:46 PM

Mechanical engineering or environmental engineering?

Hello! I am currently a 2nd year college student in the Environmental Engineering program at my school. I am passionate about the environment and want to help with climate change and other environmental concerns. However, at my school the environmental engineering program seems to be geared toward waste water treatment which I am not that interested in. I am thinking about switching my major to mechanical engineering to work in the renewable energy field. I am under the impression that environmental engineering is a lot of chemistry, which I am not a huge fan of. I am in mechanical engineering courses this quarter and have found them to come more naturally to me than the environmental engineering course did. But, at the same time the students and professors in the environmental engineering classes had the same values and interests as me and I felt I fit in better. I am not sure if I should continue my change to mechanical engineering or stay in environmental. Any advise would be greatly appreciated! Thank you very much :)
Related to Choosing a Degree, Environmental, Mechanical
  • Sana Rasool , Hagler Bailly Pakistan
    Answered Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 2:46 PM
    It’s good to know that you are inclined towards Climate Change. Trust me, it’s a vibrant, interesting and emerging field with lots of opportunities! About choosing between mechanical and environmental engineering, we can explore each according to your aptitude: 
    You say you are good with numbers and enjoy physics, so mechanical engineering will be thrilling for you. 
    Working in the renewable energy domain with mechanical engineering background will make you a valuable professional asset. 
    But mechanical engineering is not very closely linked with environment. Yes, you will get a few courses during ME that are environment-oriented but if you are highly inclined towards environment, you may be out of sync. 
    Climate Change and renewable energy are significant subjects in any environmental engineering degree. 
    Yes, most environmental engineering degrees, at least at bachelors level tend to be biased towards water treatment technologies but you can always pursue a focused field during your Masters later on. 
    As you say, you share many values with the Environment team as well as, are motivated to work in this sector, I’d say environment is for you. 
    Please also note that Environmental engineering is an emerging field and looking at global developments, it will soon be a lucrative profession in the world. It is thoroughly interesting too! Bringing together, engineering, sciences, philosophy and even social skills. If you are an analytical and number-loving person, environmental engineering will provide you lot of opportunities.
    Having said that, I’ll advise you to really think about where do you want to be five years from now, what do you really want to do, what do you enjoy the most and which degree offers most of it. Then decide and stick to it!