Is it worth switching my major now?

Hello,

I just finished my first semester at college as a chemical engineering major but lately i am been putting a lot of thought about whether or not I want to stay in chem-e, or if I want to switch to Mechanical Engineering. Or, if I want to stay in Chemical but get a Mech-E minor.

I was very undecided about which discipline to pick when applying to college and at Rowan, you can't just apply as engineering undecided. You have to pick a concentration when you apply. I loved chemistry in high school and I did very well in AP Chem, so I picked Chem-E. I think some of the things chem-e's do are fascinating. Now, at school, all of my Mech-E friends are building air compressors and are in the projects lab all of the time machining things and I am wondering if I picked the wrong discipline for myself.

I have always been rather mechanically inclined. My go-to's are a swiss army knife, duct tape, and super glue. I used to take pens apart just to see how they worked. Growing up, I always helped my dad with random projects around the house. I learned how the entire engine worked in his old Corvair when we dropped the engine in it in middle school.

Right now, I don't know if I just miss that part of my life or if it is just because I want to actually do some engineering and we can't as Chem-E's until we get through a lot more chemistry first. I also am unsure about the Chem-E field because I still am not 100% sure what a Chem-E actually does. I know that I could work in pharmaceuticals, petroleum, the food industry, etc, but I feel like once I actually figure it out for myself, it will be too late for me to change majors. I don't know if it is one of those reasons or if I really did just pick the wrong major, but if I want to stay at all on track, I have to switch majors either before the spring term or after the end of my freshman year at the latest. Thank you in advance for any advice you can give me.

-Rachel
posted by Rachel on December 21, 2013

Answer by Dr. Michele Miller

Rachel,

This is a great question.  There is probably no simple answer.  I love hearing about students that like to tinker and make things.  It is a great skill that will serve you well.  An interest in both mechanical and chemical is a great combination.  I'm a ME and when I collaborate with chemists or ChemE's, it is often very challenging.  We speak much different languages and our approaches to problems are often different.  Is majoring in ME and minoring in ChemE also an option?  I would recommend talking to faculty in both departments and also students that have done internships.  It sounds like you could be happy in either field, and if there was a career that combined both, that would be best. Good luck!

Michele