Suitable a levels for a degree in engineering

(40 Posts)
Consils Sun 24-Feb-13 19:59:46

ds1 wants to study engineering. He was planning to take English, Maths, Chemistry and physics but is now wavering over the chemistry. He is planning to apply to Oxford. Thanks.

MojitoMagnet Sun 07-Jul-13 07:54:28

oops sorry didn't notice it was a zombie thread. As you were.

MojitoMagnet Sun 07-Jul-13 07:53:50

Chemistry won't be at all useful unless he's thinking of Chemical Engineering. Further Maths would probably be the most useful alternative.

BeckAndCall Sun 07-Jul-13 07:18:18

I've noticed that too ellen!
She's every where, and getting her posts deleted too....... Strange goings on....

Another zombie thread resurrected by speedology. hmm

BlackMogul Fri 05-Jul-13 20:41:04

Maths, further maths and physics are an absolute must. Chemistry or DT ok if keeping 4 at A level. Go to subject open days to check out what they want. If he really is good enough for Oxford his school should know what is needed but Maths and Further maths is vital. Oxford not best for engineering . Imperial is top .

Lilymaid Fri 05-Jul-13 20:20:48

Strange to.resurrect an old thread with links that aren't so relevant to someone considering applying to Oxford!

speedology Fri 05-Jul-13 20:16:19

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Lilymaid Tue 05-Mar-13 16:43:32

Way back in the 20th Century there was a course called Use of English that was widely taken by students intending to go to university. It doesn't seem to exist any more, which is a pity. DH is an engineer and has to spend much of his rather expensively charged out time rewriting reports written by other engineers who are good at maths/computing/practical engineering, but can't express themselves intelligbly in the English language!

thejoysofboys Tue 05-Mar-13 16:42:56

I have the degree which your DS desires. My A levels were Maths, Mechanics/Applied Maths (i.e. Maths & Further Maths), Physics & Chemistry.
I took the entrance exams to get my place (coming as I did from a state comprehensive this was seen to be the best way of getting noticed by the tutors). Entrance exams for Engineering were in Maths & Physics back in those days. Physics is def an important one for all sorts of engineering.

bruffin Tue 05-Mar-13 16:35:12

DS 17 wants a careers in engineering and is taking Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Philosophygrin

Consils Tue 05-Mar-13 16:25:46

He is now talking about taking philosophy. Philosophy!

Consils Thu 28-Feb-13 10:50:27

Thanks everyone. We will discuss further maths.

racingheart Tue 26-Feb-13 22:59:12

OP, on a school visit today, a DT teacher told me two of his pupils had been offered bursaries at uni for engineering due to their DT work. It really complements physics and maths.

NewFerry Mon 25-Feb-13 21:26:01

The other decision is whether to go straight in to a specialised course, or opt for a more general course which specialises in later years.

throckenholt Mon 25-Feb-13 11:24:02

Not saying it with any particular inference, but people may not be aware that different universities can have a very different feel depending on the types of courses.

For example my uni was very northern and had very few public school people. It was also very engineering based and therefore tended to attract a certain subset of personalities. Universities with more arts based courses will tend to attract different cohorts. It is something people should think about what they are likely to feel comfortable when thinking where to apply.

Oxbridge often tend to have better facilities than many universities, but may not always be the best choice for a given subject.

Sympathique Mon 25-Feb-13 11:21:30

Throckenholt: agree about the limits of the system. Science/etc. students seem to be more bound by them than Arts students because of entry requirements.

With regards to the almost ubiquitous suggestion here for Further Maths: if that replaced Chemistry it would not necessarily knock out English. I can't comment on how necessary Chemistry is though. Tough one.

JoandMax Mon 25-Feb-13 11:21:07

Depends what kind of engineering he wants to go into really.

I studied chemical engineering so A-levels were in Maths, FM, Physics and Chemistry. I would say the Maths was most useful, we did loads!! But different courses/universities will determine it really

RatherBeOnThePiste Mon 25-Feb-13 11:16:18

DD currently on engineering too, has today taken in her bit of paper with her A level choices on : maths, further maths, physics and chemistry.

Sympathique Mon 25-Feb-13 11:12:39

I also find it interesting that some of you suggest going for 'engineering' universities and classify oxbridge as not engineering universities (Hmmm, wonder what they do in that enormous department on Trumpington St?). It shows how diverse we are. My first university was a very mixed one, my second a science/technology one, and I did miss the Arts students. But as must be obvious from what I've already said, I'm not one of the 'them and us' brigade! No doubt the OP will be able to take my posts with the appropriate pinch of salt.

throckenholt Mon 25-Feb-13 11:08:01

>I struggle with the notion that science/engineering/maths students should take only those subjects at A level. It seems to me that it's best to keep a broad education as long as possible, IF that is what the student wants to do, of course - which this young man seems to want to.

I agree in principle but within the limits of our current system if you sometimes have to specialise earlier than ideal. It would be great if you had to write some decent essays in the science subjects (or even maths).

Certainly my science degree and PhD required a lot of essay writing (but that was a long time ago - not sure how it has changed now.)

Sympathique Mon 25-Feb-13 11:04:29

throckenholt "Isn't A-level English mostly literature ? Don't think that would help much with the technical writing required for engineering (and science in general). Shame there isn't a qualification in technical English - would be far more use for a lot of people.

English A level is indeed mostly literature but he will be writing essays which require him to be able to express complex ideas on paper, and in decent English. I would have backed a choice for any essay-writing subject (or a language, but that's a separate skill). I'm not convinced that a focus on technical writing is desirable at this stage. The key skill is to be able to write well; the requirements of any particular discipline are then easily acquired later.

I struggle with the notion that science/engineering/maths students should take only those subjects at A level. It seems to me that it's best to keep a broad education as long as possible, IF that is what the student wants to do, of course - which this young man seems to want to.

HorribleMother Mon 25-Feb-13 10:13:39

DT is not a soft option, but it's also less useful to some types of engineering.
I would think DT most relevant to mechanical or electrical. The mechanical engineers where I went to Uni had to design and make lots of things. That said, even chemists or physical geographers end up building and wiring things quite a bit.

Agree with Throck about the "feel" of an engineering uni varying from others. I am not convinced that Oxbridge are Engineering unis.

tops for mechanical, my old employer (lboro) is in at Number 6 (who would have thought from a non-RG uni, too [ironic smiley here]).

Cambridge tops more widely, supposedly.

throckenholt Mon 25-Feb-13 10:12:29

Isn't A-level English mostly literature ? Don't think that would help much with the technical writing required for engineering (and science in general).

Shame there isn't a qualification in technical English - would be far more use for a lot of people.

Sympathique Mon 25-Feb-13 09:59:06

In fact email the engineering faculty. No one is going to remember x years hence that he's the student who asked about English so he won't be marking himself out.

Sympathique Mon 25-Feb-13 09:57:12

A working engineer needs to communicate and write reports. So taking a long term view, A level English seems a good choice that will make him stand out from the crowd in job applications. Engineers where I studied had to do an English exam at the end of their first year and most struggled. Maybe if his big focus is getting into Oxford then take the advice above, but also email some colleges and ask about A level profile of accepted students - how many had all sciences? Do colleges have a record of talking applicants with a smattering of non-science A levels? Good luck to him.

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