Engineering - is Further Maths essential?(49 Posts)
I've looked at the admission criteria for various unis and so far have only come across Maths and Physics A levels being necessary. Do those who have Futher Maths A levels have any advantage over those that don't?
They may well do. It's not an absolute requirement, as not all schools offer it. But yes, strong maths is definitely an advantage.
My DH is an Electrical Engineering Researcher at a Russell Group uni. He says that for Engineering, while Further Maths can't be listed as an essential criteria as not all schools offer it, if it is offered at A level potential undergrads should definitely take it. This is because in many universities students without Further Maths are lacking skills which they then have to teach themselves, often in their own time and without much support-and in a very short period of time (in his uni, students in this position have 1 semester (12 weeks) to teach themselves the entire Further Maths A level curriculum). Other modules may also take Further Maths knowledge (for example, matrices) for granted, which puts those without Further at an even greater disadvantage.
What sort of engineering?
The main subjects they will look for are maths, further maths, physics, chemistry (required for chemical engineering, useful for others) and D&T.
DP is currently doing a distance learning degree in engineering and he has had to do an access maths course first because is didn't have a high enough level of maths. I would say the more maths qualifications the better!
Further Maths would be a huge advantage.
You just wouldn't get the coverage of pure and mechanics if you only did single maths, so you'd be playing catch-up the whole time. And on some pretty testing stuff, too, not just a bit of holiday reading.
DH is a mechanical engineer (Fellow of 3 institutions and a visiting Prof). His view is that in his field you need Maths, Math and more Maths.
It depends. My son started mech eng this year and although several English unis had a preference for further maths none of the Scottish unis did. We're in Scotland so he stuck with Scotland as he loved technological studies and wanted to do it at AH.
So far he says the subject that has helped him most is tech as it cover electronics and alot of applied physics and maths that is used in engineering. In Scotland they have an extra year to do more maths though and so far is going over alot of the maths he did at AH. His computing higher helped him with the CAD.
If he'd wanted to go to some of the English unis he'd have had to do applied maths though (Scottish equivalent of further maths). Some of the English unis are very maths heavy and more theoretical, he preferred the more practical courses. Depends what you want.
I did a civil engineering degree without Further maths, hardly anyone on my course did it. Maths is a huge part of the course though, we had modules in it every year and I was doing similar stuff to my friend who was doing a maths degree.
I am doing an access engineering course right now and tutors are saying definitely further maths if you could. Some of the class have it and it makes a huge difference.
DH is an electrical engineer. I was very surprised to learn that his math education stopped at A-level. And he reckons he used less than half of what he learnt at A-level. I have a social sciences degree & I've had a huge amount more math (& stats) training than he had (but in another country). I have also used all that math professionally, too.
"Do those who have Futher Maths A levels have any advantage over those that don't?"
Yes - they have already encountered many of the maths topics when they get there, so aren't frantically struggling to catch up.
It's not just about getting in. If your DS wants to study anything in the maths / physics / engineering spectrum, he'd be completely insane not to take FMaths if it's offered at his school.
Problem is if you do maths/physics/further maths you miss out on doing chemistry which is very useful for the materials section of many engineering courses. Need to do mechanics modules though for A level maths rather than statistics.
The first year will cover the topics (okay in a semester rather than a year) as students are coming from all sorts of backgrounds with a fair number having had a gap year away from studying and some unis will send a maths revision pack out once place confirmed in early september as preparation and first few sections look like gcse questions
An electrical engineering researcher at a Russel gp Uni is going to need it, but that doesn't make it essential for every candidate in every field of engineering.
DD isn't doing it, she's doing the mechanics option of the A level and wasn't going to not do Chemistry or Physics, or do 5 As. She could have swapped out Biology, but is still interested and good at that, so it's more useful for back up plans for if engineering loses its attraction.
My son didn't do it and is managing fine so calling any teenager who doesn't do applied/ further maths "insane" is wrong and judgemental. It depends on the course and university and student.
If a student doesn't want to do more than 1 maths A level they look for courses that are happy with that.
My son's tech seems to be helping him more than more maths would have at the moment.
Remember there are MEng degrees and BEng Degrees. The former ones will almost certainly prefer candidates with Further Maths. The BEng courses will be more flexible and have lots more students without Further Maths. However, the BEng qualification is lower and leads to Incorporated Engineer, and not Chartered Engineer. You can become Chartered with the BEng qualification but it will take longer or via a Masters course. These also tend to be the more "practical" courses.
The info is out there. Look on THE WhatUni Website and go to the individual courses. I've linked to Sheffields BEng in Mechanical Eng. It's ranked 4th in The Complete Uni Guide
for what that's worth You can see 39% of candidates have Further Maths even though it's not an entry requirement.
If you go through this process with a number of Uni's then you will get a better idea. I would also not hesitate to call a few Uni's if you wish. I always find them to be extremely helpful.
(Rather worryingly 101% of the Sheffield students have Maths )
The prospectus also says this course does not qualify the students for CEng. They have do do a fourth year. I would think a higher number of students would have FM on the MEng course.
My DS is doing chemical engineering MEng at a well regarded RG uni with Maths, chemistry and biology. He had no shortage of offers, and is doing fine on the course so far (1st year).
My son is doing an MEng, none of the Scottish universities for mech eng MEng degrees that my son wrote to (Ed, Glasgow, Heriot Watt, Strathclyde, Aberdeen and Robert Gordon) were bothered about applied/ further maths. They all wanted maths and physics. Scottish unis are a year longer though. Some of the English ones wanted further maths but I think alot of people who have only dealt with English unis are extrapolating. My son got 5 unconditional offers with no extra maths (all in Scotland). Scottish unis have good employment statistics for their eng graduates although I suspect most of the UK engineering degrees are the same.
None of the top 5 A levels taken by Surrey MEng Mechanical Engineering student were FM. Surrey is currently ranked 10th by the times ranking for Mech Eng.
for what it's worth
Same goes for Leeds MEng which is ranked 5 by the Times Rankings
NO further maths in the top 5 A levels
I'll look up Warwick. I'm guessing it will be a different story.
WARWICK MEng WhatUni stats
Well, there's a suprise, only 26% of the top five ALevels are Further maths.
They do have an impressive 104% for maths though.
BRISTOL MEng in Mech Eng. What Uni stats
50% of students have further maths.
I'm suprised it's so low. I know they are very keen on FM for the maths courses. If you school doesn't offer FM they, helpfully, suggest you find somewhere that does . (Which is fair enough but a bit harsh on kids from less academic or smaller schools).
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