Mechanical or Aeronautical Engineering

With many considering these two engineering disciplines to be inter-related, it is a bit tough to choose to go for mechanical or aeronautical engineering as a choice after 12th.

We give below a brief comparision between these two in terms of scope of work, curriculum topics, skills, specialisations, career prospects etc.,

scope of study
Mechanical Design and develop machines based on the knowledge of movement and the power / energy that is involved.
Aeronautical Design and develop airplanes, spaceships, fast moving locomotives etc., based on aerodynamic and mechanical aspects of these machines and systems.
scope of work involved
  • Design and control of system that goes into the process of manufacturing the machinery and product.
  • Testing new systems
  • Quality management and improvement
  • Marketing products and systems
  • Design and development of aircraft / aero parts
  • Testing new aerodynamic and aviation systems
  • Quality management and improvement
  • Maintenance
type of industry one works
  • Manufacturing
  • Automobile
  • Power
  • Aeronautical
  • Biotechnology
  • Aviation industry (private and public airlines)
  • Satellite and Space research organisations (ISRO, NASA etc.,)
  • Defence (Military – Air Force)
  • Automobile and fast-moving locomotive industries
specific skills / attributes
Mechanical Good technical and communication skill coupled with logical capability to interpret complex and changing concepts.
Aeronautical Along with good technical and communication skill and capability to interpret complex and changing concepts, the students should possess a creative and analytical mind.Students who would prefer a career in the country’s Defence Services are also required to be physically fit.
curriculum topics / field of study
Mechanical Mechanical engineering subjects:-
  • Maths
  • Physics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Fluid mechanics
  • Machine tool design
  • Heat transfer etc.,
  • Mathematics
  • Fluids and solids
  • Theromodynamics
  • Avionics
  • Aerodynamics
  • Control  systems
core subject strength one should possess
Mechanical Maths & Physics
Aeronautical Maths
Mechanical Diploma in Mechanical Engineering – Eligibility – Pass in X with good marks in Science & Maths subjectsBachelor’s Degree (B.Tech / B.E) – Eligibility – Pass in XII with Science / Diploma in Mechanical Engineering
Aeronautical Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering – Eligibility – Pass in X with good marks in Science & Maths subjectsBachelor’s Degree (B.Tech / B.E) – Eligibility – Pass in XII with Science / Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering or equivalentAlternate OptionStudents can also opt for AMAESI / AeSI (The Associate Membership examination of the Aeronautical Society of India). This four year course, recognised by the Government of India, is equivalent to Bachelor’s Engineering Degree (B.E.). For more information go to www.aesi.comThe entrance exams for various institutes are listed here (click)Compare a Degree vs Diploma Programme here (click)
career prospects
Mechanical HighIn comparision to aeronautical engineering, mechanical engineers have vast options of industries to choose from, since the degree is general in nature, and applicable to all types of industries that uses machines.Students can take their masters to specialise in a niche engineering field like automobile, nanotech, aeronautical etc., after their graduation for better prospects in that chosen field.
Aeronautical Medium
Aeronautical engineering is basically a specialised degree, focussed on niche category of industry, hence the scope is limited to these specific industries.Students opting for aeronautical, thus, should be focussed and determined, as after graduation it might be difficult to change the field.If any doubts, students should better opt general courses like Mechanical or Electronics engineering etc., and later can take up aeronautical for their Masters.Thus, Mechanical and aeronautical engineering degree though have a few similarities, they both are completely different in terms of career path and on-job work involved.
specialisations available / related fields one can choose for higher studies
Aeronautical Masters
  • aerodynamics
  • propulsion
  • structures
  • guidance and control

Higher Studies/Research

  • aerodynamics
  • applied aerodynamics
  • computational fluid dynamics
  • dynamics and control
  • flight mechanics
  • genetic algorithms and neural networks
  • guidance and control
  • hypersonic and high enthalpy flows
  • optimisation and estimation techniques in aerospace systems
  • orbital mechanics
  • processing and applications
  • propulsion
  • space robotics
  • systems
  • theorectical and experimental fluid mechanics

Whether one chooses mechanical or aeronautical engineering, the choice depends on one’s interest and skillsets to begin with and not to ignore the scope of higher studies for future career enhancement.


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