Why is knowledge of mathematics important in engineering?


A career in any engineering or scientific field will require both basic and advanced mathematics. Without mathematics to determine principles, calculate dimensions and limits, explore variations, prove concepts, and so on, there would be no mobile telephones, televisions, stereo systems, video games, microwave ovens, computers, or virtually anything electronic. There would be no bridges, tunnels, roads, skyscrapers, automobiles, ships, planes, rockets or most things mechanical. There would be no metals beyond the common ones, such as iron and copper, no plastics, no synthetics. In fact, society would most certainly be less advanced without the use of mathematics throughout the centuries and into the future.

Electrical engineers

Electrical engineers require mathematics to design, develop, test, or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components, or systems for commercial, industrial, military, or scientific use.

Mechanical engineers

Mechanical engineers require mathematics to perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, machines, and other mechanically functioning equipment; they oversee installation, operation, maintenance, and repair of such equipment as centralised heat, gas, water, and steam systems.

Aerospace engineers

Aerospace engineers require mathematics to perform a variety of engineering work in designing, constructing, and testing aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft; they conduct basic and applied research to evaluate adaptability of materials and equipment to aircraft design and manufacture and recommend improvements in testing equipment and techniques.

Nuclear engineers

Nuclear engineers require mathematics to conduct research on nuclear engineering problems or apply principles and theory of nuclear science to problems concerned with release, control, and utilisation of nuclear energy and nuclear waste disposal.

Petroleum engineers

Petroleum engineers require mathematics to devise methods to improve oil and gas well production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs; they oversee drilling and offer technical advice to achieve economical and satisfactory progress.

Industrial engineers

Industrial engineers require mathematics to design, develop, test, and evaluate integrated systems for managing industrial production processes, including human work factors, quality control, inventory control, logistics and material flow, cost analysis, and production coordination.

Environmental engineers

Environmental engineers require mathematics to design, plan, or perform engineering duties in the prevention, control, and remediation of environmental health hazards, using various engineering disciplines; their work may include waste treatment, site remediation, or pollution control technology.

Civil engineers

Civil engineers require mathematics in all levels in civil engineering - structural engineering, hydraulics and geotechnical engineering are all fields that employ mathematical tools such as differential equations, tensor analysis, field theory, numerical methods and operations research.


Knowledge of mathematics is therefore needed by each of the engineering disciplines listed above.

It is intended that this text - Basic Engineering Mathematics - will provide a step by step approach to learning all the early, fundamental mathematics needed for your future engineering studies.