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Types of Engineering Degrees – A Comprehensive List

Engineering is a very broad term that covers a wide range of applications and industries. As a result there are many types of engineering degrees available. Engineering is the combination of mathematics, science and technology, which combine to produce creative solutions to real world problems. An example of this is Civil Engineering. Civil Engineering involves the construction of infrastructure for a growing population. As the population grows new challenges/problems develop.

 These problems may include: Traffic congestion, Ageing public infrastructure, Natural disasters, Working with new technology.

Engineers work across a wide number of industries. As a result duties and salaries vary by quite a margin. This is due to the level of experience required and how profitable the industry is.

For example Petroleum Engineers work in a well paid industry. As a result the rate of pay is higher than most other forms of engineering. It is also a high pressure environment where experience and the ability to work under pressure is essential.

For an overview of each of these engineering types please read below. This list of engineering degrees will provide you with an overview of some of the industries you may find yourself involved in. Please note below most sections you will find a link to a more detailed article.

There are many types of Engineering Degrees available for students. Some of these include:

Aerospace Engineering

aerospace engineeringAs the name implies an Aerospace Engineering Degree involves air and space travel. This might include military aircraft design and development. Along with commercial airline design and satellite technology.

The terms Aerospace and Aeronautical are both often used to describe this type of engineering degree. Yet Aeronautical Engineering relates to planes, helicopters etc. that remain in our atmosphere. While Aerospace Engineering refers to aircraft that venture outside our atmosphere.

  • Aerospace Engineers may work in the private sector or for the military. The role involves designing and developing aircraft and weapons technology.
  • Aerospace engineers have a thorough understanding of aerodynamics. Aerodynamics refer to the interaction between air movement and a solid object.
  • Graduate programs teach Astrodynamics, or orbital mechanics. This includes the study of orbital maneuvers, trajectories, and the reaction to propulsive maneuvers.

Students who undertake an Aerospace Engineering Degree will qualify for an entry level position.

Job opportunities are available in many different industries. This allows students to choose a specialty that matches their personal interests.

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Civil Engineering

types of engineering degrees

Civil Engineering involves the development of infrastructure. This may include project management, design and maintenance.

Civil Engineers design infrastructure such as buildings. They are also involved in the development of:

  • Railways
  • Roads construction
  • Bridges
  • Sewage systems
  • General construction project management

Civil Engineers must be familiar with local, state, and federal regulations. As these regulations relate to construction and public safety.

Civil Engineers also play an important role in rebuilding projects. for example in the event of a natural disaster. This is because they are able to test the structural integrity of damaged infrastructure.

Civil engineers may work in several sub-disciplines of engineering. These may include:

  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric sciences
  • Surveying
  • Transportation

Civil Engineers may work in the private or public sector at any level.

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Mechanical Engineering

mechanical engineeringMechanical Engineers are in demand in a wide range of industries. A Mechanical Engineering Degree involves the design of mechanical systems. These systems assist industries such as:

  • Manufacturing
  • Aeronautics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Nuclear power production
  • Heating and cooling
  • Ventilation

A primary focus is on thermodynamics, structural analysis, materials science, and kinematics.

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Biomedical Engineering

biomedical

Another type of engineering degree you might consider is Biomedical. This area of engineering combines the study of medicine and biology.

This is a fast moving industry and while challenging can be a rewarding career path to take.

Biomedical Engineers apply their design skills to biological and medical sciences. They do this to assist in advancements in healthcare treatment technology.

They develop and maintain diagnostic devices. Devices that include EEGs, MRIs, and other imaging machines.  Physicians use these machines to diagnosis their patients’ medical problems.

Their work produces biocompatible prostheses and micro-implants responsible for improving quality of life.

Pharmaceutical companies rely on their expertise to develop new medications.  Which are then subject to approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating diseases.

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Biomechanical Engineering

biomechanicalA Biomechanical Engineering Degree is the study of organisms and mechanics and how the two solve problems. This is a growing industry and practical applications include environmental challenges. Such as waste control and keeping our waterways free from pollution. It shares close ties with Biomedical Engineering and Agricultural Engineering as you might expect.

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Petroleum Engineering

petroleum engineering degree

A petroleum engineer handles the extraction of oil and gas from beneath the earth. It also involves developing new extraction methods and technologies. New methods that are more efficient and less damaging to the environment.

Petroleum Engineering is one of the highest paid engineering positions available. They play a significant role in locating reservoirs beneath the earth’s surface for gas and oil companies.

The engineer will focus on estimating the volumes available and design a plan for recovery that is cost effective. They must have an understanding of how gas, water, and oil interact within porous rock when subjected to high pressure.

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Chemical Engineering Degree

chemical engineering

As the name implies Chemical Engineering is the practical application of chemistry. This type of engineering degree involves technology that utilizes chemical reactions to solve problems.

A chemical engineer creates new products, including:
Cosmetics, foods, pharmaceuticals, beverages, and cleaners from raw chemicals.

Some specialists study the processes involved to design manufacturing plants and machinery. These engineers are responsible for ensuring a manufacturing facility is working at full efficiency. They achieve this by managing conditions and processes.

Computer Engineering Degree

Computer Engineering Degree

Another industry that continues to expand is of course the IT industry. This involves both computer sciences and electrical engineering.

Successful graduates may find themselves in Telecommunications and Software development and manufacturing.

This type of degree has good future potential as most industries rely on information technology.

Electrical Engineering

electrical engineering degree

An Electrical Engineering Degree involves the study of energy. Energy comes in various forms such as electrical, hydro and natural sources such as wind and solar energy. An Electrical Engineer develops technologies to assist with the practical application of such energies.

Electrical Engineers design components for electronic equipment, communications systems, power grids, automobiles and more. Studies center on the application of electronics, electromagnetism, and electricity.

Fields within this category include digital computers, signal processing, and control systems.

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Environmental Engineering

environmental

One of the most popular types of engineering degrees. Environmental Engineering involves the study of science and engineering to improve our environment. Some training programs list environmental engineering as a category under civil engineering. While others treat it as a separate discipline.

The work of Environmental Engineers results in the design and construction of ecosystems. Some focus on research and development in the field of fire protection. To put in place processes designed to reduce the damage caused by smoke and flames.

Sanitation experts improve sewage systems. Hydraulic specialists apply the principles of hydrology to plan water resources.

Marine Engineering

marine engineering degreeAs the name implies a Marine Engineering graduate will find themselves working in the marine industry. This type of engineer applies knowledge to the development of ocean technologies. Technologies such as propulsion and power generation for boats, ships and other marine transportation.

Architectural Engineering

Architectural Engineering

Do you like to see your ideas come to life? Then an Architectural Engineering Degree could be the perfect career choice.

Architectural engineers work in the construction, planning, and design phase of projects. In conjunction with other team members, the focus is on building structure and interior design.

This includes:

  • Heating
  • Ventilation
  • Air conditioning
  • Electrical
  • Fire protection
  • Lighting
  • Plumbing

And other minor systems required for the project.

In some areas natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes have special consideration.

Geological Engineering

Geological Engineering

Do you have a passion for the preservation of resources and environmental projects? Then a Geological Engineering Degree is worth considering.

Geological engineers combine engineering and research skills for mining and construction projects.

Construction firms hire Geological engineers.  They assess ground conditions and other natural hazards (earthquakes, etc.) before starting construction.

With declining natural resources available, Geological engineers are in high demand. Geological Engineers work in the private sector or governmental agencies.

Industrial Engineering

industrial engineering

If you have an interest in efficiency and streamlining processes an Industrial engineering Degree

Industrial engineers work for manufacturing companies, or as consultants to the manufacturing industry. The role of an Industrial engineer is to increase productivity and reduce waste and spending.

Many new start-ups will hire an Industrial engineer to help make their business more efficient.

Industrial engineers are also hired to test employee productivity and in house processes. Which will improve the efficiency of the company.

Microelectronic Engineering

Microelectronic Engineering

If you have an interest in electronics a Microelectronic Engineering degree is worth a closer look. Microelectronics is a subset of Electrical Engineering with a focus on the word ‘Micro’.

Microelectronic Engineers specialize in the development and design of small electrical devices. Used in a wide range of industrial applications.

As we move away from bulky electronic devices such as the first mobile phones and desktop computers. We develop smaller more convenient electronic devices. Devices such as Smart Phones, Tablets and a range of industrial devices.

As a result the demand for microelectronic engineers is high.

Microelectronic engineers also assist in the technical writing aspect of a project. As well as perform tests to verify product conformance.

Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear Engineering

If you have an affinity for the science of nuclear power, then a Nuclear Engineering Degree may be the perfect fit.

Nuclear engineers are at the core of development for the ever growing use of nuclear power. The medical field has become the largest beneficiary of many new developments.

Nuclear engineers work for consulting firms, power plants, and government agencies. As expected, the demand for nuclear engineers in nuclear power plants is high. The design, implementation, and maintenance of the plant is one aspect of their duties. Many Nuclear Engineers also move into supervision and management.

Other Types of Engineering Degrees

This is by no means a complete list. While we have covered the major disciplines of engineering there are a wide range of subsets available. Subsets are smaller niches of major disciplines. For example computer engineering is a subset of electrical engineering. Other types of engineering degrees such as Environmental Engineering can be both. For example Environmental Engineering is a subset of Civil Engineering.

There are many different engineering degrees available. If you are considering studying engineering it’s wise to get a feel for as many areas of engineering as possible. Before committing to what can be a challenging yet rewarding area of study.