Engineering can be an attractive career for individuals who have an interest in design, mathematics and science. Pursuing a career in this field requires candidates to complete a bachelor’s degree in engineering, which involves taking certain specialized classes. If you’re considering an engineering degree, it may be helpful to learn more about the courses you can expect to take.
In this article, we explain the different engineering degrees, list eight types of engineering college courses and give some tips for choosing a degree program that’s right for you.
Common types of engineering degrees
There are many different branches of engineering that you can major in. These are some of the most common degrees in engineering:
Mechanical engineering: Mechanical engineering focuses on the design, manufacture and maintenance of mechanical systems. A good understanding of energy, motion, force, common mechanical systems, materials science, manufacturing and mathematics are some of the most important qualifications for mechanical engineers.
Civil engineering: Civil engineering is a discipline that focuses on the design and construction of built human environments. This can include roads, bridges, coastal infrastructure, dams, railways, canals, airports and public buildings.
Chemical engineering: Chemical engineering focuses on the design and construction of chemical processing equipment. Chemical engineers require an in-depth knowledge of chemistry and physics as well as a knowledge of biology and nanotechnology.
Electrical engineering: Electrical engineers specialize in designing electrical components and systems. There are a wide variety of specialties within electrical engineering, including telecommunications, computer engineering, systems engineering, optics, photonics and electronics.
Architectural engineering: Architectural engineering is a discipline that deals with the design and construction of buildings and architectural components. Unlike architecture, architectural engineering focuses on the scientific and mechanical elements of creating functional structures.
Aerospace engineering: Aerospace engineers specialize in the design and construction of airplanes, helicopters, spacecraft and aerospace components. Aerospace engineering is a demanding field that requires knowledge of propulsion, aerodynamics, mathematics, materials science and manufacturing.
Biomedical engineering: Biomedical engineers apply chemical and mechanical engineering principles to design and create healthcare solutions. They may help create medical devices, design imaging technologies or aid in the development of pharmaceuticals.
8 kinds of engineering college courses
While engineering college courses vary by university, here are eight types of classes that they often take:
1. General engineering courses
These are some of the courses that engineers in all specializations study:
Mathematics: Engineering students often require a deep understanding of mathematical concepts, including algebra, calculus and differential equations.
Physics: Physics courses teach engineering students the fundamentals of energy, force, movement and other concepts that are important in engineering applications.
Materials science: Materials science is the study of the properties of different materials. These courses can prepare engineers to select materials for different applications.
Chemistry: Chemistry is the study of the properties of matter and how elements interact. These courses are especially important for chemical engineers and biomedical engineers.
Engineering design: Engineering design courses introduce students to the basics of designing mechanical systems.
Nanotechnology: These courses teach students about the design of nanodevices, including materials, tools and theory.
2. Mechanical engineering courses
Along with general math and science courses, mechanical engineering students take a series of classes that deal with the different elements of designing, building and testing machines. These are some of the subjects that mechanical engineers may study:
3. Civil engineering courses
After completing their science, math and general engineering courses, civil engineering students learn the fundamentals of designing and constructing public works. Civil engineering students often take the following courses:
Civil engineering materials
4. Chemical engineering courses
Chemical engineering courses focus more heavily on industrial engineering as well as chemistry. Here are some of the courses that chemical engineering students may take:
Chemical engineering thermodynamics
Chemical engineering laboratory course
Phase and reaction equilibria
Chemical process engineering
Energy and environment
Green chemical and energy technology
5. Electrical engineering courses
Electrical engineering contains numerous specializations, and a student’s courses may vary based on what they choose to study. Most electrical engineering curricula focus more heavily on technology than other engineering majors. Electrical engineering students often take the following courses:
Computer systems and programming
Fields and waves
Analog signal processing
Digital signal processing
Signals and systems
6. Architectural engineering courses
Architectural engineering students study a range of topics that relate to the interior and exterior design of functional structures. These are the names of some of the classes that architectural engineering students may take:
Architecture and technology
Reinforced concrete design
Structural steel design
Facility life cycle
Indoor environments and air quality
Building control systems
Building electrical and power systems
7. Biomedical engineering courses
Biomedical engineering students often have a unique set of requirements that involve studying both human biology and technology. Here are the names of some common courses for biomedical engineers:
Cell and tissue anatomy
Electrophysiology of the nervous system
Cardiovascular system studies
Biomedical heat transfer studies
Biomedical image processing
Biomedical engineering laboratory course
8. Aerospace engineering courses
Aerospace engineering students study how to build functional aircraft and spacecraft. These are some courses that you may take as an aerospace engineering student:
Fundamentals of electrical engineering
Flight vehicle propulsion
Tips for choosing an engineering program
Consider these tips for choosing an engineering program:
Determine a field of study. Before you apply to colleges, it’s important to determine what branch of engineering you want to specialize in. To help you decide, consider your unique talents and aptitudes, future salary expectations and desired work environment.
Choose based on your specialization. Many colleges specialize in a particular branch of engineering or have a reputation for a certain subject. Try looking for a university that offers a program in your chosen specialization.
Consider financial aid opportunities. Before you apply to an engineering program, it’s helpful to determine how much you can pay for your education. When you look for colleges, consider seeking ones that can offer you scholarships or grants to lower the cost of your degree.
I hope you find this article helpful.