What is an Engineering Degree?

The American Engineers' Council for Professional Development defines engineering as:

" [T]he creative application of scientific principles to design or develop structures, machines, apparatus, or manufacturing processes, or works utilizing them singly or in combination; or to construct or operate the same with full cognizance of their design; or to forecast their behavior under specific operating conditions; all as respects an intended function, economics of operation and safety to life and property."

An engineering degree teaches students how to create new machines, processes, or programs to improve various aspects of the world. This degree is perfect for those who are logic-oriented and calculating individuals. The staples of this degree are hard sciences and mathematics; students will be using their calculators and formulas in almost every class.

What Kinds of Majors are Available for an Engineering Degree?

Majors are tailored for students based upon what they want to pursue after graduation. They include:

Engineering Degree Curriculum

The engineering degree program is structured similarly to many other degrees. At the bachelor's degree level, about 1/3 of coursework is devoted to general requirements (math, science, English, etc.). The rest of the work is in courses related to the major such as mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Regardless of a student's major, he or she must take basic classes in these areas, and after completion, follow a curriculum tailored for their degree.

What Levels of Education are Available for an Engineering Degree?

Engineering degrees are available at all levels of postsecondary education. An associate's degree in engineering takes about two years to complete. It is mostly a general education program which teaches the concepts needed to pursue further studies. A bachelor's degree in engineering provides the knowledge necessary to obtain an entry-level position as an engineer. Master's degree and doctoral degree programs are also available for those who want to climb the career ladder or enter academia.

Skills Learned in an Engineering Degree Program

Engineering degree programs teach students the following skills:

  • Variety of knowledge including history, English, and mathematics through liberal arts classes
  • Understanding of various mathematical concepts pertaining to engineering (calculus, geometry, algebra)
  • Understanding of the sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics) and how they are applied to solving real problems
  • Ability to use computer-aided design and drafting software to model potential projects
  • Ability to draft blueprints and schematics for projects
Where Can I Get an Engineering Degree?

Engineering degrees are offered at a variety of locations. They can be earned at any university with an accredited engineering program. Those who do not want to attend a brick and mortar school can earn their engineering degrees online through various online universities.

Possible Careers for Engineering Degree Holders

An engineering degree opens the door to a profession as an engineer. Graduates will put their knowledge to work solving problems and creating new products/innovations on a day-to-day basis. The minimum level of qualification for obtaining a position as an engineer is a bachelor's degree, and master's degrees are strongly encouraged.

Learn More About Engineering Programs

Aerospace, Aeronautical & Astronautical

A degree in the field of aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineering will prepare the student to apply math and science principles in evaluating design, development, and operation of aircrafts and space vehicles as well as their systems.  The level of degree in this field ranges from an Associate’s degree up to a doctoral degree.  There are many technical schools as well as colleges and universities that offer varying levels of degrees in these fields.

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Agricultural Engineering

Agricultural programs are growing in number and there are many postsecondary schools that offer Bachelor’s and advanced degrees in agricultural sciences.  And agricultural engineer will use their knowledge of engineering technologies to find more efficient ways to use natural resources. They will use their expertise in all phases of agriculture from cultivation to proper storage and crop projections.

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Architectural Engineering

Architectural design and engineering is an industry that has one of the fast growing jobs markets of any out there.  With 123 schools that are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board, there are many schools to choose from with a range of degreed programs.  These programs can include a five year program that has students graduating with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Architecture.

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Architectural History and Criticism

Classroom and distance learning programs are available in Architectural History and Criticism at accredited colleges and universities. Interior architecture as well as environmental and landscape architectural history and building design are covered in the degree programs.

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Architectural Sciences and Technology

Associate of Science in Architecture Technology, Bachelor of Technology in Architectural Sciences and Technology, Master of Science in Art Culture and Technology, a Master of Science in Building Design or a Doctorate in Building Performance and Diagnostics are types of undergraduate and graduate degrees you can earn when you enroll in Architectural Sciences and Technology programs.

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Undergraduate Architecture degrees you can get from accredited postsecondary schools include an Associate of Arts in Architecture and a Bachelor of Architecture. If you attend school full-time, you should be able to graduate within four to five years.

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Architecture and Related Services, Other

You can earn various undergraduate and graduate degrees when you enroll in Architecture and Related Services, Other college programs. Some of these degrees include an Associate of Arts in Architecture and Related Services, Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Related Services and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design.

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Biochemical Engineering

This is a very unique engineering field.  It combines an engineering approach to solving biochemical problems that the biotechnology industry faces when trying to improve food and medication.  These engineers can also work to develop new biological materials. 

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Biological/Biosystems Engineering

A biological engineering degree is an interdisciplinary degree that focuses on understanding how living organisms can function. Gaining a better understanding of how biological systems operate will lead to new breakthroughs in biotechnology.  These breakthroughs can lead to new and innovative ways to fight, treat, and prevent disease.  Advances in biotechnology will allow industries to design and create new, more environmentally friendly materials.  We are impacted today by biological engineering in gene manipulation in the food industry.  The goal of this discipline is to create a better interaction between living systems through understanding how they operate.

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Biomedical/Medical Engineering

Biomedical engineers specialize in work on prosthetics, research on artificial organs, medical equipment, health care information and delivery systems.  Often biomedical engineers have a background in another field of engineering such as mechanical engineering or electrical engineering.  Biomedical engineering has specialties within it that include but are not limited to: biomaterials, biomechanics, medical imaging, rehabilitation engineering, and orthopedic engineering

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