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Staff Writers
Updated March 24, 2021

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An engineering major will have a lot of coursework to master and homework to complete in order to successfully earn their engineering degree. This is because the field of engineering relies on a perfect understanding, analysis, and execution of formulas, sciences, physics, materials and calculations. Below explains the variables that may contribute to an engineering degree's academic intensity, volume and length.

See our ranking of the 30 Best Values for Aerospace Engineering.

Engineering Branches

The amount of studying involved will depend on the specific engineering field. There are dozens of different engineering branches that each has their own specialization categories. This includes aerospace, agricultural, automotive, biosystems, and biomedical engineers. The latter may participate in designing artificial hearts, prosthetic limbs, and physiotherapy technologies. Other engineering branches include building, chemical, civil, communications, computer, and construction.

A construction engineer will schedule and streamline projects, ensure delivery of specific materials and test facilities to ensure compliance with legal standards. Other engineering fields include electrical, chemical, environmental, food, forestry, and gas. The alphabet of engineering fields continues to many more interesting areas. The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a comprehensive overview of engineering occupations here.

Undergraduate Degree Basics

Some students earn a Bachelor of Science in general engineering, but most undergraduates will select a specific field. Basic engineering classes will involve non-technical courses in Project Management, which introduces them to best tools and practices, as well as Organizational Behavior, which introduces students to the functions of business, engineering and production management.

Studying Calculus-based Probability and Statistics explores topics like random sampling, point estimation, and continuous random variables. Physics labs require students to obtain quantifiable results, communicate clearly with peers and master equations involving sound, gravity, motion, and energy. Other classes may include Engineering Programming, Solid Materials Science, Mechanical Design Principles and Instrumentation and Devices. Specialized classes may involve anything from fluid mechanics, clinical applications, device diagnostics to numerical modeling.

Graduate Degree Challenges

Any engineer who wants to advance their career will need to earn a graduate degree. A graduate degree in engineering will likely combine complex concepts, technical coursework, leadership skills, and industry knowledge together. These degrees usually prepare students for consulting or management careers in industry, business or government. Many graduate engineering programs include individual capstone assignments or team-based practicums that involve the research, design, and presentation of a project. Many of these programs also offer internships and voluntary work experience opportunities.

For example, a Master of Engineering (MEng) in Systems Engineering degree program may offer students specializations in network systems, operations research, production service, and environmental systems. These students must learn the methodologies to recognize and manage real-world challenges like constraints, uncertainty, multiple objectives and subsystem relationships. Clearly, a technical degree like this will certainly involve a lot of studying and homework!

An engineering major in any field must be skilled at problem formulation, quantitative methods, performance evaluation, mathematical programming and optimal decision making for the safest and best results. An engineering degree allows students to gain sufficient technical breadth while offering complementing courses to enhance knowledge and performance.

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