Types of Engineering Majors

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Engineering is one of the most diverse fields you can major in. Engineering breaks down into at least 20 different majors. You should check the offerings of your college or any college you're interested in to learn which engineering majors it provides. Still, no matter what college you attend you are likely to find a few basic, overarching engineering majors that you can focus on.

1 Chemical

Chemical engineering studies reaction at the molecular level. These scholars are interested in how different chemicals interact with one another. The major can focus on a number of different special areas. These include food, agriculture, the environment, biological systems and other areas. Some specialties also study reactions at a larger level, called macroscopic. For example, a chemical engineer with a forestry specialty might study how acid rain affects a forest.

2 Civil

The civil engineering major studies subjects that most people think of when they hear “engineering.” This is, in part, because it is the oldest branch of engineering. Civil engineering studies construction and building. Civil engineers are responsible for construction not only of buildings but also of roads, bridges and other structures. Engineers in this major learn to solve problems, make models and work with various tools used in the construction process. This branch of engineering is considered “civil” because the structures it builds affect communities more directly than the work of any other branches of engineering.

3 Electrical

Electrical engineering majors study more than electricity. They also study magnetism and the physical laws of the universe. An electrical engineer is more likely to create new technologies than a civil or chemical engineer. Specialties of the elecgtrical engineer major include computers, software, electronic systems, communications and electromechanical systems (such as the automotive industry). Electrical engineers are responsible for creating neon lights, refrigerators and many other technologies.

4 Mechanical

Mechanical engineering majors intersect with many other areas of engineering. For example, mechanical engineers, like electrical engineers, are interested in the automotive industry. Instead of focusing on electricity, however, Mechanical engineers focus on heat and motion. Mechanical engineers specialize in aerospace, such as how to keep a space shuttle for overheating; biomedical, such has how to create artificial limbs; and naval, such as ships used by the Navy.

5 Other

The engineering major contains many other sections that don't fall in one category but rather intersect with many engineering focuses. These include engineering management, or how to plan a project from a management point of view; geological engineering, or solving problems in the environment; and ocean engineering, or study of the ocean environment. Check your college's roster to find out what types of engineering majors it provides.

Colby Stream has been a writer since 2007. His work has appeared in "The Arbiter," the student newspaper of Boise State University, as well as various websites. Stream graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in communication as a presidential civic leadership scholar.