Types of Engineering
What is Engineering?
Engineering can be simply thought of as applying mathematics and science to solve real-world problems. It requires a great deal of hard work, discipline, and creativity. Engineering is an extremely large field and is always broken down into various areas of specialization. These are listed and described in more detail below.
Most incoming engineering students do not have a solid idea of what area of engineering they want to do, but typical four-year engineering schools normally require either a formal or informal declaration of the field upon entrance. One of the beautiful aspects of Covenant's Dual Degree Program is the ability to sample the various areas for about two and a half to three years before the necessary declaration upon transferring to Georgia Tech or another approved institution.
Practicing engineers typically work in teams designing either a component of an overall product or the entire product itself. The abilities of communicating well and cooperating with others are essential tools for the engineer. Engineers with some experience are also prime candidates for managerial positions.
Which Type of Engineering is Right for Me?
Listed below are the different engineering degrees offered at Georgia Tech with descriptions of each. Also included are the links to each of the individual department homepages.
Keep in mind that Georgia Tech focuses on engineering. Therefore, some of the more specialized engineering degrees, like aerospace, bioengineering, industrial, materials, and textile, will not be offered at all other universities with engineering degrees. So, if you are planning on finishing your degree with another institution, you should confirm that the degree exists.
Aerospace Engineering (AE)
The people who find themselves in this field are typically mostly interested in working with aircraft. AE can be simply thought of as mechanical engineering specifically geared towards planes. This field really emphasizes the flow of fluids.
If you are more interested in the life sciences like biology than the more mathematically rigorous sciences like physics, then biomedical engineering may be a fit for you. This field takes the principles of the other branches of engineering and applies them to the medical industry to create products such as patient monitoring equipment, medical imagers, prosthetics, surgical tools, and artificial organs.
This is very similar to biomedical engineering. The primary difference is that biomedical engineering is specifically geared towards the medical industry, whereas bioengineering is not necessarily bounded by medicine, although it may include medicine.
Chemical Engineering (ChemE)
If you love chemistry and also want to go into engineering, then this is the type of engineering for you. ChemE is purely the synthesis of chemistry and engineering, and some of the typical industrial products designed by chemical engineers include pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
Civil Engineering (CE)
This is the type of engineering that most non-engineers think of when they hear the term "engineering." As the name suggests, civil engineers design to fulfill civic needs. This can range from building bridges to laying out roadways to timing traffic lights or to even the construction of buildings and park facilities.
Computer Engineering (CmpE)
Computer engineering is very similar to electrical engineering. The only major difference is that it focuses on designing the electronics involved in making the hardware of computers, like the latest Pentium chip, for example. This field requires a lot of knowledge in computer programming.
Electrical Engineering (EE)
If you found yourself taking apart and then putting back together radios or other such electronic devices when you were a kid, then electrical engineering may be the one for you. EE is a very broad field which deals with topics like designing the electronics in your CD player or cell phone, working on telecommunications problems, dealing with electrical power issues and electromagnetics, or processing signals that can be either audio or visual. This is an extremely mathematically oriented branch of engineering.
Industrial Engineering (IE)
Industrial engineers work to solve problems that ultimately involve the analysis and improvement of performance in how things are done - with regard to essentially any system or environment where relevant performance can be measured. Modern IE's concentrate, in large measure, on designing processes and strategies. IE's are employed in a variety of settings including large utility companies, financial institutions, consulting groups, manufacturing enterprises, the government, hospitals, and even the courts.
This is the type of engineering that specifies to other engineers what type of material should be used for a certain product and why. Materials engineers are also often employed to test and fabricate materials for a given purpose.
Mechanical Engineering (ME)
This field deals with either the motion or stability of mechanical systems. Subjects of interest here are the motion of objects due to external forces, the transportation of heat and other thermal properties, flow of fluids, and the amount of stress an object can handle without breaking. Typical applications include designing cars, engines, turbines, and using computer aided design (CAD) tools. Those who enter this field tend to more hands-on types of people.
Textiles & Fiber Engineering
Textiles engineering is a mixture of mechanical and chemical engineering, but specifically geared toward the textile industry. Textile engineers work to design equipment that will automate the production of fiber, fabric, and other textile products.