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Engineering, General

Program Description

Just the Facts

Engineering, General. A program that generally prepares individuals to apply mathematical and scientific principles to solve a wide variety of practical problems in industry, social organization, public works, and commerce. Includes instruction in undifferentiated and individualized programs in engineering.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Additional Information

Engineering students are trained to use cutting-edge technologies in a wide variety of industries. They combine creativity with technical knowledge and learn to create new technologies.

Students can choose to specialize in such fields as agricultural, electrical, industrial and mining engineering. If you already know which field of engineering interests you most, choose a school that specializes in that field.

But if you're not sure yet, don't worry. Many engineering programs take a general focus for the first year or two. Students choose a specialization in the later years, after they been exposed to several aspects of the field.

Many engineering programs have cooperative education programs, which alternate school terms and work terms. These programs may take longer to complete than a straight academic track. But they also provide you with valuable hands-on industry experience and allow you to make important industry contacts.

Also, these work terms are paid, which will make it easier for you to finance your education.

Good grades are important. It can be tough to get into an engineering program.

If you can't decide which area to study, remember that many branches of engineering overlap. For example, robotics can be approached from a computer, electrical, mechanical or systems design standpoint.

The first semester of an engineering program is basically a continuation of the courses taken in high school. Expect subjects like calculus, algebra, chemistry and physics. An English-language proficiency test may also be required.

"Student applicants should have good study habits and time management habits," says Michael A. Driscoll, an engineering professor at Portland State University.

He says high school students should take math (including calculus), physical science and writing classes.

Computer literacy is important. "We expect most applicants to have a basic understanding of how to use computers as word processors, [and be able to use] other software packages," says Driscoll.

A student's extracurricular involvement is also important. "Particularly useful are activities that build leadership and technological skills," Driscoll says.

Programs must be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Engineering programs tend to be more expensive than average. But remember that many programs offer paid work terms. There are also lots of scholarships out there for good students.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Engineers

"The national electronic mentoring network for women in engineering and science"

This site has science and engineering resources for you to explore

Mechanical Design Engineering Resources
A good place to start your quest for knowledge


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