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8 Engineering Streams For Study US, Canada & UK Aspirants

by Oren Lahav

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Want to study engineering but not sure exactly what?

Don't worry, this list of popular engineering majors and branches will help you decide!

Engineering Majors 1- Traditional Branches

Lesson Summary:
Mechanical Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Civil Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

What is mechanical engineering?

This branch of engineering has to do with using physics and other scientific concepts to design, analyze, and ultimately create mechanical systems. This traces back to the prehistoric wheel, the works of Archimedes, and other primitive machines.

What will you study?

In modern days, you'll study things like dynamics, instrumentation, fluid mechanics, mechanism design and many other interesting courses.

Where will it take you?

  • Mechanics, analyzing the effect of forces on matter using physics and applying this to other engineering concepts.
  • Kinematics and motion analysis
  • Mechatronics and robotics, which combine mechanical with electrical and software engineering to create practical machines and robots.
  • Structural analysis, explaining why objects fail.
  • Thermodynamics- looking at energy transfer in systems, for example heat transfer in fuel operations.
  • Drafting, and manufacturing parts for assembly.

Famous Example:

Bill Nye, the Science Guy. Nye was a mechanical engineer and worked for Boeing, the famous airplane manufacturer. He later launched a famous, critically-acclaimed television show called Bill Nye the Science Guy, which taught many kids and teens all about science.

Where do you start?

The New England Institute of Technology offers a Mechanical Engineering Technology program.
Mississippi State University also has a a Mechanical Engineering program.
Georgian College has a Mechanical Engineering Technology diploma.

Electrical Engineering

What is electrical engineering?

The branch of engineering that deals exclusively with designing electrical systems and goods. The field began to emerge in the late nineteenth century, once electrical power supplies became commercialized. Electrical engineering deals with transmission of electricity across large-scale systems, whereas the related branch of electronic engineering looks smaller scales computers and integrated circuits.

What will you study?

You'll be able to study electromagnetics, network theory, circuits and control systems, among many other topics.

Where will it take you?

  • Power engineering, which deals with transmission of commercial electricity and devices like transformers, generators, and high voltage motors.
  • Control, which focuses on designing structures that help facilitate the behaviour of systems.
  • Electronics- designing and testing electric circuits and goods.
  • Microelectronics, which has to do with designing very small components of circuits, used in integrated circuits.
  • Signal Processing, both digital and analog, for telecommunications.
  • Instrumentation- designing devices to measure physical quantities like pressure or temperatures.
  • Computer engineering and other complicated devices like MP3 and video game console designs.

Famous example:

Amir Bose. Bose is a Bengali, Indian electrical engineer who studied in the US. He invented many patents in loud speaker design, and founded the Bose Corporation, a large audio equipment company. Bose was even inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.


Where do you start?

NEIT also offers a great Electrical Engineering program.
You'll find a good Electrical Engineering program at the University of Kentucky.

Chemical Engineering

What is chemical engineering?

This aspect of engineering uses physics, mathematics, and (of course) chemistry to convert materials and chemical into useful things. Chemical engineering has a hand in the processes that help create such things as plastics, pharmaceuticals, detergent products, and fuels. Chemical engineering focuses on finding the most economical chemical process, in terms of financial and environmental costs.

What will you study?

You'll encounter topics such as biomolecular engineering, distillation design, process control, separation processes, unit operations and much more.

Where will it take you?

  • Biochemical engineering- designing processes that involve biological molecules or organisms, such as bioreactors used to grow cells and tissues.
  • Environmental engineering, using chemical processes for air and water pollution control.
  • Material engineering and the application of properties of matter in industries.
  • Textile engineering, which deals with designing fibers and textiles.
  • Metallurgy, which looks specifically at metals and their uses and properties.
  • Food engineering- applying chemical processes to the preparation, packaging and other aspects of healthy food.

Famous Example:

Jack Welch. Welch studied chemical engineering and joined General Electric as a junior engineer in 1960. He climbed the company quickly and became GE's youngest CEO in 1981. His uncanny and unique leadership and management made him a popular figure in top business circles.

Where do you start?

There's a Chemical Engineering program at the University of Kentucky.
MSU has a program in Chemical Engineering.

Civil Engineering

What is civil engineering?

The second oldest engineering discipline, civil engineering deals with man-made and naturally built environments. Things like buildings, roads, dams and bridges are all works of civil engineers. Dealing with the basics of society and environment, civil engineering solves problems involving water supplies, living areas, weather difficulties, and more.

What will you study?

You'll be studying geology, applied geometry, project management, topographical physics, and many other topics to become a professional civil engineer.

Where will it take you?

  • Construction engineering, looking closely at the business aspects of site development and construction, such as contract drafting, logistics and supply management.
  • Earthquake engineering, which designing and evaluating structures to withstand earthquakes.
  • Geotechnical engineering, involved with the rock and soil that supports civil structures.
  • Water resource engineering- collecting and managing water using pipelines and water systems.
  • Structural engineering- looking at the structural design of buildings, bridges, towers, and other structures.
  • Transportation engineering, designing roads, railways, harbors, and other ways of transporting goods and people efficiently.

Famous example:

John Roebling. He was a very famous German-born civil engineer. He started with river navigations and canal building, but quickly became notorious for wire rope suspension bridge designs. His most famous work is the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

Where do you start?

You can find an awesome Civil Engineering program at Mississippi State University.
You can find another good one at the University of Kentucky.

Engineering has a world of options to offer you!

Click here for Part 2!

Image Credit: Strange Machine, by (Tres) , Electrical Pole, by Jeffk , Chemical Reaction, by neys , Lego Building, by bonstromer

Ask The Experts

14 Comments
    pankaj dhandar
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    pankaj dhandarFri, 09 Aug 2013 03:59:56 -0000

    i want to do master programme abroad in automotive engineering .would you suggest me best university for this.

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    SEMACHEW
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    SEMACHEWWed, 29 May 2013 10:57:00 -0000

    i want to study my MS degree in control engineering at canada

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    saikiran_c93
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    Thu, 24 Jan 2013 07:20:25 -0000

    hi, this is Kiran. I am planning to pursue master's either in Germany or USA, so would you please tell me top universities in mechanical engineering . Thanks in advance.

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    NM12
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    NM12Thu, 26 Apr 2012 10:17:54 -0000

    I WANT TO STUDY FOR UNDERGRATION IN UK..

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    valdas
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    sairamSun, 23 Oct 2011 09:20:31 -0000

    pls let me know about areonautical engg..which i pursue..im intrested in structures n propulsion…

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    valdas
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    sairamSun, 23 Oct 2011 09:05:25 -0000

    pls let me know about areonautical engg..which i pursue..im intrested in structures n propulsion…

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    valdas
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    sairamSun, 23 Oct 2011 09:03:37 -0000

    pls let me know about areonautical engg..which i pursue..im intrested in structures n propulsion…

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    bvenky
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    bvenkyWed, 23 Jun 2010 10:36:08 -0000

    please tell me the advantages in the mechanical engineering when compared to other engineering streams?
    If I choose mechanical engg in B.Tech then there is any possibility to choose nanotechnology in M.Tech.

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    aj_avenger_aj
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    Tue, 15 Dec 2009 09:13:21 -0000

    which is a better option chemical engineering or automobile engineering? my dad is in the chemical business. please help

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    amit_wadhwa
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    Amit WadhwaWed, 30 Dec 2009 10:02:49 -0000

    Hi, First thing is to understand your interest and aptitude for the course that you would like to do. Both the courses are good. The advantage you get in Chemical Engineering is that you can then take part in Family business actively. but if you are interested in Automobile then you should take that course.

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    oLahav
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    Oren LahavFri, 24 Apr 2009 13:41:57 -0000

    Some current research areas in electrical engineering include micro and nano electronics (really small electric circuits and devices), the whole big semiconductors area, improving satellite telecommunications, and more. There's no lack of research areas, but most are applications of electrical engineering to either smaller frameworks or different fields, since there's only so much you can do with a regular circuit.

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    narmita
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    Shruti SharmaFri, 24 Apr 2009 08:27:23 -0000

    Please tell me the research areas in electrical engg

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    SAAIM
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    MOHAMMED SAAIMMon, 06 Apr 2009 07:15:34 -0000

    PLEASE tell me about BIOENGINEERING. I am planning to do BS in Bioengineering from US University.

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    oLahav
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    Oren LahavMon, 06 Apr 2009 13:18:18 -0000

    Bioengineering is applying the engineering concepts to biology and medicine. It's a part of the broader biotechnology which includes other stuff like bioinformatics, genetic engineering, and more. There's a lot going on in that field, they're genetically engineering foods and trying to engineer new medical solutions, etc. The US has a lot of good schools for bioengineering. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to find some good programs with our school search.

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    oLahav
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    Oren LahavThu, 14 Aug 2008 14:06:00 -0000

    Polymer engineering would probably fall under Materials Engineering, which is part of Chemical Engineering. You'll be studying things like the general chemical engineering topics mentioned above, as well as more specific courses like petrochemicals, polymerization, structure and characterization of polymers, properties of polymers, compounding and processing of polymers, structure property relations and applications, and more.

    Polymer engineers are in demand in many industries where polymers are used. For example, aerospace and automobile companies are looking into developing polymers and composites that improve their products, and so are textile companies and various other ones.

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    owais123
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    Owais NooruddinWed, 24 Sep 2008 19:12:33 -0000

    This is true what u said but i saw that Chemical Engineers ( Process Engineer) more dominant in the Polymer industry due to more knowledge about Plant troubleshooting and designing etc so i will suggest Chemical Engineering rather than Polymer Engineering

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    purushp
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    PurushothamanThu, 14 Aug 2008 10:37:44 -0000

    tell me please where is the scope for polymer engineering

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Last Updated At May 31, 2013
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