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Best Online Degrees in: Engineering

Explore a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering

Engineers apply science and mathematics to design, manufacture, and operate machines and structures. Engineering is composed of several branches, including chemical, civil, aeronautic, astronautic, architectural, biomechanical, biomedical, electrical, electronic, environmental, and mechanical engineering. Engineering undergraduate programs differ by specialization, but the foundational course work required remains uniform for most disciplines.

Class Curriculum

Engineering students require core course work in calculus, chemistry, and physics. Computer science or biology may also be required. Some programs may also require English, English composition, and humanities course work among general education requirements. Advanced course work will depend on the engineering specialization. The following are examples of introductory courses required in engineering:

  • Calculus. Introductory calculus will cover single variable differentiation and function integration and infinite series. Advanced calculus will cover vector and multi-variable calculus, matrices, partial derivatives, and double and triple integrals.
  • Chemistry. Introductory chemistry will give an overview of biological, inorganic, and organic molecules as well as atomic and molecular structure, thermodynamics, and chemical kinetics. Introductory chemistry course work will usually coincide with laboratory course work.
  • Physics. Introductory physics course work introduces space and time, straight line kinematics, forces and equilibrium, Newton’s laws, particle dynamics, collisions and conservation laws, potential energy, inertia forces, central force motions, and rotational dynamics. Further course work cover electricity and magnetism, and the nature of light.

All engineering disciplines require reading assignments, problem sets, projects, presentations, and laboratory work pertaining to topics learned in lecture. The majority of assignments will most likely be problem sets, though some senior-level courses require design projects that serve as the majority of a student’s grade.

Building a Career

Career prospects and wages depend largely on the engineering discipline and other factors like employer, area, experience, and position. For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that agricultural engineers had a median annual wage of $71,090 in 2010, while petroleum engineers had a median annual wage of $114,080. Some disciplines and positions will require education beyond the undergraduate level.

Some engineering positions require licensure, particularly to work on government contracts. Engineering licensure requires a degree from an engineering program accredited by ABET, a passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, and a passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam. The FE exam may be taken after obtaining a degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program, and the PE exam may be taken after successfully completing the FE exam.

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