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Studies & Degrees in Engineering Special Studies

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Are you planning to pursue a degree and later a career in the field of engineering?  Have you considered which particular sphere of engineering you’d like to pursue—the area in which you’d like to specialize?  The field of engineering is enormously broad, containing a number of specialized disciplines and sub-disciplines, which is why most colleges and universities now offer a degree program known as Engineering Special Studies.  Typically offered at the graduate or Master’s level, the Engineering Special Studies program affords students the opportunity to focus exclusively on a particular area of the engineering field, an area in which they hope to find employment upon graduation.  Within this program there are a number of possible paths a student can take, but for the purpose of brevity, below we have highlighted just a few to use as examples.
Engineering Special Studies:  Disciplines and Sub-Disciplines
Chemical Engineering
In the field of chemical engineering, students learn how to apply the physical and biological sciences to the process of converting raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms.  Some of the sub-disciplines of chemical engineering that are available under the Engineering Special Studies program may include:
  • Materials engineering.  Material engineering, which can be broken down even further into fields such as ceramic engineering and crystal engineering, involves the properties of matter and their relationship to engineering.
  • Process engineering.  Process engineering focuses on the design and optimization of chemical processes, as well as their operation and control.  Under this sub-discipline, too, are a number of specialized fields, including petroleum refinery engineering, plastics engineering and paper engineering.  Process engineers are in very high demand, both in the United Stated and abroad, and very well-compensated.
Civil Engineering
Civil engineering can be defined as the design, construction and maintenance of physical and naturally-built environments.  Some of the sub-disciplines related to this field include:
  • Geotechnical engineering.  Geotechnical engineers focus on the behavior of geological materials at the site of a civil engineering project.
  • Structural engineering.  Structural engineering refers to the engineering of structures that either support or resist loads.  These professionals generally work hand in hand with architects and project managers to ensure the safety and correct design of buildings, homes and other structures.
Electrical Engineering
Electricity, electronics and electromagnetism—their study and practical application—are the main focus in electrical engineering.  Under this discipline there are also several sub-categories, including:
  • Computer engineering.  Computer engineers focus on the design and application of computing devices with the application of electrical systems.  These professionals, with titles such as software engineer, are in very high demand in this now computer dominated world.
  • Optical engineering.  Optical engineering comprises the design of systems and instrumentation that use the properties of electromagnetic radiation.
Mechanical Engineering
The field of Mechanical Engineering is concerned with the design, analysis and utilization of heat and mechanical power for the operation of machines and mechanical systems.  Sub-disciplines in this field include:
  • Vehicle engineering.  Vehicle engineering can be defined as the design, manufacturing and operation of the various systems and equipment used to propel a wide range of vehicles, including automobiles, trucks, aircraft, naval vessels, motorcycles and more.
  • Thermal engineering.  Thermal engineering focuses on the heating and/or cooling of processes, equipment and/or enclosed environments.
Eligibility requirements for admission into a Master’s Degree program in Engineering Special Studies typically include a Bachelor Degree in Engineering or a related field, as well as a passing score on an entrance examination.