Major Overview

Does math and science come easily to you? Do you love figuring out the science behind cars, robots, airplanes, and bridges? Engineering is not just about being good at math, rather it appeals to the person who loves to understand the process of how things work, how structures are built, and the math that it takes to design new buildings, products and systems. This major allows you to learn how things actually run and work. It teaches you to create and build things that we need. This includes items such as bridges, but also can get as technical as robots that are small enough to fit into the human body.

Courses will vary depending on the institution you attend, but some of the basics include: chemistry, engineering, economics and ethics for engineers, engineering law, geology, geophysics, and introductions to computer programming, numerical methods, physics, and some business courses.

You may also choose to major in pre-engineering which prepares you to transfer into a four year program in any of the numerous fields in engineering.

Required Skills

Engineers use math and science concepts to analyze and solve practical problems. These problems will be as vast as oil-drilling techniques, to MP3 players and everything in-between. This means you should have some natural ability in both math and science. Algorithms will become part of your life. You should be willing to work hard to figure out complex problems. Students will need to be dedicated and determined, and learn to relish the joy of discovering something new or making a breakthrough on a problem.

Most engineers work in teams to complete projects. You will find it necessary to acquire good communication and collaborative skills. Successful Students will listen to recommendations from classmates and teachers, while pulling their own weight in completing group-work. For many upper level classes you will get to pick your teams to design and build your project. It is important to pick classmates who you can work well with in order to accomplish the task at hand. Strong speaking skills will come in handy when giving presentations on your findings.

As a general engineer major, you will learn how to gather and interpret data. Challenging math and science courses will be present in every semester of college. Many colleges require a certain grade point average in order to stay in the program. This is a major for people who are innovative, creative, flexible, and focused.

Many schools will require you to obtain some sort of internship in engineering either over the summer or during the semester.


As a general engineer, you will study many different fields of engineering briefly. Some choose to get a master's degree in a more specialized field. However, you may get a job working with other engineers on a team to create a product or even to help market that particular product. You are also well prepared to work in a non-engineering field like law.

Rate of pay and growth in the career field vary greatly depending on what field of Engineering you choose to specialize in.

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Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Engineering, General might open up.

Architectural and Engineering Managers
Engineering Teachers, Postsecondary
Engineers, All Other
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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