Stephen F. Austin

There are at least a dozen different branches of engineering. Fortunately, the first few semesters are the same for almost all of these branches. This means that you do not have to select your branch of engineering right away. Engineering 111 and 112 are designed to give you a flavor of each of the engineering disciplines.  Two years of courses in the pre-engineering program can prepare you for engineering schools such at Texas A&M University.  Click on the links below to learn more about these careers.

Aerospace Engineering             
Aerospace engineers are responsible for developing extraordinary machines, from airplanes that weigh over a half a million pounds to spacecraft that travel over 17,000 miles an hour. They design, develop, and test aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles and supervise the manufacturing of these products. Aerospace engineers who work with aircraft are considered aeronautical engineers, and those working specifically with spacecraft are considered astronautical engineers.                                       


Agricultural Engineering             
Agricultural engineers apply knowledge of engineering technology and biological science to agriculture. They design agricultural machinery and equipment and agricultural structures. They develop ways to conserve soil and water and to improve the processing of agricultural products. Agricultural engineers work in research and development, production, sales, or management.


Biomedical Engineering             
By combining biology and medicine with engineering, biomedical engineers develop devices and procedures that solve medical and health-related problems. Many do research, along with life scientists, chemists, and medical scientists, on the engineering aspects of the biological systems of humans and animals. Biomedical engineers also design devices used in various medical procedures, such as the computers used to analyze blood or the laser systems used in corrective eye surgery. They develop artificial organs, imaging systems such as ultrasound, and devices for automating insulin injections or controlling body functions.             

Chemical Engineering             
Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry and engineering to solve problems involving the production or use of chemicals, building a bridge between science and manufacturing. They design equipment and develop processes for large-scale chemical manufacturing, plan and test methods of manufacturing the products and treating the by-products, and supervise production. Chemical engineers also work in a variety of manufacturing industries other than chemical manufacturing, such as those producing electronics, photographic equipment, clothing, and pulp and paper.             


Civil Engineering
Civil engineers design and supervise the construction of roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and water supply and sewage systems. Civil engineering, considered one of the oldest engineering disciplines, encompasses many specialties. The major specialties within civil engineering are structural, water resources, environmental, construction, transportation, and geotechnical engineering. Many civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions, from supervisor of a construction site to city engineer. Others may work in design, construction, research, and teaching.             


Computer Hardware Engineering             
Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, and test computer hardware and supervise its manufacture and installation. Hardware refers to computer chips, circuit boards, computer systems, and related equipment such as keyboards, modems, and printers. The work of computer hardware engineers is very similar to that of electronics engineers, but unlike electronics engineers, computer hardware engineers work with computers and computer-related equipment exclusively.


Computer Software Engineering
Computer software engineers are projected to be the fastest growing occupation over the 2000-10 period. The tasks performed by workers known as computer software engineers evolve rapidly, reflecting new areas of specialization or changes in technology, as well as the preferences and practices of employers. Computer software engineers apply the principles and techniques of computer science, engineering, and mathematical analysis to the design, development, testing, and evaluation of the software and systems that enable computers to perform their many applications.             


Electrical Engineering
From geographical information systems that can continuously provide the location of a vehicle to giant electric power generators, electrical and electronics engineers are responsible for a wide range of technologies. Electrical and electronics engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment. Some of this equipment includes power generating, controlling, and transmission devices used by electric utilities; and electric motors, machinery controls, lighting, and wiring in buildings, automobiles, aircraft, radar and navigation systems, and broadcast and communications systems.


Environmental Engineering
Using the principles of biology and chemistry, environmental engineers develop methods to solve problems related to the environment. They are involved in water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, and public health issues. Environmental engineers conduct hazardous-waste management studies, evaluate the significance of the hazard, offer analysis on treatment and containment, and develop regulations to prevent mishaps. They design municipal sewage and industrial wastewater systems. They analyze scientific data, research controversial projects, and perform quality control checks.             


Industrial Engineering
Industrial engineers determine the most effective ways for an organization to use the basic factors of production—people, machines, materials, information, and energy—to make a product or to provide a service. They are the bridge between management goals and operational performance. They are more concerned with increasing productivity through the management of people, methods of business organization, and technology than are engineers in other specialties, who generally work more with products or processes. Although most industrial engineers work in manufacturing industries, they also work in consulting services, healthcare, and communications.


Materials Engineering             
Materials engineers are involved in the extraction, development, processing, and testing of the materials used to create a diversity of products, from computer chips and television screens to golf clubs and snow skis. They work with metals, ceramics, plastics, semiconductors, and combinations of materials called composites to create new materials that meet certain mechanical, electrical, and chemical requirements. They also are involved in selecting materials for new applications.


Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical engineers research, develop, design, manufacture, and test tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical devices. They work on power-producing machines such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines. They also develop power-using machines such as refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, machine tools, material handling systems, elevators and escalators, industrial production equipment, and robots used in manufacturing. Mechanical engineers also design tools needed by other engineers for their work. The field of nanotechnology, which involves the creation of high-performance materials and components by integrating atoms and molecules, is introducing entirely new principles to the design process.


Mining and Geological Engineering
Mining and geological engineers find, extract, and prepare coal, metals, and minerals for use by manufacturing industries and utilities. They design open pit and underground mines, supervise the construction of mine shafts and tunnels in underground operations, and devise methods for transporting minerals to processing plants. Mining engineers are responsible for the safe, economical, and environmentally sound operation of mines. Some mining engineers work with geologists and metallurgical engineers to locate and appraise new ore deposits. Others develop new mining equipment or direct mineral processing operations to separate minerals from the dirt, rock, and other materials with which they are mixed. Mining engineers frequently specialize in the mining of one mineral or metal, such as coal or gold. With increased emphasis on protecting the environment, many mining engineers work to solve problems related to land reclamation and water and air pollution.


Nuclear Engineering
Nuclear engineers research and develop the processes, instruments, and systems used to derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation. They design, develop, monitor, and operate nuclear plants used to generate power. They may work on the nuclear fuel cycle-the production, handling, and use of nuclear fuel and the safe disposal of waste produced by nuclear energy-or on fusion energy. Some specialize in the development of nuclear power sources for spacecraft; others find industrial and medical uses for radioactive materials, such as equipment to diagnose and treat medical problems.


Petroleum Engineering
Petroleum engineers search the world for reservoirs containing oil or natural gas. Once these are discovered, petroleum engineers work with geologists and other specialists to understand the geologic formation and properties of the rock containing the reservoir, determine the drilling methods to be used, and monitor drilling and production operations. They design equipment and processes to achieve the maximum profitable recovery of oil and gas. Petroleum engineers rely heavily on computer models to simulate reservoir performance using different recovery techniques. They also use computer models for simulations of the effects of various drilling options.

Department of Physics, Engineering, and Astronomy, P.O. Box 13044 SFA Station, Nacogdoches, TX 75962-3044 - Office: (936)468-3001
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