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Explore Majors

There are so many ways that engineers impact society and so many career paths Penn State Engineering students can follow. For a list of all engineering options at Penn State, click on Majors.

Here are brief descriptions of each engineering major in the College of Engineering at University Park:

Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace engineers design, analyze, and test flight vehicles and their components for high-performance aircraft and spacecraft, rockets, and turbine engines. A truly interdisciplinary major, aerospace engineering focuses on aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, dynamics and controls, and information technology in order to serve as architects of air, space, or underwater vehicles and wind-energy systems. More

Career opportunities: Manufacturing, service, and software companies; government agencies; research laboratories.

Architectural Engineering

Architectural engineers plan, design, construct, and operate buildings and building systems. They engineer building solutions, enhancing their client’s ability to achieve their goals, including reducing energy and environmental impact; and creating green, sustainable, and high-performance buildings. More

Career opportunities: Architectural engineering, consulting engineering, and construction firms.

Biological Engineering

Biological engineers seek to meet the demand for more abundant supplies of nutritious, high-quality food at affordable prices while considering the environmental impact of material production and processing. More

Career opportunities: Biological and food processing, bio-energy, off-road machinery development, protection of natural resources; structural design.

Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineers are in a unique position to bridge the gap between medical professionals and the engineering community. They apply traditional engineering skills and analysis to understand biological systems. Biomedical engineering emphasizes the integration of classical and modern engineering principles with the life sciences and healthcare. More

Career opportunities: Medical device development; diagnostic and therapeutic tool design; physiological system modeling for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries; medical school.

Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers draw extensively on a strong foundation in the chemical, physical, and biological sciences. They focus on the processes involved in making new products or treating the environment, such as pharmaceuticals, plastics, alternative fuels, therapeutic proteins, and artificial organs. More

Career opportunities: High-tech, chemical or pharmaceutical industries; microelectronics companies.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil engineers design and develop facilities that both serve human and environmental needs and ensure public safety. They play a large role in civil works planning, in the management and rehabilitation of infrastructure, and in devising solutions for flood control and environmental contamination problems. More

Career opportunities: Design and construction of buildings, bridges, transportation systems, and water and wastewater systems.

Computer Science and Engineering

Computer engineers specialize in hardware/software design while computer scientists focus on software development, programming, and systems analytics. More

Career opportunities: Develop and evaluate the performance of new computer systems; investigate computer communication requirements; develop artificial intelligence and robotics.

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers design electrical and electronic systems and their components for a wide range of applications such as mobile phones, consumer electronics, computers, and power generation. More

Career opportunities: Systems and circuit design for consumer electronics; signal processing software and hardware development for audio and video applications; software design for artificial intelligence, computer vision, and medical imaging.

Engineering Science and Mechanics

This interdisciplinary honors program helps prepare engineers to work in a diverse range of fields, including mechanics, materials, energy conservation, power, electronics, computing, sensors, biomaterials and medicine, robotics, and nanotechnology. More

Career opportunities: Graduate work in engineering, science, medicine, business, or law; research and development of new materials, devices, sensors, and machines; design of innovative systems and processes.

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Industrial engineers design, plan, and control many types of systems in manufacturing and service sectors. These systems involve the production and efficient integration of people, machines, materials, energy, and information. They design manufacturing and service processes, develop automation for high productivity, ensure product quality, design jobs that conform to the capabilities and limitations of the human operator and ensure the workers’ health and safety, and analyze and design supply chain systems. More

Career opportunities: Manufacturing, aerospace, healthcare, transportation, and theme park industries.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers integrate principles of energy and mechanics to design machines and products. Mechanical engineering is divided into two broad areas: mechanical systems and thermal systems. Using the knowledge gained in these areas, mechanical engineers design vehicles; specialize in pumps, compressors, blowers; or design, manufacture, and package electronics and consumer products. More

Career opportunities: Automotive, aerospace, utilities, and manufacturing companies; small, high-tech robotic, computer software, nanotechnology, and biomedical technology firms.

Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear engineers apply principles of nuclear science to meet energy needs and benefit humankind. They design, service, and maintain nuclear power plants and develop radiation detection and measurement methods; and devise facilities to store, monitor, and dispose of radioactive waste. More

Career opportunities: Electrical utility, medical, energy, and aerospace industries.

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