Student and Graduate Publishing

Guide to Engineering Disciplines

Wednesday, 22 January 2014 14:39

There is more to engineering than you might think…

As the global demand for more and more qualified engineers continues to grow unabated, it is not surprising that the more traditional fields of engineering have expanded to incorporate quite a few non-traditional engineering specialities. This has opened up an exciting world of opportunities for many engineering graduates, as it sees them using their qualifications and understanding of engineering principles in ways unheard of a mere decade ago. Below is a guide to all of the major engineering branches and includes all of their sub disciplines that graduates can specialise in. 

Chemical Engineering
Chemical engineering is one of the most popular branches of engineering in the UK and uses both physical and biological science to help create an understanding of how raw materials and chemicals can be used to create useful or valuable substances. The sub disciplines of chemical engineering include:
• Biomolecular Engineering – the manufacturing of biomolecules
• Materials Engineering – the application of matter within the sphere of engineering 
• Molecular Engineering – the manufacturing of molecules
• Process Engineering – the creation and control of optimised chemical processes

Civil Engineering
Civil engineers are in high demand around the globe due to their knowledge of the design, construction, and maintenance of engineered physical and natural environments. Civil engineering includes the sub disciplines of:
• Environmental engineering – engineering processes that improve and protect the environment
• Geological engineering – the behaviour of geological materials
• Structural engineering – the engineering of structural support systems
• Transport engineering – the use of engineering principles to create safe and efficient transport systems
• Water resources engineering – the development and management of water resources

Electrical Engineering
This is an exciting branch of engineering that comprises the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. Electrical engineering includes a number of sub disciplines, including:
• Computer engineering – the design and creation of computing devices
• Electronic engineering – the design of electricity circuits to achieve a particular function
• Optical engineering – the design and creation of electromagnetic radiation instruments and systems
• Power engineering – the design and building of devices that generate, transmit and distribute electricity

Mechanical Engineering
The design, analysis and use of heat, sound and mechanical power is the focus of this branch of engineering and includes the following engineering sub disciplines:
• Acoustical engineering – the manipulation and control of vibration
• Manufacturing engineering – the research and development of manufacturing systems 
• Thermal engineering – the control of the heating and cooling of processes in enclosed environments
• Vehicle engineering – the design, manufacture and operation of vehicle systems

Interdisciplinary Engineering
There are also a number of interdisciplinary fields of engineering that focuses on new (or relatively new) technologies that incorporate one or more distinct branches of engineering. They include:
• Aerospace engineering - the application of advanced engineering principles to aerospace systems
• Agricultural engineering – the control, management and creation of agricultural power, machinery, structures and natural resources
• Applied engineering – the management and design of product manufacturing processes
• Biological engineering – the engineering process with biological and medical fields
• Building services engineering - the engineering of both the internal environment and environmental impact of a building
• Energy engineering – the engineering of energy efficient services, facilities and technologies
• Industrial engineering – the creation and management of logistical and resource systems
• Mechatronics – the examination and creation of automation systems
• Nanoengineering – the practice of engineering on a nanoscopic scale
• Nuclear engineering – the management and application of nuclear science to engineering
• Petroleum engineering – the field of engineering geared towards drilling for and producing crude oil and natural gas

Want a more detailed description of the different branches of engineering? Then go to Grad mag's Engineering article here.

This article was written and supplied by the engineering professionals at Petro Min Engineers