Engineering Design Majors

Read about studying engineering design through a mechanical, civil or software engineering bachelor's degree program, among other fields. Explore the typical curricula in these programs, and check the availability of online or hybrid degree programs in engineering. Get info on the career outlook and salary potential for various engineer positions, and check the licensure and certification requirements for engineers. Schools offering Building Information Modeling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Types of Courses Will I Take as an Engineering Design Major?

Engineering design is a component of most engineering bachelor's programs. You'll find engineering design courses in mechanical engineering, civil engineering and software engineering bachelor's programs. Most of these programs include numerous math and science courses. You'll also be expected to complete a capstone or senior project showcasing the knowledge you gained throughout your program.

The curriculum in a mechanical engineering program will emphasize the design and manufacturing methods used to create new products, machines or mechanical processes. Your courses may be similar to the following:

  • Hydraulics
  • Plastics design and processing
  • Pneumatics
  • Instrumentation
  • Thermodynamics
  • Materials selection

Civil engineers plan, design and direct many types of construction projects, including highways, bridges and buildings. In a civil engineering program, your curriculum will focus on courses such as engineering mechanics, surveying, computer-aided design, soil and hydrology.

Software engineering programs focus on computer programming languages, software design, database design and software implementation. Your curriculum will include in-depth training in object-oriented programming languages like UNIX/Linux, JAVA, PHP and MySQL. Other courses may include algorithms and software security.

Common CoursesHydraulics, pneumatics, thermodynamics, materials selection, plastics design and processing
Online AvailabilitySome program does offer courses online, though laboratory assignments would still need to be completed in person
Licensure & CertificationAll states require engineers to be licensed
Job Outlook (2018-2028)4% for mechanical engineers
6% for civil engineers
21% for software developers
Median Salary (2018-2028)$87,370 for mechanical engineers
$86,640 for civil engineers
$105,590 for software developers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Can I Earn This Degree Online?

Online programs for engineering design are typically offered as hybrid programs. You may complete the majority of your courses over the Internet, but laboratory assignments on-campus might be required. Some programs allow you to complete lab or hands-on courses at a college or university in your community, while others require you to attend the class at the college you are attending via distance learning. Your assignments and quizzes will be submitted through the class website. You may be required to take final examinations at a pre-approved proctored testing site in your community.

What is the Career Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), career opportunities for mechanical engineers were expected to increase by 4% from 2018-2028 ( Although this is as fast as the national average, some new opportunities are created by the emerging fields of biotechnology, materials science and nanotechnology. The median annual salary for mechanical engineers was $87,370 in 2018, as reported by the BLS.

Employment opportunities for civil engineers were expected to increase by 6% from 2018-2028. This was due to a growing population and efforts to improve the country's infrastructure. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for civil engineers was $86,640 in 2018.

Due to expanding Internet technologies and the continued growth of computer networking, career opportunities for software engineers were expected to increase by 21% from 2018-2028. The BLS notes that computer software developers, applications and software developers, systems software earned a median annual salary of $103,620 and $110,000 respectively in 2018.

Will I Need To Be Licensed or Certified?

All states and the District of Columbia require professional engineers (PEs) to obtain licensure. You'll usually need to pass a state-administered exam, attain at least four years of on-the-job experience and earn an engineering degree from a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Continuing education courses are often required to maintain PE licensure.

Software engineers may earn additional voluntary certifications available through product vendors and software companies. In the software engineering field, certification demonstrates your level of competence and may lead to career advancement.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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