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General Engineering: Doctoral Degree

Engineering offers a wide variety of specialty areas. Pursuing a doctoral degree in engineering opens up a world of opportunity for potential students, and this article shows you how to apply and what to expect in a program.

What Is a General Engineering Doctoral Program?

General engineering doctoral degree programs are interdisciplinary and combine instruction across many fields of engineering into a single program. Because of the breadth of study, this type of curriculum may be of interest to you if you wish to pursue a career in academics, research or private consultation.

You can expect to complete dissertation research in order to meet graduation requirements. Some programs may still require that you focus on a specific area of engineering, such as computer or biomechanical engineering, for your dissertation. Most programs award the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in general engineering, engineering or interdisciplinary engineering, and are campus-based.

PrerequisitesBachelor's or master's degree, GRE scores
Program StructureLectures and seminars; some programs require a concentration
Graduation Requirements Extensive research and dissertation
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 7% (for all Architecture and Engineering occupations)
Median Salary (May 2018) $80,170 (for all Architecture and Engineering occupations)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Expect From The Admissions Process?

Admission procedures will vary based on the school and focus of the program. Programs may require that you have already earned a bachelor's or master's degree from an ABET-accredited program. If your bachelor's or master's degree isn't in engineering, you may be required to take supplemental courses before enrolling in a general engineering doctoral program.

Additional requirements may include Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores and letters of recommendation. If English is not your first language, you may also be required to take a language proficiency test.

What Could I Learn?

Because of the flexible, interdisciplinary format, the curriculum may vary based on the program and your interests. General engineering program coursework can include seminars and lectures that are designed to keep you up-to-date on changes within the multiple disciplines of engineering.

You could tailor your classes to supplement your professional background and future career interests. For example, you may take some courses in chemical engineering, while completing research in bioengineering. If you are looking for something more disciplined and rigid, you may consider programs that offer curriculum-specific interdisciplinary tracks.