List of engineering branches

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Engineering is the discipline and profession that applies scientific theories, mathematical methods, and empirical evidence to design, create, and analyze technological solutions cognizant of safety, human factors, physical laws, regulations, practicality, and cost. In the contemporary era, engineering is generally considered to consist of the major primary branches of chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.[1] There are numerous other engineering sub-disciplines and interdisciplinary subjects that may or may not be part of these major engineering branches.

Chemical engineering[edit]

Chemical engineering is the application of chemical, physical and biological sciences to the process of converting raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms.

Subdiscipline Scope Major specialties
Biomolecular engineering
Materials engineering Involves properties of matter (material) and its applications to engineering.
Molecular engineering Focuses on the manufacturing of molecules.
Process engineering Focuses on the design, operation, control, and optimization of chemical processes. These include natural and man-made materials, the interaction of materials with machines, safety and health, energy conservation, and waste and pollution control. This extends to plant design and layout, machine and wet process design and improvement and designing and creating products.
Corrosion engineering Applies scientific knowledge, natural laws, and physical resources to design and implement materials, structures, devices, systems, and procedures to manage corrosion. Generally related to metallurgy, corrosion engineering also encompasses non-metallics including ceramics. Corrosion engineers often manage other not-strictly-corrosion processes including cracking, brittle fracture, crazing, fretting, erosion, and more.

Civil engineering[edit]

Civil engineering comprises the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and natural built environments.

Subdiscipline Scope Major specialties
Environmental engineering The application of engineering to the improvement and protection of the environment.
  • Ecological engineering, the design, monitoring, and construction of ecosystems
  • Fire protection engineering, the application of engineering to protect people and environments from fire and smoke
  • Sanitary engineering, the application of engineering methods to improve sanitation of human communities
  • Wastewater engineering, Wastewater engineering is a type of engineering that comes from civil engineering and environmental engineering. A wastewater engineer determines the best way to transport or collect rainwater for human populations. Wastewater engineering also deals with the transportation and cleaning of blackwater, greywater and irrigation water. Wastewater treatment and water reclamation are areas of concern in this field. Wastewater engineers map out the topographical and geographical features of Earth to determine the best means of collection. They use sonar scanning in wells to determine volumes of water that can be used for human consumption. Using these types of data they can provide a means of collecting water. After collecting the water, it is their job to transport it to where it can be made available for use.
  • Municipal or urban engineering, civil engineering applied to municipal issues such as water and waste management, transportation networks, subdivisions, communications, hydrology, hydraulics, etc.
Geotechnical engineering Concerned with the behavior of earth materials and soil and rock mechanics at the site of a civil engineering project.
  • Foundation (engineering), the engineering of below-ground foundations that support superstructures
  • Mining engineering An engineering discipline that involves the science, technology, and practice of extracting and processing minerals from a naturally occurring environment.
Structural engineering The engineering of structures that support or resist structural loads.
Transport engineering The use of engineering to ensure the safe and efficient transportation of people and goods.
  • Traffic engineering, a branch of transportation engineering focusing on the infrastructure necessary for transportation
  • Highway engineering, a branch of engineering that deals with major roadways and transportation systems involving automobiles. Highway engineering usually involves the construction and design of highways.
Utility engineering A branch of Civil Engineering that focuses on the planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and asset management of any and all utility systems, as well as the interaction between utility infrastructure and other civil infrastructure[2]
  • Subsurface utility engineering, a branch of utility engineering that involves managing certain risks associated with utility mapping at appropriate quality levels and communication of utility data to concerned parties.
Water resources engineering Prediction, planning, development, and management of water resources.
  • Hydraulic engineering, concerned with the flow and conveyance of fluids, principally water; intimately related to the design of pipelines, water supply network, drainage facilities (including bridges, dams, levees, channels, culverts, storm sewers) and canals.
  • River engineering, is the process of planned human intervention in the course, characteristics, or flow of a river with the intention of producing some defined benefit—to manage the water resources, to protect against flooding, or to make passage along or across rivers easier.
  • Coastal engineering, the study of the processes ongoing at the shoreline and construction within the coastal zone, often directed at combating erosion of coasts or providing navigational access.
  • Groundwater engineering, involves the analysis, monitoring and often modeling of groundwater source to better understand how much remains and if the water can be used for e.g. recharging reservoirs and irrigation.

Electrical engineering[edit]

Electrical engineering comprises the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism.

Subdiscipline Scope Major specialties
Electronic engineering The creation of physical devices and abstract methods that make it possible to conduct electricity, magnetism and light, through low power electrical circuits deemed electronic circuits as well as through communication channels, in such a manner so as to make it possible to control, that is to actuate, on other external entities that can be mechanical, electrical, chemical and even biological in nature, even to the point of automation and thus achieving a manipulation over those natural phenomena so as to concede to them a specific form so that they abstractly represent something, in a processing action that is called program and therefore they become abstract signals of information, which can be subject of further processing and even end-user presentation in what is known as computing.
Computer engineering The design and control of computing devices with the application of electrical systems.
  • Software engineering, the application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the development, operation and maintenance of software and the study of these approaches; that is, the application of engineering and computer science to software.[3]
  • Hardware engineering, designing, developing and testing various computer equipment. Can range from circuit boards and microprocessors to routers.
  • Network engineering, designing, deploying and maintaining computer networks, such as corporate networks or the Internet.
Power engineering The generation, transmission and distribution of electricity and the design of devices such as transformers, switchgear, electric generators, electric motors, high-voltage engineering and power electronics.
Optical engineering The design of instruments and systems that utilize the properties of electromagnetic radiation.

Mechanical engineering[edit]

Mechanical engineering comprises the design and analysis of heat and mechanical power for the operation of machines and mechanical systems.[4]

Subdiscipline Scope Major specialties
Acoustical engineering Concerns the manipulation and control of vibration, especially vibration isolation and the reduction of unwanted sounds.
Manufacturing engineering Concerns dealing with different manufacturing practices and the research and development of systems, processes, machines, tools and equipment.
Optomechanical engineering Field specific to the mechanical aspects of optical systems. Includes design, packaging, mounting and alignment mechanisms specific to optical systems.[5]
Thermal engineering Concerns heating or cooling of processes, equipment, or enclosed environments.
Sports engineering Is a field of engineering that involves the design, development and testing of sport equipment. The equipment used by athletes has always gone through technological design and development based on current knowledge and understanding.
Vehicle engineering The design, manufacture and operation of the systems and equipment that propel and control vehicles.
Power plant engineering

Field of engineering that designs, construct and maintains different types of power plants. Serves as the prime mover to produce electricity.

Industrial plant engineering

Field of engineering that designs, construct and maintains different types of Industrial Machines and Equipment.

Energy engineering Energy efficiency, energy services, facility management, plant engineering, environmental compliance and energy production. Energy efficiency of buildings and manufacturing processes, employing advances in lighting, insulation and heating/cooling properties.


Discipline Scope Major specialties
Agricultural engineering Farm power and machinery, biological material processes, bioenergy, farm structures and agricultural natural resources.
Applied engineering Systems integration, manufacturing and management.[6]
Biomedical engineering, Biomedical nanoengineering Medicine and healthcare biology, biocompatible prostheses, diagnostic and therapeutic devices ranging from clinical equipment to micro-implants, imaging equipment such as MRIs and EEGs, tissue regeneration and pharmaceuticals. The increased utilization of nanotechnology across the existing areas of this branch has led the specialization Biomedical nanoengineering.
Biological engineering
Building services engineering internal environment and environmental impact of buildings and other structures
Energy engineering Energy efficiency, energy services, facility management, plant engineering, environmental compliance and energy production. Energy efficiency of buildings and manufacturing processes, employing advances in lighting, insulation and heating/cooling properties.
Information engineering Generation, distribution, analysis, and use of information, data and knowledge in systems.
Industrial engineering Logistical and resource management systems
Mechatronics engineering Mechanical and electrical engineering hybrid
Engineering management Management of engineers and engineering processes
Military engineering Military weapons and vehicles, such as artillery and tanks
Mining engineering An engineering discipline that involves the science, technology, and practice of extracting and processing minerals from a naturally occurring environment.
Nanoengineering The introduction of nanotechnology into existing fields of engineering.
Quantum engineering The application of quantum theory to design of materials and devices. Now gaining recognition as its own branch of engineering, but more traditionally associated with sub-disciplines of electrical and computer engineering, communications engineering, solid-state and semiconductor materials engineering, optical engineering and engineering physics.
Nuclear engineering Terrestrial and marine nuclear power plants
Petroleum engineering A field of engineering concerned with the activities related to the production of Hydrocarbons, which can be either crude oil or natural gas. Petroleum engineer focus on studying subsurface formation properties and design and selection of equipment to maximizing economic recovery of hydrocarbons from subsurface reservoirs. Petroleum geology and geophysics focus on provision of a static description of the hydrocarbon reservoir rock, while petroleum engineering focuses on estimation of the recoverable volume of this resource using a detailed understanding of the physical behavior of oil, water and gas within porous rock at very high pressure.
Project engineering Project engineering includes all parts of the design of manufacturing or processing facilities, either new or modifications to and expansions of existing facilities. A "project" consists of a coordinated series of activities or tasks performed by engineers and designers. A small project may be under the direction of a project engineer. Large projects are typically under the direction of a project manager or management team. Project tasks typically consist of such things as performing calculations, writing specifications, preparing bids, reviewing equipment proposals and evaluating or selecting equipment and developing and maintaining various lists (equipment and materials lists) and drawings (electrical, instrument and piping schematics, physical layouts and other drawings used in construction). Some facilities have in house staff to handle small projects, while some major companies have a department that does internal project engineering. Large projects are typically contracted out to project engineering companies. Staffing at engineering companies varies according to the work load and duration of employment may only last until an individual's tasks are completed.
Railway engineering Railway systems, including wheeled and maglev systems. Train signaling and automatic train control.
Software engineering Software engineering the application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the development, operation and maintenance of software and the study of these approaches; that is, the application of engineering and computer science to software.
  • Cryptographic engineering Cryptographic Engineering is the discipline of using cryptography to solve human problems. Cryptography is typically applied when trying to ensure data confidentiality, to authenticate people or devices, or to verify data integrity in risky environments.
  • Information technology engineering, (ITE) or information engineering methodology (IEM) is a software engineering approach to designing and developing information systems. It can also be considered as the generation, distribution, analysis and use of information in systems.
  • Teletraffic engineering Telecommunications traffic engineering, teletraffic engineering, or traffic engineering is the application of traffic engineering theory to telecommunications. Teletraffic engineers use their knowledge of statistics including queuing theory, the nature of traffic, their practical models, their measurements and simulations to make predictions and to plan telecommunication networks such as a telephone network or the Internet. These tools and knowledge help provide reliable service at lower cost.
  • Web engineering focuses on the methodologies, techniques and tools that are the foundation of Web application development and which support their design, development, evolution and evaluation. Web engineering is multidisciplinary and encompasses contributions from diverse areas such as systems analysis and design, software engineering, hypermedia/hypertext engineering, requirements engineering, human-computer interaction, user interface, information technology engineering, information indexing and retrieval, testing, modeling and simulation, project management and graphic design and presentation.
Supply chain engineering Supply chain engineering concerns the planning, design, and operation of supply chains.[7][8]
Systems engineering Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering that focuses on how to design and manage complex engineering projects over their life cycles. Issues, such as reliability, logistics and coordination of different teams, evaluation measurement and other disciplines become more difficult when dealing with large or complex projects.
  • Systems engineering deals with work-processes, optimization methods and risk management tools. It overlaps technical and human-centered disciplines such as control engineering, industrial engineering, organizational studies and project management. Systems engineering ensures that all likely aspects of a project or system are considered and integrated into a whole.
Textile engineering Textile engineering courses deal with the application of scientific and engineering principles to the design and control of all aspects of fiber, textile and apparel processes, products and machinery. These include natural and man-made materials, interaction of materials with machines, safety and health, energy conservation and waste and pollution control. Additionally, students are given experience in plant design and layout, machine and wet process design and improvement and designing and creating textile products. Throughout the textile engineering curriculum, students take classes from other engineering and disciplines including: mechanical, chemical, materials and industrial engineering.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Julie Thompson Klein, Robert Frodeman, Carl Mitcham. The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinary. Oxford University Press, 2010. (pp. 149–150)
  2. ^ "American Society of Civil Engineers, Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute".
  3. ^ Wiebe, A. J.; Chan, C. W. (April 2012). "Ontology driven software engineering". 2012 25th IEEE Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering (CCECE): 1–4. doi:10.1109/CCECE.2012.6334938. ISBN 978-1-4673-1433-6. S2CID 9911741.
  4. ^ Clifford, Michael. An Introduction to Mechanical Engineering. Taylor & Francis Group LLC, 2006. ISBN 978-1-44411337-2
  5. ^ University of Arizona OPTI 421/521: Introductory Optomechanical Engineering
  6. ^ "ATMAE Membership Venn Diagram" Archived 2013-11-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Ravindran, Ravi; Warsing, Donald Jr. Supply chain engineering : models and applications. CRC Press. ISBN 9781138077720.
  8. ^ Goetschalckx, Marc (2011-08-11). Supply chain engineering. Springer. ISBN 978-1-4419-6512-7.