List of engineering branches

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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 The application of engineering principles to study and manipulate biological systems at the molecular level.
Materials engineering The selection, synthesis, and design of materials used in chemical processes and the study of properties of various materials and their interactions with different chemicals.
Process engineering Focuses on the design, operation, control, and optimization of chemical processes, including natural and man-made materials, the interaction of materials with machines, safety and health, energy conservation, and waste and pollution control.

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.
Municipal or urban engineering Deals with municipal issues such as water and waste management, transportation networks, subdivisions, communications, hydrology, hydraulics, etc.
Irrigation Engineering Irrigation engineering is a very broad activity in the subject of civil engineering. Irrigation engineering is in charge of organising, planning, and maintaining irrigation systems for the transportation and distribution of water to residential and agricultural locations which may include diverting water from dams, canals, and rivers as well as supervising the installation of pipes, sprinklers, and other irrigation equipment.
  • Irrigation and Drainage Engineering Irrigation and Drainage Engineering deals with the application of engineering principles to support useful plant life, with minimum degradation of soil and water resources.
Geotechnical engineering Concerned with the behavior of earth materials and soil and rock mechanics at the site of a civil engineering project.
  • Mining engineering 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.
  • Railway engineering, a branch of engineering that deals with major railways and transportation systems involving trains.
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 Design and manufacture of devices related to low-power electrical circuits (electronic circuits) making use of active components such as semiconductor devices.
Computer engineering The design and control of computing devices with the application of electrical systems. It involves the study of hardware and software systems that can process information, as well as digital logic design, computer architecture, and programming languages.
  • 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.[2]
  • 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 and maintenance 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.
Renewable energy engineering The design and maintenance of renewable energy devices such as those involved in solar, wind, and hydroelectric power.

Mechanical engineering[edit]

Mechanical engineering comprises the design and analysis of heat and mechanical power for the operation of machines and mechanical systems.[3]

Subdiscipline Scope Major specialties
Acoustics 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.[4]
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
Geological engineering A discipline of engineering concerned with the application of geological science and engineering principles to fields, such as civil engineering, mining, environmental engineering, and forestry, among others. The work of geological engineers often directs or supports the work of other engineering disciplines such as assessing the suitability of locations for civil engineering, environmental engineering, mining operations, and oil and gas projects by conducting geological, geoenvironmental, geophysical, and geotechnical studies.
Agricultural engineering Farm power and machinery, biological material processes, bioenergy, farm structures, and agricultural natural resources.
Applied engineering Systems integration, manufacturing and management.[5]
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 The application of principles of biology and the tools of engineering to create usable, tangible, economically viable products.
Building services engineering The design, installation, operation and monitoring of the technical services in buildings in order to ensure the safe, comfortable and environmentally friendly operation.
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.
Geomatics engineering The design, development, and operation of systems for collecting and analyzing spatial information about the land, the oceans, natural resources, and manmade features.
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.[6][7]
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.
Cybersecurity Engineering Cybersecurity engineers identify threats and vulnerabilities in computer systems and software. These professionals are experts who implement secure network solutions to protect organizations' networks and data systems from hackers, cyberattacks and other forms of computer crime.
  • Penetration testing: Cybersecurity engineers often evaluate an organization's computer networks, applications and data systems for vulnerabilities.
  • Network maintenance: Engineers may also install, test and configure networks.
  • IT system security: Engineers often spend time defining protocols and installing and configuring security devices

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Julie Thompson Klein, Robert Frodeman, Carl Mitcham. The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinary. Oxford University Press, 2010. (pp. 149–150)
  2. ^ Wiebe, A. J.; Chan, C. W. (April 2012). "Ontology driven software engineering". 2012 25th IEEE Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering (CCECE). pp. 1–4. doi:10.1109/CCECE.2012.6334938. ISBN 978-1-4673-1433-6. S2CID 9911741.
  3. ^ Clifford, Michael. An Introduction to Mechanical Engineering. Taylor & Francis Group LLC, 2006. ISBN 978-1-44411337-2
  4. ^ University of Arizona OPTI 421/521: Introductory Optomechanical Engineering
  5. ^ "ATMAE Membership Venn Diagram" Archived 2013-11-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Ravindran, Ravi; Warsing, Donald Jr. (2017). Supply chain engineering : models and applications. CRC Press. ISBN 9781138077720.
  7. ^ Goetschalckx, Marc (2011-08-11). Supply chain engineering. Springer. ISBN 978-1-4419-6512-7.