List of engineering branches

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Engineering is the discipline, art, and profession that applies scientific theory to design, develop, and analyze technological solutions. In the contemporary era, it is generally considered to consist of the major basic branches of chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.[1] There are numerous other engineering subdisciplines and interdisciplinary subjects that are derived from concentrations, combinations, or extensions of the major engineering branches.

Chemical Engineering[edit]

Chemical Engineering is the application of 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 Focuses on the manufacturing of biomolecules.
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
  • Petroleum refinery engineering, the design of processes related to the manufacture of refined products
  • Plastics engineering, the design of the production process of plastics products
  • Paper engineering, the design of the production process of paper products
  • 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.
Corrosion engineering Is the specialist engineering discipline of applying scientific knowledge, natural laws and physical resources in order to design and implement materials, structures, devices, systems and procedures to manage the natural phenomenon known as corrosion. Generally related to Metallurgy, Corrosion Engineering also relates to non-metallics including ceramics. Corrosion Engineers often manage other not-strictly-corrosion processes including (but not restricted to) 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 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 are able to 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 geological materials at the site of a civil engineering project
Structural engineering The engineering of structures that support or resist structural loads
Mining engineering Is an engineering discipline that involves the practice, the theory, the science, the technology, and application of extracting and processing minerals from a naturally occurring environment. However, mining engineering is associated with many other sister department within like geology, mineral processing and metallurgy, geotechnical engineering, surveying. A mining engineer manages all phases of mining operations – from exploration and discovery of the mineral resource, through feasibility study, mine design, development of plans, production and operations to mine closure.

With the process of Mineral extraction, some amount of waste and uneconomic material are generated which are the primary source of pollution in the vicinity of mines. Mining activities by their nature cause a disturbance of the natural environment in and around which the minerals are located. Mining engineers must therefore be concerned not only with the production and processing of mineral commodities, but also with the mitigation of damage to the environment both during and after mining as a result of the change in the mining area.

Transport engineering The use of engineering to ensure 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 systems engineering
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 modelling 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
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.
  • 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.
Electronic engineering The design of circuits that use the electromagnetic properties of electrical components such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes and transistors to achieve a particular functionality.
Optical engineering The design of instruments and systems that utilize the properties of electromagnetic radiation.
Power engineering The generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, and the design of devices such as transformers, electric generators, electric motors, high-voltage engineering, and power electronics.

Mechanical engineering[edit]

Mechanical engineering comprises the design, analysis and usage of heat and mechanical power for the operation of machines and mechanical systems.

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.
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.

Energy Engineering Is a broad field of engineering dealing with energy efficiency, energy services, facility management, plant engineering, environmental compliance and alternative energy technologies. Energy engineering is one of the more recent engineering disciplines to emerge. Energy engineering combines knowledge from the fields of physics, math, and chemistry with economic and environmental engineering practices. Energy engineers apply their skills to increase efficiency and further develop renewable sources of energy. The main job of energy engineers is to find the most efficient and sustainable ways to operate buildings and manufacturing processes. Energy engineers audit the use of energy in those processes and suggest ways to improve the systems. This means suggesting advanced lighting, better insulation, more efficient heating and cooling properties of buildings.[1] Although an energy engineer is concerned about obtaining and using energy in the most environmentally friendly ways, their field is not limited to strictly renewable energy like hydro, solar, biomass, or geothermal. Energy engineers are also employed by the fields of oil and natural gas extraction

Systems engineering[edit]

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 (requirements management), evaluation measurements, 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.


Discipline Scope Major specialties
Aerospace engineering The application of engineering principles to aerospace systems such as aircraft, spacecraft, and ground control systems. Formerly known as aeronautical engineering, concerns the design, construction, and science of both air and space vehicles, primarily on the systems level. Further concerned with the science of force and physics that are particular only to performance in Earth's atmosphere and the expanse of space. Often placed within Vehicle engineering
Agricultural engineering The application of engineering principles to agricultural fields such as farm power and machinery, biological material process, bioenergy, farm structures, and agricultural natural resources
Applied engineering The field concerned with the application of management, design, and technical skills for the design and integration of systems, the execution of new product designs, the improvement of manufacturing processes, and the management and direction of physical and/or technical functions of a firm or organization. Applied engineering degreed programs typically include instruction in basic engineering principles, project management, industrial processes, systems integration and control, quality control, and statistics.[2]
Biomedical engineering is the application of engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology for healthcare purposes (e.g. diagnostic or therapeutic). This field seeks to close the gap between engineering and medicine: It combines the design and problem solving skills of engineering with medical and biological sciences to advance health care treatment, including diagnosis, monitoring, and therapy.[1] Biomedical engineering has only recently emerged as its own study, compared to many other engineering fields. Such an evolution is common as a new field transitions from being an interdisciplinary specialization among already-established fields, to being considered a field in itself. Much of the work in biomedical engineering consists of research and development, spanning a broad array of subfields (see below). Prominent biomedical engineering applications include the development of biocompatible prostheses, various diagnostic and therapeutic medical devices ranging from clinical equipment to micro-implants, common imaging equipment such as MRIs and EEGs, regenerative tissue growth, pharmaceutical drugs and therapeutic biologicals.
Biological engineering The application of engineering principles to the fields of biology and medicine.
Building services engineering Building services engineering, technical building services, architectural engineering, or building engineering is the engineering of the internal environment and environmental impact of a building. It essentially brings buildings and structures to life.
Energy engineering Energy engineering is a broad field of engineering dealing with energy efficiency, energy services, facility management, plant engineering, environmental compliance and alternative energy technologies. The domain of energy-engineering expertise combines selective subjects from the fields chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering. It is an interdisciplinary program which has relativity with electrical, mechanical and chemical engineering
  • Solar engineering, solar energy engineering includes designing and building services based on solar energy, solar energy product development, solar PV systems, Solar Product Manufacturing and Solar Systems Integration.
  • Wind engineering, Wind engineering analyzes effects of wind in the natural and the built environment and studies the possible damage, inconvenience or benefits which may result from wind. In the field of structural engineering it includes strong winds, which may cause discomfort, as well as extreme winds, such as in a tornado, hurricane or heavy storm, which may cause widespread destruction
Railway engineering Railway engineering is a multi-faceted engineering discipline dealing with the design, construction and operation of all types of railway systems. It encompasses a wide range of engineering disciplines, including civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering and production engineering. A great many other engineering sub-disciplines are also called upon.
Industrial engineering The design and analysis of logistical and resource systems.
  • Manufacturing engineering, the ability to plan the practices of manufacturing, to research and develop the tool, processes, machines and equipment, and to integrate the facilities and systems for producing quality products with optimal expenditure.
  • Component engineering, the process of assuring the availability of suitable components required to manufacture a product.
  • Systems engineering, focuses on issues such as logistics, the coordination of different teams, automatic control of machinery for complex engineering projects
  • Construction engineering, the planning and management of construction projects
  • Safety engineering, assuring that a life-critical system behaves as needed even when pieces fail
  • Reliability engineering, optimising asset maintenance to minimise whole of life cost
Mechatronics engineering A hybrid of mechanical and electrical engineering, Commonly intended to examine the design of automation systems.
Management engineering Management Engineering or Engineering Management is a specialized form of management that is concerned with the application of engineering principles to business practice. Engineering management is a career that brings together the technological problem-solving savvy of engineering and the organizational, administrative, and planning abilities of management in order to oversee complex enterprises from conception to completion.[1] A Master of Science in Engineering Management (MSEM, or MS in Engineering Management) is sometimes compared to a Master of Business Administration (MBA) for professionals seeking a graduate degree as a qualifying credential for a career in engineering management.[2]

Military engineering This is loosely defined as the art and practice of designing and building military weapons and vehicles, as well as maintaining lines of military transport and communications. This discipline of engineering is regarded as the oldest form of engineering and is also the precursor of the civil engineering discipline.
Nanoengineering The practice of engineering on the nanoscopic scale
Nuclear engineering The application of nuclear processes to engineering
Petroleum engineering The application of engineering principles to drilling for and producing crude oil and natural gas
  • Reservoir engineering, the application of scientific principles to study the flow of fluids in underground reservoirs so as to obtain a high economic recovery.
  • Drilling engineering, the design and application of equipment and techniques to drill wells.
  • Production engineering, the design and application of equipment and techniques to bring well fluids to the surface and then separate out the various components.
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]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Julie Thompson Klein, Robert Frodeman, Carl Mitcham. The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity. Oxford University Press, 2010. (pp 149 – 150)
  2. ^ "ATMAE Membership Venn Diagram".