A Look at STEM Degrees: Is Engineering Hard?

Engineering students working hard on a project

Careers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields have the opportunity for high pay. As you are considering which STEM degree you would like to earn, you may wonder: Is engineering hard? What makes an engineering program different from other STEM degrees?

Engineering has a reputation of being a challenging academic discipline. Earning an engineering degree entails more than taking math and physics classes. Those who earn an engineering degree will tell you that although the coursework can be difficult, the outcome is positive for both your entry-level job and a long-time career.

Outcomes of Earning an Engineering Degree

Engineering degrees are highly valued bachelor’s degrees. Think of the money spent on a degree versus the potential earnings of a job after graduation as your student return on investment. Earning a degree in engineering can give high rewards on investment.

An engineering degree can lead to a rewarding career that makes a difference in the lives of many people. The good news about studying engineering is there are multiple subfields and areas of study. If you find some types of engineering are not as enticing, you can take classes and work toward a different type of specialty.

Types of Engineering Degrees

Engineering degree programs begin like most other STEM bachelor’s degrees. You must complete courses in general education and take classes in math and natural sciences, such as chemistry and physics. The math classes taken by engineering students are rigorous, to prepare you to successfully apply that content in engineering courses. The first two years of engineering programs are similar no matter what specialty you plan to pursue. The last two to three years in an engineering program tend to be specific to your chosen discipline. That is when engineering classes may become more challenging.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers create, design and manufacture mechanical devices and systems. Students who earn a mechanical engineering degree will learn design principles and take coursework in materials science, fluid mechanics and instrumentation. Mechanical engineering students expand their engineering foundation with courses in controls, heat transfer and more, graduating with knowledge and skills that prepare them for a wide range of industries.

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers focus on research, design and application of devices and systems that use electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. They work in various fields, such as semiconductors and power, and consequently have varied skills. The foundation of those skills comes from circuit theory, which utilizes advanced mathematics to study and design circuits. An electrical engineering degree has advanced math and computer science coursework to support their hardware knowledge and skills.

Software Engineering

Software engineers have the same math and physics background as other engineering disciplines but deeper knowledge of computer science. A software engineering degree program requires a computer and technical know-how. The advanced courses in a software engineering program will focus on data processing systems and machine learning.

Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineering programs apply multidisciplinary engineering knowledge and skills to biotechnology topics, such as tissue engineering, implantable devices and bioinstrumentation. Those pursuing a biomedical engineering degree will develop the skills needed to make a difference in the lives of others through innovation, typically in bioscience industries and the healthcare sector. These engineers must have a thorough knowledge of physiology and FDA regulations to produce products and systems that can be used to enhance the health, safety and quality of life for others.

Grand Canyon University offers several Bachelor of Science degrees in engineering. You can study biomedical engineering, software engineering, mechanical engineering and robotics. You can earn a broad Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree that allows you to develop your knowledge and experience in many different subfields. If you want to pursue a STEM degree, join us in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology and start on your engineering career today.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.

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