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Civil/Electrical Engg

  1. Jan 18, 2009 #1
    Hey! just have a quick question about the field of engineering. I am in undergrad first yr engg rite now. I am not really sure about the field I am gonna choose yet but was just wondering if there is difference between traditional engineering and specialization. For instance, Electrical engineering and Electrical-nano engineering. They sounds to be the same field with one having emphasis on one particular aspect. If your are electrical-nano engineer, ur also electrical engineer so ur opportunities increases in the job market. isn't it? :S The entrance gpa for later one is 2.0 where as for the electrical engineering its 2.5 so im confused abt the field. The same thing goes for Civil engineering (2.3) and Civil-Environmental engineering(2.0).
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 18, 2009 #2


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    Speaking as a Civil Engineer, by all means, unless you're determined to be an environmetal engineer or environmental scientist or specialist (I doubt that you know at this point), go for the Civil, which is all encompassing (Soils, structures, foundations, surveying, topgraphic layouts, environmental, etc.), and will lead you to more opportunities and advances in the job market (hence the greater gpa requirement). If after your second year you find stress analysis and the like difficult or boring, you can always then focus on the environmetal disciplines in your last 2 years. Regarding Electrical, the choice between Civil and Electrical will become easy after your second year. Generally, Electrical is the higher paying (and tougher) field of the 2, but that shouldn't be a factor if , for example, you like structure or environmental design, and despise voltage/current manipulations and silicon chips.
  4. Jan 18, 2009 #3
    In my school you major as either Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, or Chemical. You can then get masters/doctorates in more specific fields such as Environmental.

    The exception is Computer Engineering, which they added as a 5th "Core" field for a BS. It's essentially the same as an EE except for the senior electives.

    The reason my school (UMass) gives for doing this is that most employers prefer a degree from the traditional four fields of engineering. For instance, Pfizer and a few other big pharmaceutical companies told UMass they prefer someone with a traditional ChemE degree over a BioChemE degree.

    But by choosing the right electives along with a few extra classes you can usually mix it up.

    For example, I'm working on my EE degree (for control systems design) but I plan to get my masters in Environmental Engineering (Water/Wastewater). I'm taking the undergrad courses within the civil program that form the foundation for water/wastewater as extra electives (Thermodynamics, Fluid Dynamics, Environmental Engineering Principles, and Water/WW Design).

    Most departments will work with you if you have an idea of what field you want to be in and what you want to do. I've been working in the Wastewater field operating a plant for about 10 years now, and I have a good idea of what I need to learn to do the things I want to do.

    But my advice to you (as given to me) is to choose one of the traditional four fields as the core of your engineering education.
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