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Engineering What sort of engineering is best for this?

  1. Jun 10, 2012 #1
    I want to work in massive industrial scenarios - power plants, oil refineries, steel mills, oil rigs, etc.

    Now I know that there are probably multiple that are more specialized for each of these, but is there one engineering that sort of encompasses all of these and would allow one to have a selection at it?

    Also, would a school like UC Berkeley be OK to move into these industries?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2012 #2


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    What kind of work?

    Civil/structural engineering would be used in the design of such facilities. Oil rigs would require a specialty of marine engineering.

    Construction engineering would be used in the construction of such facilities.

    Chemical, Mechanical and industrial engineering applies to the processes used in such facilities, including the process, the machinery and control systems.

    Electrical engineering would apply to the electrical systems used in such facilities.
  4. Jun 10, 2012 #3
    Would any of them be directly involved at the plants? Ie. working there?
  5. Jun 13, 2012 #4
    I worked in a massive industrial brewery for my first job after undergrad. I had a BS in Electrical Engineering from UC Davis, so that's one data point. I was working on maintaining and installing production equipment.

    A friend of mine with a BS in Chemical Engineering from UC Davis got his first job at the huge Tesco Oil Refinery in Martinez, CA, so either education works. The key is to get an internship in the kind of situation you want.

    Why do you want to work in a plant? Let me tell you, wearing ear plugs and safety glasses all the time gets old! Also, I hated wearing a coat in the brewhouse and then melting when I stepped outside in the 100 degree heat. I'm very much enjoying sitting on my butt in front of a computer these days.
  6. Jun 13, 2012 #5
    Control Engineering or Industrial Engineering is really close to the action and is heavily involved in operational needs. Those who engineer control systems decide what kinds of sensors, what kinds of valves, what sorts of control systems, SCADA systems, and reporting systems to use. Berkley doesn't have a control systems program. Few schools do. I suggest using an Electrical Engineering curriculum instead with emphasis on power engineering instead.

    Alternatively, Industrial Engineering can involve many aspects having to do with process design, predictive maintenance, failure mode analysis, and so on. The latter appears to be available at Berkley.

    I'm partial to Control Engineering, only because I am a registered Control Engineer. In any case, I recommend student membership in ISA, the International Society for Automation to get some idea of what Control Engineering is all about.

    Good Luck!
  7. Jun 13, 2012 #6


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    Yes - but some jobs, e.g., construction or installation are temprorary, and others, e.g., operations, are more long term or permanent.

    Some engineers work in an office and visit a site temporarily for some period dealing with construction of the facility or installation of some equipment. These would construction, mechanical, electrical engineers. They would move from project to project and from site to site accordingly.

    The folks involved in operations work a particular plant, but might get moved to a different or new plant depending on the skills.
  8. Jun 13, 2012 #7
    It sounds like you want to get into manufacturing..

    A industrial/manufacturing engineer can be involved with the plant operations and how things are handled.

    You can even specialize.

    We just hired a manufacturing engineer who specialized in electrical.
  9. Jun 14, 2012 #8
    Materials Engineering.
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