Different Types
of Engineering

for the Innovative


We are embarking on one of the most exciting periods of human history for science and engineering. Traditional boundaries are being shredded and new innovations are coming forth at the hands of the 21st-century engineer.

Engineers are leading the charge in addressing and solving the most difficult challenges that we face today. The possibilities for new frontiers are infinite, thus forging the path for a diverse career field for engineering professionals.

There are several different types of engineering and increasing demand for innovative professionals in these diverse disciplines. Thus, a career in engineering is synonymous with steady job growth. Let’s explore the different types of engineering, the types of careers in each discipline and what type of education you need to break into the field.

What Are the Types of Engineering?


The impacts of engineering can be seen in everyday life—from the bridges we drive across to the smartphones we communicate with. There are numerous fields of engineering that bring impactful solutions into reality. Below are five common types of engineering that we will dig into:

  1. Civil Engineering
  2. Mechanical Engineering
  3. Biomedical/Medical Engineering
  4. Environmental Engineering
  5. Electrical Engineering

Civil Engineering

The Pioneers of Infrastructure: Civil Engineering


Have you ever marveled at the intricacies of a city skyline and wondered how such a complex landscape can function and serve a multitude of needs?

Civil engineering is one of the major players that helps fabricate these impressive structures.

The American Society of Civil Engineers defines civil engineering as the “application of mathematical and physical sciences knowledge to develop ways to employ materials and forces of nature for the well-being of humanity.” Civil engineering provides facilities for community living, industry, transportation and structures for the use of humanity while improving and preserving the environment.

Civil engineers may find themselves working in both the private and public sectors. They are actively involved in projects on several levels: from designing, building and maintaining the structures themselves.

As greater amounts of the global population shift to more urban areas, there is an increased need for more sustainable solutions to support this trend. The demands for energy, transportation, drinking water, clean air and safe waste disposal will ignite more innovative infrastructure development.

Mechanical Engineering

Design, Develop, Build:
What Does a Mechanical Engineer
Do in a Day?


From robotic manufacturing systems to prosthetic limbs, to computer hardware—all of these products have come about by the technologies produced from mechanical engineering.

Mechanical engineering is defined as “the profession in which power-producing and power-consuming machines are researched, designed and manufactured.

Mechanical engineers design, develop, build and test products, bringing them from an idea to the marketplace. They analyze their work using the principles of motion, energy and force to ensure that all designs function safely and efficiently.

Circular Chart

Medical Engineering

The Intersection of Medicine and Technology: What is Medical Engineering?


Medical engineering, also known as biomedical engineering, combines engineering principles with sciences to create equipment, devices, computer systems and software used in medicine.

Medical engineers seek to research new physical and mathematical concepts that solve problems regarding biology and medicine.

They innovate products relating to analysis, diagnosis, treatment and even implantable medical devices. By applying multiple engineering disciplines (e.g., electrical, mechanical and chemical engineering) medical engineers solve various problems in health care.

Environmental Engineering

Fostering Large-Scale Sustainability: Environmental Engineering


Environmental engineering utilizes the principles of engineering to develop solutions for environmental problems by reducing waste and mitigating existing contamination.

Environmental engineering seeks to prevent the degradation of air, water and land resources.

As we advance further into the 21st century, more prominent environmental challenges have come into view. Environmental engineers are poised to address these challenges and formulate solutions for them. Below are the top five most pressing needs that environmental engineers will help advance:


Sustainably supply food, water and energy


Curb climate change and adapt to its impacts


Design a future without pollution and waste


Create efficient, resilient cities


Foster informed decisions and actions

Person testing to see if there is an electrical charge

The Cutting Edge of New Innovation: Electrical and Computer Engineering


Electrical and computer engineers design the technologies that make up all modern electronics.

For example, computational devices, computational materials, signal processing and machine learning are all formulated by electrical and computer engineers.

Electrical and computer engineering integrates the disciplines of mathematics, physical science and computer programming. Medical robotics and advanced imaging, nanotechnology and space and defense electronics are among the cutting-edge technologies that electrical and computer engineers are innovating today.  

This sophisticated discipline is constantly seeking new ways to harness electrical power to create game-changing tools and platforms across several industries.

An Overview of Engineering Job


Due to the rapid evolution of technology and the diversifying needs of society, the demand for engineers is projected to rise significantly. Between 2021 and 2031, engineering job growth is expected to rise by 4 percent, adding approximately 91,300 jobs in the next ten years.

Engineering professionals will not only find an abundance of job opportunities, but they can also expect to be competitively compensated for their expertise. This promising job growth and high compensation will attract talented competitors to the field. Engineers can gain an edge by advancing their knowledge with a master of engineering degree in this rapidly growing profession.

Is a Master’s in Engineering Worth it?


Investing in a quality, cutting-edge education is the most optimal method to give yourself the upper hand in a competitive job market. Specialized skills and applicable hands-on experience will set you apart from others pursuing in-demand engineering jobs.

Below are five benefits of earning a master of engineering degree:

1. You will have the ability to command a higher salary upon hire
A master’s in engineering salary earns approximately 10 percent more than a candidate with a four-year degree.

2. You will experience more career advancement opportunities
A master’s in engineering will make you a more competitive candidate for upper-level leadership and management roles, therefore expanding the types of engineering careers available to you.

3. You will develop meaningful networking connections
Graduate programs are significantly smaller than undergraduate programs, which allows students to develop meaningful relationships with professors and other graduate students. This network can prove to be a valuable resource throughout your career.

4. You will increase your level of job security
Candidates who hold a master’s degree are more likely to find and maintain employment. Estimates show that approximately 27 percent of employers already require a master’s degree.

5. You will make yourself more competitive with specialized skill sets.
In pursuing a master of engineering degree, you will have the opportunity to tailor your coursework to a specific area of interest. This fine-tuned knowledge and skills will appeal to potential employers and garner you broader job opportunities.

Master of Engineering vs. Master of Science: Which Degree is Right for You?

Students that plan on pursuing a master’s degree in engineering often choose between two academic paths: a master of engineering or a master of science degree.

A master of engineering program is primarily geared toward professional practice in engineering rather than research or teaching. While a master of science program is generally for students with an interest in pursuing theories and research work. Choosing the correct degree ultimately comes down to the professional goals of the individual.

Browse our Master of Engineering programs at The Vanderbilt School of  Engineering

Become a Skilled Innovator and Earn your Master of Engineering degree at Vanderbilt School of Engineering


Vanderbilt School of Engineering offers a variety of the nation’s top engineering degrees to equip you with the knowledge and real-world skills to succeed and excel in your career in engineering. With an array of engineering master’s degrees to choose from led by field experts, students find their passion and purpose.

Vanderbilt School of Engineering is ranked
No. 43 in Best Engineering Schools.

An Overview of Vanderbilt School of Engineering’s Master of Engineering degrees

The Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) degree is an advanced professional degree awarded by the School of Engineering and specially designed for engineering practitioners who may prefer to work while doing professional study. It is also suitable for individuals who apply directly from undergraduate school — but the thrust of the program is toward professional practice in engineering rather than research or teaching. Master of engineering degrees are available in the following disciplines:

Are you ready to become a leader in innovation?
Connect with Vanderbilt
School of Engineering Today!

Fueled by academic innovation, Vanderbilt University School of Engineering (VUSE) graduates are the future experts, innovators, researchers, educators and professionals who will contribute to global and societal progress.

We are committed to forming the next generation of engineers to address the most pressing issues of modern society.

Join us as we shape the future of engineering and apply to one of our graduate programs today.

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