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The Discipline that Crosses Disciplines: Finding the Right Engineering Program

By Peterson's Staff updated on Monday, February 03, 2014
In the past, individuals who designed engineering projects were typically polymaths who had knowledge of a broad range of disciplines. From the Industrial Revolution until the Age of Technology, engineering became increasingly specialized. However, today’s engineers find themselves working across various aspects of engineering. Therefore, when you are choosing an engineering program, it might be worthwhile to take a look at the entire engineering school. Also, as the saying goes, just because something can be done doesn’t always mean that it should. An engineering school that also places emphasis on the society that will use your engineering marvels can give you insight into the human element of engineering.

Another factor to consider is the number of Master of Engineering (MEng) degrees. For most schools within a university, PhD programs are the main consideration. However, engineering is an applied science, and a master’s degree is often the terminal degree within the field. An engineering school that offers diverse master’s degrees in engineering can mean more opportunities to pursue projects that cross specialties and meet as well as collaborate with students from other specialties. The school’s facilities are another factor to keep in mind as you explore engineering schools. Does the school have the labs and equipment necessary for your areas of interest? Most of all, take the time to research some of the faculty members. Is teaching their primary focus? Or do they only teach because they have to so that they can do research? Dedicated faculty can make all the difference, allowing for a nurturing environment where students can get the attention they need to be successful.

In addition, most engineers begin their careers directly after finishing their undergraduate programs and return to earn their master’s degrees after gaining real world work experience. Although full-time graduate programs are available, you may not want to interrupt your career. Therefore, a program that is part-time or evening/weekend might be your best option. Schools with such programs are often near industry, so they can also be a great way to build your network. Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)’s Kate Gleason School of Engineering offers multiple MEng programs with a part-time or evening/weekend option. Located in Rochester, New York, the school has a strong history of serving career-oriented individuals as they work their way up the career ladder in engineering.

There are many great engineering programs available, and numerous top school are now offering online graduate engineering programs. Engineering is ultimately about people, so be sure to take the time to research if the school is equipped to meet your needs not only in terms of technology but also the faculty and students that will bring the program to life.
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