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EIU Bachelor of Science in

What is Engineering?

Engineering is problem solving. An Engineer may work in a number of different fields. For example, an Engineer may solve problems dealing with the production and transmission of energy, or he(she) may be involved in food production, product manufacturing, construction of bridges or dams, computer design, design of air or spacecraft, or any of a number of interesting areas!

Below are some of the specialties in Engineering that are available to our Pre-Engineers. 


Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace engineers have chief responsibility for the design and performance of aircraft and spacecraft and their propulsion systems.

Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Agricultural and biological engineers apply scientific and engineering principles to production systems involving agriculture, food, environment, and energy; natural resources; environmental protection and control for plants, animals, and humans; and related biological systems. They develop technologies and apply management strategies to increase agricultural productivity, generate renewable energy, and provide a sustainable environment.

Architectural Engineering

Architectural engineers plan, design and supervise construction of many facilities and structures. They apply the latest in high-tech equipment and sophisticated procedures to address challenges with buildings and public facilities.  Architectural engineers study new materials, construction techniques, project management and business management.


Bioengineers actively use tools from biology, chemistry, physics and math to solve engineering problems related to biomaterials, biomechanics and prosthetics, tissue engineering, molecular modeling, imaging, and drug delivery.

Ceramics Engineering

Ceramic engineering is the science of creating objects from inorganic, non-metallic materials. Looking for new ways to use ceramic materials and glasses that withstand high heat and resist corrosion, ceramic engineers create materials that repair human bone with bio-glasses, treat cancer, power the internet via fiber-optic cables, and provide environmentally friendly coatings for the aerospace industry. Ceramic engineers use basic principles from chemistry and physics to understand how to design new materials at the atomic level, then process these materials into useful forms.

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Chemical engineers study and practice the transformation of substances at large scales for the tangible improvement of the human condition. Such transformations are executed to produce other useful substances or energy, and lie at the heart of vast segments of the chemical, petroleum, pharmaceutical, and electronic industries. Biomolecular engineering is a subset of chemical engineering focusing on biological applications. 

Civil Engineering

Civil engineers have the key responsibility for the design and construction of the nation’s civil and marine infrastructure (buildings, bridges and offshore structures; highway systems, airports and energy transport systems; dams, locks, levees and canals; and all water treatment and distribution systems). Because civil engineers receive a broad education, they frequently find successful employment outside of engineering in business, law and research fields.

Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering

Electrical and computer engineers design, construct, and maintain products and services and perform research to create new ideas, particularly in the areas of electrical and electronic equipment and computer systems.

Engineering Management

Think of engineering managers as movie directors and all other fields of engineering as actors. They are the behind-the-scenes people who bring it all together. Product development, manufacturing, construction, design engineering, industrial engineering, technology, and production are just some of the areas of possibility.  Engineering Management students prepare for leadership roles in today’s complex environment as an engineer, a manager and an educator. Engineering management is a degree that “bridges the gap” between engineering and business. The curriculum integrates engineering and management knowledge while optimizing the use of people, equipment, money and information.

Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineers are trained to develop new methods to solve problems that exist either in the environment or in an engineered system. They protect the environment by examining water and wastewater treatment, air pollution control and treatment, solid waste management and hazardous waste site remediation.  

Computer Science

Computer scientists design, implement and analyze computing systems, with an emphasis on software systems ranging from embedded software, to information systems, to interactive systems. 

Geological Engineering

Geological engineers have a wide variety of areas that their work might be applied. They might work on problems associated with hazards such as landslide stabilization or seismic risk from earthquakes, consult on a wind-power facility, or develop sustainable drinking water supplies.  Geological engineers apply earth science principles to engineer solutions for environmental and hazardous waste issues, natural resource protection, energy sustainability and the design of geotechnical infrastructure such as tunnels, excavations, levees, dams and waste disposal sites.  They are called on to develop drinking water supplies, consult on groundwater cleanup projects and study contaminated sites throughout the world.

Mechanical Science and Engineering

The Mechanical Science and Engineering area focuses on applying mathematical, scientific, and engineering principles to study forces acting on bodies of solid or fluid material, and the resulting dynamic motion of those bodies. Mechanical engineers use these principles to design and control machines that create motion, apply loads, transport matter and energy, and convert one form of energy to another. Engineering mechanics and theoretical and applied mechanics students are deeply grounded in these basic principles, and are able to use them to solve a broad range of problems in solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, and dynamics. 

Mining Engineering

Mining engineers supervise the mining process from start to finish. They examine all of the phases of mineral recovers, including exploration, processing, and marketing of minerals. The mining engineering profession deals with location, extraction, and use of mineral resources and mineral policy. Mining must be carried out efficiently, safely, and economically, with the welfare of the public as a primary consideration. Land must be restored to a useful condition after mining ceases and pollution controls must be designed to prevent harmful environmental effects.

Engineering Physics

Physicists study, measure and manipulate the fundamental interactions of matter, energy, space and time to unravel how complex systems behave, to characterize the properties of existing materials and create new ones, and to reveal the workings of nature--from the cosmos to the nanoscale, from metals to biomolecules. These are generalists among Engineers who take on a wide variety of problems and search out creative and ingenious solutions.

Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering

Enterprise systems engineers work to solve real-world problems through the integration of engineering and business principles. They are often technical people who can manage budgets and projects and lead other people. Industrial systems engineers work to improve performance and productivity, using optimization approaches and solving problems through a systems approach. Such people often serve as a link between engineering and management. 

Materials Science and Engineering

Materials science engineers develop new types of metal alloys, ceramics, plastics, composites and other materials. They also adapt existing materials to new uses by changing the properties and performance of materials.

Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering

Nuclear, plasma and radiological engineers research and develop processes, instruments and systems that derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation. They work in such fields as power plant design, supervision operations, and safety, waste management, microelectronics, fusion energy, materials performance and processing, government and state regulatory organizations, energy policy and security, controls and control systems, health physics, nuclear and medical instrumentation, and medical diagnostics and therapy.

Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum engineers extract oil, gas, and other resources from the Earth all over the world. They plan and supervise the drilling of wells, evaluate oil and gas production, and predict future production from the Gulf of Mexico to the coasts of Singapore. Because of the demand for oil and gas and advances in petroleum technology, the field of petroleum engineering plays an important role in the world today. Modern computer-based modeling is used to study the technology of well logging, well testing, well stimulation, petroleum reservoir engineering, recovery, and geology.


Related Pages

Contact Information

Dr. Douglas E. Brandt
Pre-Engineering Studies Program Coordinator

Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, Illinois 61920
Fax: (217)581-8548

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