Digital Senior’s mini guide to the vast, perplexing world of engineering specialisations

Thinking of going into engineering, but not sure what to major in? That’s really understandable, seeing how diverse the sector actually is! We help you here with a comprehensive, but not exhaustive, roundup post of the degrees on offer here in Singapore.

To make navigating easier, click on the jump links for a brief summary of the various engineering disciplines!*

*All information up to date as of September 2018.

Mechanical Engineering

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Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines out there (under which specializations such as aeronautical engineering fall under). Mechanical engineers are the folks who design, construct, as well as test and maintain mechanical systems. Think appliances like refrigerators and equipment like medical devices, to modes of transport like cars and planes, just to name a few things!

Subjects that a mechanical engineering major will take include fluid mechanics, thermodynamics and applied mechanics, and mechanical engineering grads can be found in industries like banking and finance, defence technology, automotive engineering as well as precision engineering!

Degrees you could take:

  • NTU 
    • B.Eng (Mechanical Engineering) 
      • Optional Specialisations: Aeronautical Engineering, Energy and the Environment, Manufacturing Engineering, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, Systems Engineering
      • Has main stream, Design stream and Robotics and Mechatronics stream

Electrical Engineering

Coming home after a long day to a warmly-lit house? For this and so much more, you have electrical engineers to thank!

Electrical engineering is a broad field with many concentrations, involving everything to do with electricity and the technologies that use and provide it. You can find electrical engineers in almost every field, some examples being the oil and gas industry (think Shell), aerospace, the rail industry (think SMRT), and many more. Sometimes, electrical engineering is offered as a degree together with electronic engineering. (The difference between both lies primarily in scale.)

Some subfields an electrical engineering foundation/education can lead you to:

  • Computer Engineering
  • Power Engineering (systems)
  • Electronic Engineering (circuits)
  • Microelectronic Engineering
  • Telecommunications Engineering

Degrees you could take:

Civil Engineering

A helpful video on what civil engineering is all about!

As the word ‘civil’ may perhaps hint, civil engineering deals with the maintenance, construction and design of our built environment (manmade and natural). This would include our bridges, high-rise buildings, airports, and so on. It is said to be one of the oldest engineering disciplines, and there are five main branches in civil engineering that a person could explore:

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Coastal Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Transportation Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering

Degrees you could take:

Aerospace Engineering

Planes! Spacecrafts! If you’ve been fascinated by these for the longest time, aerospace could be a major to consider.  Within the discipline itself, you have aerospace and aeronautical engineering. The former is broader and deals with the designing, building, testing and maintaining of aircrafts and spacecrafts (which includes rockets and missiles!), while the latter handles the designing of aircrafts and propulsion systems.

Some things aerospace degrees cover include:

  • Spacecraft Design
  • Introduction to Astronautics
  • Fundamentals of Jet Propulsion
  • Spacecraft Dynamics
  • Orbital Mechanics

Some things aeronautical degrees cover include:

  • Aero Engineering Thermodynamics
  • Heat Transfer
  • Aircraft Structures
  • Flight Mechanics
  • Aircraft Stability and Control
  • Aerodynamics

Degrees you could take:

Chemical Engineering

If you’re familiar with marketing, think about chemical engineering as optimization of a different kind.

Yet another broad discipline, chemical engineers are the magical brains and hands that take raw materials and turn them into useful products we can’t live without. Things like the sweaters made out of synthetic fibre that keep us warm, for instance! They are also responsible for the designing, manufacturing and operation of plants as well as machinery.

Contrary to their name, though, this discipline still requires you to be a dab hand at physics and math as all engineering majors do!

Degrees you could take:

Mechatronics Engineering

Not to be confused with mechanical engineering, mechatronic engineering is a hybrid of mechanical, electronic, and computer engineering. So, putting these three fields together, you’d get what a mechatronics engineer does: the designing of computer-controlled mechanical systems! If you want more insights into the degree, we’ve found this post pretty helpful.

Some roles mechatronic engineering graduate can be found in include:

  • Automation Engineer
  • Data Logging Engineer
  • Process Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Software Engineer

Degrees you could take:

Marine Engineering

Marine Engineering handles the design, production, and maintenance of structures and equipments that are used in bodies of water (examples being ships and oil platforms). The multidisciplinary field involves mechanical engineering, as well as electrical and electronic engineering, and there is a demand for marine engineers: the Tripartite Engineering Training Award (Teta) was launched in 2016. A place-and-train scheme, it received continued funding in 2018. Do note that marine engineers are typically away from home, having to work on ships for long periods.

Degrees you could take:

 As you can see, engineering is a vast field: surely there’s something that will pique your interest! Engineers are problem solvers deep down so if that’s something you know you are, why not consider this profession?

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