general engineering degree vs. specific engineering degree

<p>Hey guys,</p>

<p>Having a bit of a time deciding whether to major in a general engineering degree (in this case engineering science at UVA, which isn't all that general) or whether to focus on a specific field (mechanical engineering with possibility of double major in anthro/cs).</p>

<p>I want to be a sort of jack of all trades in the engineering field; so the ability to perform and think as a e.e., m.e., mat sci. etc is important to me. I don't want to be limited to just one particular field of engineering. </p>

<p>Is it possible to have a general engineering degree and be able to switch between fields when you get actual work experience? Is there some sort of core/fundamental education between all of these fields that I can learn, and when the time comes I can focus on particular fields through my work? Can I just be a beginner in all these fields, and then "master" each field?</p>

<p>Or is it possible that I just pursue my mech. e. degree and my education will allow me to work in materials science? These are a lot of questions, but I'm filled uncertainty of the particulars of this world. Thanks a bunch.</p>

<p>Cheers,
Duylam</p>

<p>Engineering is incredibly diverse and can be very specialized depending on the discipline. Mechanical Engineering is almost completely different than electrical engineering.</p>

<p>Engineering science isn't really engineering.
Engineering is very challenging and for most the major itself is more than enough to have to handle so unless you want to spend almost all of your time in the books and stressing you should really think more about whether you want to do a double major. Although it is still doable if you are devoted enough.</p>

<p>While there are some core ideas that a lot of disciplines share in the end it is unreasonable to switch between mechanical and electrical or software because they have just as many differences as similarities. </p>

<p>You could always try and get a job that has you working along side engineers instead of actually doing the engineering work. This is because most engineers go through similar processes and problem solving procedures to complete projects.</p>

<p>I highly recommend sitting down and researching all the engineering disciplines that you are interested in and slowly narrowing down to one specialization. Specialization is pretty important if you want good job opportunities. Also, it would be best to stay in one field of engineering or at least a very similar field because a lot of job opportunities are on the basis of experience and having a decent amount of experience in one field of engineering is much better than having a small amount of experience in many different engineering disciplines.
Eventually you are going to have to narrow it down and devote yourself to one engineering field... so why not start now?</p>

<p>Also, Materials scientists usually cannot work as mechanical engineers.</p>

<ul>
<li>grain of salt</li>
</ul>

<p>I agree with what alchemist said.</p>

<p>Basically, no. For the most part switching between unrelated engineering fields is very difficult.</p>

<p>Why would someone hire a person without the basic knowledge of the particular field? It would take years of training just to get that person up to speed on the basics let alone having him able to produce useful work.</p>

<p>Sounds like you want to go to Harvey Mudd. General Engineering is the only engineering degree they offer.</p>

<p>Since you seem to reference Materials Science so much, why dont you just do Materials? I believe (could be wrong) that in the Mech E undergrad you'll take some Materials courses.</p>

<p>I would not take general engineering or engineering science as an undergraduate program because you need to get you foot in the door.</p>

<p>Now at the graduate level, a MS/MEng in engineering science or just a plain 'ole MS/MEng in engineering (no designation) is a great choice if you already have work experience. Those degrees at the masters level allow you to specialize/take what you want and need without having to do core courses that you will never use. On top of that, you are basically "putting icing on the cake" as far as your credentials where having a MS/MEng is more of "checking the box".</p>

<p>My grad degree reads: Master of Science in Engineering.....that's it....and really all I needed given my past work experience.</p>