Like lower-level engineering offerings, doctoral degree programs in general engineering are concerned with the application of science and scientific principles to the solution of real-world problems in the built environment. Engineering doctoral programs usually feature a mix of core classes and independent research for a dissertation on a chosen topic. Biotechnology, engineering physics, green engineering and nanotechnology are common specialization options.
To begin a doctoral engineering program, a master's degree in engineering is usually required, but some programs may allow applicants with only an engineering bachelor's degree.
Doctorate in General Engineering
Doctorate programs in general engineering can prepare students for upper-level research and development positions within industry and government, as well as university-based teaching and research careers. These programs tend to be interdisciplinary collaborations among various departments in a college or university's school of engineering. An engineering license is required to practice if providing a public service.
A Ph.D. in Engineering candidate spends the majority of credit hours devoted to researching their dissertation. However, students may also have to complete core courses on the following topics:
- Computation engineering
- Experimental and advanced design
- Linear systems
- Optimization of engineering designs
- Systems analysis
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipated that jobs for engineers would grow by 3% overall in the decade spanning 2014-2024; however, job growth forecasts varied greatly by engineering discipline. For example, biomedical engineers were expected to see a 23% increase in jobs, while aerospace engineers could see a 2% decrease in employment.
2015 reports by the BLS indicated that those working in engineering fields saw a range of salaries, depending on their specialties. For example, agricultural engineers had a median annual salary of $75,090, while petroleum engineers earned a median of $129,990.
Graduates with a doctoral degree in engineering might also work as college or university professors. Engineering post-secondary teachers could anticipate a 13% increase in jobs from 2014-2024, according to the BLS. Post-secondary engineering teachers earned a median annual salary of $95,060 as of May 2015.
All 50 states require engineers to obtain a license if they offer direct services to the public. In general, licensure requires a degree from an accredited engineering program, passage of a state exam and four years of engineering-related work experience. Students who earn a doctorate degree in engineering meet the first qualification and likely have sufficient training to meet the second.
Engineering is a vast field, with many different practices. Engineers with a particular interest in an aspect or issue within the field have the space focus on it when pursuing a doctorate degree in engineering.