Overview of an Entertainment Engineering Degree Program
Degree programs in entertainment engineering are rather limited in location, since the field of study isn't widely available yet. There are several related associate degree programs in entertainment design and technology, as well as a few bachelor's degrees in entertainment engineering, entertainment design and themed entertainment design.
The field of entertainment engineering combines creative design coursework with courses in various areas of engineering, including mechanical, electrical and structural. Coursework will supply students with math and engineering skills, as well as a strong knowledge of set design for stage, television, motion pictures and even theme parks. Below you will find details about some of the required coursework and school requirements, along with what jobs may be waiting after graduation.
Admissions Requirements for an Entertainment Engineering Degree
Students looking to apply to a university with this degree plan will need to have completed high school or obtained a GED. To pursue an entertainment engineering degree, they may wish to take as many advanced math, computer and science courses as their high school offers. Applicants will also need to submit their college entrance score, which could be the ACT or SAT. A student applying for this program at an art school may also be required to submit a portfolio of their previous design work and/or stage presentations (such as sets, lighting or sound).
Entertainment Engineering Program Coursework
An entertainment engineering program will include a number of advanced math, science and computer courses, along with general education coursework to meet the school's requirements. However, there will also be a lot of creative design, multimedia and engineering classes that will be necessary for students to be successful in this field. The following are a few common courses:
Fabrication of Stage Materials
The entertainment industry uses a range of materials to create certain scenes or effects, from metals to wood to fiberglass, and this course explores industrial design strategies for working with different materials. This course helps students understand the science of these materials, like their strength and ductility, and gives them hands-on experience with tools and fabrication methods. In addition to building items, students may be tasked with disassembling and re-assembling items to get a better idea of their materials and how they work.
A fundamental drawing course will introduce students to the use of line, texture and shading, as well as accurate figure drawing. Students will learn how to work with media like pencil and charcoals, and they'll practice keeping a sketchbook. Figure drawing classes may include live models in the classroom. A drawing course gives entertainment engineering students a necessary background that they can apply to later classes in computer modelling and animation, as well as to sketching out project designs, like set designs.
Video Game 3D Modelling
In this course, students learn the basics of multimedia design and 3D modelling. These classes will utilize the latest in computer assisted manufacturing (CAM) software so students can work on their skills in conceptualizing and designing characters, backgrounds and layouts. In more advanced classes, students will also learn about texturing.
An animation course teaches students how to bring their 3D-modeled characters and backgrounds to life. An introductory course will cover basic animation, lighting, character poses and how to convey emotion, as well as how to use standard animation software, like Maya. More advanced courses will include concepts like rigging and adding FX particles. In many classes, students will be required to create their own animated short.
Theme Park Attraction Design
This course requires students to understand and work with the design of a theme park attraction. Students will work with computer modelling software to better understand the inner workings of automation and on-stage special effects and how they function together. They may be tasked with designing their own sample exhibit or attraction as part of the course.
How to Choose a Degree Program in Entertainment Engineering
Since there are not that many schools offering this specific degree in the U.S., you will first have to determine if you can relocate to one of these schools; if so, you may want to consider what kind of opportunities the school's location gives you. For example, schools near entertainment centers like Las Vegas, Hollywood, New York and Miami may offer more options for real-world experience. You may also want to consider the quality of the school's computer and fabrication facilities, since many courses will have you working with machines or in a computer lab, and you'll want your skills to be up-to-date with current software and equipment.
Career Options with an Entertainment Engineering Degree
Normally people with this degree will find work designing and creating technical stage productions at a casino's main stage, or with a touring Broadway show like 'Cats', or at a theme park where automation is very important. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the mechanical engineering field, a broad field that would include entertainment engineering, to grow by 5% between 2014-2024, while the median salary for mechanical engineers in 2016 was $84,190. Other careers that graduates in entertainment engineering can consider are listed below.