Engineering Majors at Purdue

An interdisciplinary engineering student (left)

The options are endless for study within and across the engineering disciplines. Scott Krenzke (left) pursued a concentration in theatre engineering within the Interdisciplinary Engineering Program.

After you complete the requirements for the First-Year Engineering Program, you'll choose from one of the following engineering majors. If the brief descriptions offered here leave you wanting more, follow the links to each major's home page or plan of study. Or, for even more information on the various fields of engineering, check out our Online Resources page.

Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering

Since the Wright brothers' original flight, the aerospace industry has expanded beyond the earth to embrace travel through space to the moon and the planets. The aeronautics and astronautics curriculum is based on the fundamentals of engineering science, with a focus on the technologies and design of flight vehicles. Aircraft and spacecraft design courses integrate the fields of aerodynamics, dynamics and control, propulsion, and structures and materials to give students an understanding of complete flight systems.

Contact: 765.494.5117
AAE web site
AAE Undergraduate web site
Tips for New Students
Undergrad Research Opportunities

Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Diverse careers await engineers involved in producing, processing, utilizing, and conserving the nation's biological and natural resources. Two engineering degrees, Agricultural Engineering and Biological Engineering, are offered. Both programs combine courses in the biological and life sciences with the engineering foundation essential to design and manage biological production and processing systems. Agricultural Engineering graduates with a Machine Systems emphasis design machines and systems for planting, cultivating, harvesting, and storing crops as well as for environmentally friendly soil and water conservation practices. Agricultural Engineering graduates with an Environmental and Natural Resources emphasizes the design practices to conserve the environment and study environmental impact of land use and land use change. Biological Engineering graduates are involved with product development, process design, distribution and marketing, quality control and by-product development of food materials, pharmaceuticals, and other biological materials.

Contact: 765.494.1172
ABE Web site
ABE plan of study
Food Process Engineering plan of study

Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering combines traditional engineering with biology and medicine to develop cutting-edge research and convert the results into the next generation of medical products that will improve the quality of life for all. At the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, this is accomplished by immersing students in key life science principles, while focusing on an understanding of the events taking place at a cellular/molecular level. This knowledge is reinforced in laboratories that emphasize problem-solving, design, and interdisciplinary teamwork. Students are exposed to biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and materials science, as well as engineering fundamentals. Coursework is only the beginning, as the program ensures hands-on learning through intense laboratory activities and involvement in real-world problem solving. Entrance into the program requires an application and a written exam.

Contact: 765.494.2995
BME Web site
BME Suggested Plan of Study

Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering combines chemistry, biotechnology (often) and engineering. While the chemist studies basic chemical reactions, the chemical engineer applies the results of chemical or biotechnological research to develop industrial processes that meet worldwide demand for high value-added products. Chemical engineers play vital roles in refining petroleum and in producing petrochemicals, synthetic fibers, plastics, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnological products. Chemical engineers also play essential roles in the development and delivery of energy in its many forms, in the engineering of food and personal care products, in the production of specialty materials and coatings, in pollution prevention and control, in microelectronics manufacturing, and in emerging areas such as gene therapy and tissue engineering.

Contact: 765.494.5650
ChE Web site
ChE Plan of Study (PDF document)

Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is a remarkably broad field of study serving people by designing, constructing and maintaining the infrastructure of society including buildings, bridges, highways, airports, and harbors. Civil engineers impact the quality of the built environment and the quality of our land, water, and air resources. Students can elect to prepare for professional careers such as structural, environmental, transportation, construction, hydraulic, geotechnical, or surveying engineers. The curriculum accommodates this breadth by providing a fundamental set of required courses complemented by sufficient flexibility to allow students to concentrate portions of their studies on the special areas that are of particular interest to them.

Contact: 765.494.2157
CE Web site
CE Curriculum Diagrams

Construction Engineering

Purdue's unique program prepares graduates for technical and management responsibilities within the immense construction industry. One distinctive feature of the undergraduate program is that students complete three 12-week internship periods, during which they work as paid employees of construction contractors or related organizations. Office assignments include cost estimating, bidding, and work planning and scheduling. Other students choose to work as project managers or superintendents on construction sites. Purdue is one of five schools nationwide to have an accredited Construction and Engineering and Management program.

Contact: 765.494.2243
CEM Web site
CEM Curriculum

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Whether you choose the electrical engineering degree or the more specialized computer engineering degree, this engineering program prepares you to enter the exciting world of electrical and electronic design, development, and research. Among the fields that students may study are nanotechnology, circuit design, microelectronics, fields & optics, energy sources & systems, computer engineering, wireless systems, communications & signal processing, and automatic control. Graduates may pursue careers in a wide variety of industries not only in traditional engineering roles, but also in management, medicine, and law.

Contact: 765.494.3390
ECE Web site
Electrical Engineering (EE) or Computer Engineering (CmpE) Plans of Study

Environmental and Ecological Engineering

Environmental and Ecological engineers use the principles of systems engineering, biology, and chemistry to develop strategies to protect human and environmental health. Our unique name, Environmental and Ecological Engineering, was chosen to highlight our approach to managing complex problems with an integrated perspective that considers both environmental issues and ecological interactions. In the EEE undergraduate curriculum there is an early focus on systems thinking and systems understanding with the inclusion of significant course requirements in ecology, sustainability, and industrial ecology. Among the 14 Grand Challenges of Engineering announced by the National Academy of Engineering six of the 14 are explicitly in the domain of Environmental and Ecological engineering. Environmental engineering has a clear impact on societies and quality of life. Students interested in engineering that can make a positive difference for people should consider EEE. Employment opportunities for EEE graduates are excellent. The U.S. Dept. of Labor projects substantial growth in jobs for the foreseeable future. Starting salaries are comparable to other engineering fields and opportunities for advancement to positions of responsibility are excellent.

Contact:765.496.9697
EEE Web site
EEE Plan of Study
Prospective Undergraduate Students

Industrial Engineering

Industrial engineering is concerned with the analysis and design of systems and procedures for organizing the basic components of production (people, information, materials, equipment, and energy) to achieve specific objectives. An industrial engineer draws upon knowledge of mathematics, the physical and engineering sciences, and the management and behavioral sciences to function as a problem solver, innovator, designer, coordinator, and system integrator. The most distinct aspect of industrial engineering is the flexibility it offers. Because of its broad perspective, industrial engineering is used in a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, health care, banking, insurance, transportation, construction, utilities, and government agencies. Specializations include human factors engineering, operations research, manufacturing systems, and production management.

Contact: 765.494.5400
IE Web site
IE Undergraduate Plan of Study

Joint Bachelor's in Industrial Engineering and Master's in Business Degree Program

Interested in industrial engineering and think you might want to pursue a master's degree as well? Now you can do both concurrently in Purdue's joint BSIE/MBA Program. The program is the result of a collaboration between Purdue University's College of Engineering and the Krannert School of Management and allows highly qualified industrial engineering students to work toward the completion of the MBA and baccalaureate program concurrently over the course of five years.

The eligibility requirements are:

  • 3.5 GPA or higher at Purdue
  • Ability to accelerate engineering curriculum by one semester via advanced placement credit or summer coursework
  • Completion of at least one summer internship prior to MBA coursework

Krannert School of Management Combined Degree Programs Web site

Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies and Multidisciplinary Engineering

For students with specific career goals that cannot be accommodated within one of the traditional engineering fields, the School of Engineering Education offers a Multidisciplinary Engineering program for students who plan on practicing engineering and an Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies program for students who want an engineering education, but do not plan to practice engineering. Both programs have considerable flexibility and permit students to develop an individual plan of study for a concentration to meet educational goals that require working at the interface between engineering and other disciplines.

Contact: 765.494.7422
IDE Web site
IDE Plans of Study

Contact: 765.494.2247
LS&GE plan of study or Dual degree in CIVL and LS&GE

Materials Engineering

Materials engineers use the structure and composition of materials on scales ranging from the atomic through the microscopic to the macroscopic to control properties like strength, electrical resistance, or thermal conductivity, or to produce entirely new behaviors like the "shape memory effect." Their work to develop new materials and improve traditional ones places them at the forefront of many fields including nanotechnology, biomaterials, and microelectronics. In Materials Engineering, we educate our students to be competitive in any industrial sector, and we encourage them to take advantage of opportunities to study abroad, perform undergraduate research, or get involved in Purdue student organizations. Our graduates are sought after by leading companies including Intel, Procter and Gamble, Caterpillar, and Alcoa. Those who continue for graduate study attend the highest-ranked graduate schools including MIT, Michigan, Stanford, Northwestern and, of course, Purdue.

Contact: 765.494.4103
MSE Web site
MSE Plan of Study (PDF document)

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering (ME) is the broadest of all engineering disciplines and involves activities in research and development, design and manufacturing, operations and maintenance, and marketing and sales, among others. MEs are employed in virtually every sector of the economy including aerospace, automotive, biotechnology, chemical, computer, construction, consumer product, defense, and energy and thermal systems industries. Purdue�s ME program consistently ranks among the top seven ME programs in the country. Its strong curriculum equips students with a broad education, providing them with a solid foundation for professional engineering practice or for continuing education. In addition, ME places importance on workplace skills and professionalism, creating an integrated curriculum that is highly valued by employers. ME alumni have become CEOs, entrepreneurs, chief engineers, astronauts, faculty, physicians, and patent attorneys.

Contact: 765.496.7485
ME Web site
ME Program Map

Joint Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering and Master's in Business Degree Program

Interested in mechanical engineering and think you might want to pursue a master's degree as well? Now you can do both concurrently in Purdue's new joint BSME/MBA Program. The program is the result of a collaboration between Purdue University's College of Engineering and the Krannert School of Management and allows highly qualified mechanical engineering students to work toward the completion of the MBA and baccalaureate program concurrently over the course of five years.

The eligibility requirements are:

  • 3.5 GPA or higher at Purdue
  • Ability to accelerate engineering curriculum by one semester via advanced placement credit or summer coursework
  • Completion of at least one summer internship prior to MBA coursework

Krannert School of Management Combined Degree Programs Web site

Nuclear Engineering

Availability of economical, reliable, and safe energy is essential for the development of any industrial society. Nuclear power plants now supply a significant share of the electricity generated in the United States and Europe. Nuclear engineers are responsible for the design and safe operation of these plants as well as for the development of advanced reactor and fusion systems for the future.

Contact: 765.494.5739
NE Web site
NE Plan of Study