Most engineering students want to design and build things that matter. However, many of them rush to declare a major following their first year of engineering studies. While some students know exactly what they want to study—not everyone has that same indication. Those less confident often make decisions without understanding their options—leaving them to wonder if they’ve made the right one.
Mechanical Engineering and Construction Engineering Management (CEM) are two programs often compared. While the programs have some similarities, their professional outcomes and course requirements differ and will lead to different professional opportunities beyond college.
Read more to learn about the similarities between these two construction engineering degrees.
A degree in either Mechanical Engineering or Construction Engineering and Management is a good choice for students interested in industrial construction and/or facilities planning projects. This is because either degree can help you pursue a career in designing a skyscraper, football stadium, mixed-use economic development project, or a massive suspension bridge.
Both degrees offer experience through internships, clubs and organizations, and capstone projects, and students receive a well-rounded engineering education.
Many students who are undecided in the pursuit of their engineering degree will often select Mechanical Engineering due to its variety of applications in the professional world, as several industries, including aerospace, automotive, biomedical, nuclear, and construction engineering overlap in expertise. However, a mechanical engineering degree does not offer the management classes or real-world experience that the CEM program provides.
There is a downside to choosing a broad degree. This is because students struggle to understand how they will apply their skills to impact the world. Without the confidence to know the practical next steps they can take after college and without obtaining industry connections, it becomes more challenging to secure fulfilling internships within the industry in which students want to pursue a career.
Construction Engineering Management is a program that develops innovative and versatile engineers. With a high value on leadership and management skills, along with the technical knowledge of engineering—CEM offers students more than a construction engineering degree.
CEM offers 100% job placement after graduation, averaging three job offers per student. They also provide invaluable industry connections and opportunities that give students strong hands-on experiences through internships, community-based project builds, and one-on-one research with a faculty member of a student’s chosen interest.
One key aspect that sets CEM apart from similar majors is the class sizes. Only 120 students are admitted into CEM each year, giving them a unique opportunity for individualized attention and assistance from faculty and staff during the year. This provides a unique opportunity to help each student achieve their version of success.
While these majors have similar processes—both being four-year degrees with various opportunities for internships and co-ops—their post-graduation applications differ and provide varying options in the workplace. Students interested in careers in construction management, industrial construction, or facilities planning should consider pursuing degrees in Purdue Construction Engineering Management.
If you're ready to turn your passion for engineering and architecture into a career, connect with a faculty or staff member today.
The world is demanding innovative engineers who have the ability to design and manage projects as well as the skills to manage people.
The Purdue University Construction Engineering and Management program develops versatile engineers by merging high-value education with direct access to industry leaders and successful alumni. The curriculum is 80% construction engineering and 20% management courses, and classes are taught by industry experts who bring their own real-world experiences. Through small class sizes, innovative internships, 100% job placement, and the use of cutting-edge technology, we help turn a passion for engineering and architecture into a career where leadership, design, and oversight influence every aspect of a construction project.
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