General engineering is the branch of science and technology that deals with the design, building, maintenance and use of engines, machines and structures. It includes subcategories like electrical, chemical, mechanical, civil, architectural engineering and computer engineering. It is an engineer’s responsibility to find solutions to problems facing both developing and developed economies.
This is a broad degree that allows engineers to exercise varied skills linked to environmental, economic, legal, social and political contexts. It is also a wise option for those who have not yet decided which area of engineering they would like to specialise in. In some universities, there is the option to do general engineering in the first year, before specialising further in the second year. First year studies will usually cover mathematics with computation, mathematics for engineers and scientists, experimentation, engineering design, mechanical engineering, electromagnetism, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics, electronic measurement, applied mechanics and electric and electronic engineering.
Teaching is done through lectures, group tutorials and in small groups in laboratories. Assessment is through a combination of coursework and written examinations. There is also design-focused work which is assessed through oral presentations, project work and group assignments.
Skills gained through a general engineering degree include analysis, problem solving, teamwork and leadership. Typically, general engineering graduates pursue careers in control engineering, sensors and data processing, architectural and design companies, mobile technologies, biomedical engineering, engineering consultancies or academia. A career in engineering can also involve upper level management and travel within a country or abroad.
An engineering skill-set is also valuable in non-engineering industries like finance, business, intellectual property agencies, academia, government bodies, think tanks, the civil service, non-governmental organisations or regulatory bodies.
There are still so few women in engineering roles and Mariana Bontempo believes that early intervention can encourage more women into the field
An essential guide to what you will learn on a general engineering course, what you should study to get your place on a degree, and what jobs you can get once you graduate