Exploring Engineering Majors | A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland

As an undecided engineering student you have the choice of nine engineering majors.  This page is designed to help you explore your interests so that you can make a more informed decision when chosing a major. Beneath the chart, you will find information about each major including a description, the top 10 employers, job titles, average annual salary, and the departmental websites.

  Thinking & Formulating Ideas Searching for Facts Mentally Problem Solving Practically Solving Hands-on Problems Following Set Procedures & Routines Working with Data & Details Starting & Carrying Out Projects Leading People & Making Many Decisions Requiring Risk Taking (Sometimes) Dealing with Business (Often)
Aerospace Engineering X X X X            
Bioengineering X X X X            
Chemical Engineering X X X X            
Civil Engineering X X X X X X        
Computer Engineering X X X X X X        
Electrical Engineering X X X X            
Fire Protection Engineering X X X X X X X X X X
Materials Science & Engineering X X X X     X X X X
Mechanical Engineering X X X X X X        


Aerospace Engineering is concerned with the design, construction and science of aircraft and spacecraft.  It is divided into two major and overlapping branches:
  1. Aeronautical:  craft that stay within the earth’s atmosphere
  2. Astronautical:  craft that operate outside the earth’s atmosphere
Aerospace engineers develop new technologies for use in aviation, defense systems, and space exploration.  They often specialize in areas such as structures, propulsion systems, vehicle movement and control, communications and overall vehicle design. 
Top 10 Aerospace Engineering Employers:
a.i. solutions
JHU Applied Physics Lab
Lockheed Martin
Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)
Orbital ATK
Job Titles:
Aeronautical Engineer
Aerospace Engineer
Aerospace Stress Engineer
Avionics Engineer
Design Engineer
Flight Controls Engineer
Flight Test Engineer
Structural Analysis Engineer
Systems Engineer
Test Engineer
Average Annual Salary:  $71,200
Departmental Website:   https://aero.umd.edu/
Bioengineering is based on biology, biosystems, medical research and clinical practice.  Bioengineers develop innovative processes for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease and seek to improve the health and life of humankind.  Bioengineers specialize in those products and processes made from, used with or applied to biological organisms.
Top 10 Bioengineering Employers:
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Personal Genome Diagnostics
United Health Group
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Job Titles:  
Engineering Director
Process Engineer
Research Associate
Research Engineer
Research Fellow
Research Greenhouse Supervisor
Research Scientist
University Extension Specialist
Average Annual Salary:  $69,500
Departmental Website:  https://bioe.umd.edu/
Chemical engineers research, develop and improve things we use every day.  They ensure we have a safe, secure and sustainable supply of energy, water and food while safeguarding the environment.  They develop new products from renewable resources, alternative energy sources, pharmaceutical products and new food products.
Top 10 Chemical Engineering Employers:
Anheuser Busch
Army Research Lab (ARL)
Flying Dog Brewery
FM Global
Naval Research Lab (NRL)
Procter & Gamble
Job Titles:  
Chemical Engineer
Development Engineer
Engineering Scientist
Process Control Engineer
Process Engineer
Project Engineer
Refinery Process Engineer
Research Chemical Engineer
Average Annual Salary:  $73,200

Departmental Website:  https://chbe.umd.edu/

Civil Engineering focuses on planning, design, construction and operation of large systems such as buildings and bridges.  Civil engineers also focus on water purification and distribution systems, traffic and transportation systems, water and land pollution systems.  Civil Engineering offers three tracks:
  • Geotechnical and Structural
  • Environmental and Water Resources
  • Transportation Systems and Project Management
Top 10 Civil Engineering Employers:
Bohler Engineering
Clark Construction
Engineering Consulting Services (ECS)
Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson
Prime AE
Turner Construction
Whitman, Requardt & Associates (WRA)
Job Titles:
Bridge/Structure Inspection Team Leader
City Engineer
Civil Engineering Manager
County Engineer
Design Engineer
Project Engineer
Railroad Design Consultant
Structural Engineer
Traffic Engineer
Average Annual Salary:  $63,100
Departmental Website:  https://cee.umd.edu/
Computer engineers apply the principles and techniques of electrical engineering, computer science and mathematical analysis to design, develop, test and evaluate software and hardware systems that enable computers to perform increasingly demanding functions.  Computer engineers design robots, develop microprocessors, design supercomputers and smart devices, create integrated circuits for semiconductor fabrication, program computer-vision capabilities, create security/cryptographic systems and develop software systems and network protocols.
Top 10 Computer Engineering Employers:
Booz Allen Hamilton
Capital One
JHU Applied Physics Lab (APL)
Lockheed Martin 
Northrop Grumman
Job Titles:
Design Engineer
Field Service Engineer
Hardware Design Engineer
Hardware Engineer
Network Engineer
Project Engineer
Senior Hardware Engineer
Systems Engineer
Systems Integration Engineer
Average Annual Salary:  $85,300
Departmental Website:  https://ece.umd.edu/
Electrical engineers help overcome global challenges related to energy, communications, health care, global warming and national security.  Electrical engineers create innovative technology solutions in a wide range of areas from handheld communications to solar panels; from cardiac pacemakers to autonomous robots; from wireless networks to bio-engineered sensors that detect dangerous pathogens, and intelligent surveillance systems that perform face and motion recognition.  
Top 10 Electrical Engineering Employers:
Hughes Network Systems
JP Morgan Chase
M.C. Dean
National Security Agency (NSA)
Northrop Grumman
Texas Instruments
Job Titles:
Circuits Engineer
Design Engineer
Electrical Controls Engineer
Electrical Design Engineer
Electrical Project Engineer
Instrumentation and Electrical Reliability Engineer (I&E Reliability Engineer)
Power Systems Engineer
Project Engineer
Test Engineer
Average Annual Salary:  $73,400
Departmental Website:  https://ece.umd.edu/
Fire Protection engineers protect people, homes, workplaces, the environment and the economy from the devastating effects of fire by designing systems, creating products and developing fire safe materials.  Fire Protection engineers focus on suppression and detection, fire-resistant materials, fire dynamics and behavior, smoke, soot and gases, human behavior and life safety, computer modeling of fire, smoke, suppression and evacuation.
Top 10 Fire Protection Engineering Employers:
EBL Fire Engineering
Jenson Hughes
Koffel Associates
Rhino Fire Protection Engineering
SimplexGrinnell (A Tyco Company)
Job Titles:
Chief Engineer
Consulting Engineer
Design Director
Fire Protection Engineer and Code Consultant (FP Engineer and Code Consultant)
Lead Fire Protection Engineer
Loss Control Manager
Senior Engineer
Senior Fire Protection Engineer
Average Annual Salary:  $73,100
Departmental Website:  https://fpe.umd.edu/


Material Science and Engineering is the process, testing and designing of complex material systems that underlie much of today’s advanced technology including microelectronics and biotechnology.  These engineers can produce incredibly strong magnets, advanced plastics and polymers, metals that remember their shape and nanotechnology.


Top 10 Materials Science and Engineering Employers:

Applied Predictive Technologies
CoolCAD Electronics
Epic Systems
MPR Associates
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST)
National Institutes of Health
Northrop Grumman
US Army Research Lab (ARL)
Job Titles:
Materials and Processes Manager
Materials Branch Chief
Materials Development Engineer
Materials Research Engineer
Metallurgical Engineer
Process Engineer
Research Engineer
Test Engineer
Average Annual Salary:  $71,100
Departmental Website:  https://mse.umd.edu/
Mechanical Engineering is the broadest and most versatile of all the engineering professions.  Mechanical engineers design, manufacture and operations of a wide range of components, devices or systems.  The field encompasses applications ranging from miroc-mechanical surgical systems to internal combustion engines for formula one race cars or giant turbines for renewable energy wind farms.
Top 10 Mechanical Engineering Employers:
Ford Motor
Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)
Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)
Northrop Grumman
Orbital ATK
Stanley Black & Decker
Job Titles:
Application Engineer
Design Engineer
Design Maintenance Engineer
Equipment Engineer
Mechanical Design Engineer
Process Engineer
Product Engineer
Project Engineer
Test Engineer
Average Annual Salary:  $68,500
Departmental Website:  https://enme.umd.edu/

The School of Engineering offers two courses that explore each of the nine engineering majors:

UNIV100 (1-credit)- The Student in the University (section 0604)

Introduces students to University life. In a small classroom setting, students will explore how to successfully bridge the gap between high school and college. Study skills, career decision-making, and student development processes will be explored.

ENES181 (1-credit)- Engineering & The Grand Challenges (section 0101)

Introduction to the various fields of engineering and the necessary context for students to fully engage in selected National Academy of Engineering's Grand Challenges such as economical solar energy, carbon sequestration, access to clean water, engineering better medicines, restoring urban infrastructure and personalized learning. The lectures and activities will provide an introduction to the engineering disciplines, NAE Grand Challenges, STEM cultures, and research.

Students may also choose to take a major specific introductory course in order to learn more about a specific major of interest.