Engineering + Technology

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How many engineering disciplines can you name?

UCSB educates students in five key areas: chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer engineering, and computer science. However, there are over 50 other engineering disciplines to discover including aerospace, automotive, biochemical, civil, environmental, geotechnical, industrial, manufacturing, nanotechnology, nuclear, petroleum, security, telecommunications, and traffic engineering. All areas overlap with basic engineering knowledge and skills.

Learn how you can pursue your discipline or pivot your UCSB education into the area of your choice through a career path in Engineering + Technology.



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Discover Options:
Engineering for Non-Engineers

For complete information on assessing yourself, choosing majors, and exploring careers, review our starter tips to Discover Options in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.

Building Bridges to Your Future

Are you seeking a non-traditional way to break into engineering? Perhaps you recently decided through your studies that you want to be an engineer, or perhaps you knew in advance and were not accepted into the UCSB College of Engineering. No matter the situation, time and opportunity are on your side. You may need to navigate over a few speed bumps, but there are many ways to enter the world of engineering. 

Becoming an engineer requires significant time and energy. This can especially be the case if you are pursuing the field from outside of a formal engineering education, as this calls for additional coursework, projects, and time for strategic networking. Once you have decided that engineering is the path for you, it is time to begin planning.

With good intention, most of your academic and experiential preparation should be tailored toward the engineering discipline that interests you. By following a few simple steps, you can make strides toward a future in engineering. The future ahead remains bright.


Academic Preparation

There are a variety of manners in which you can academically prepare to become an engineer, both within the UCSB College of Engineering and outside of it. For any degree, it is recommended to pursue a Bachelor of Science, rather than a Bachelor of Arts, as this will provide you with more coursework within the sciences. Click below for more details.

Depending on the engineering discipline you wish to pursue, there are related majors within the College of Letters and Science as well as the College of Creative Studies. 

If you are interested in pursuing an engineering career in the life sciences, such as chemical engineering, bioengineering, or environmental engineering, it is beneficial to major in something related to that discipline, such as chemistry, biochemistry, biology, or environmental studies. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, in collaboration with the Materials Department, offers a five-year combined BS-Chemistry/MS-Materials program. 

If you are interested in an engineering career in the physical sciences, such as mechanical engineering or electrical engineering, it is beneficial to major in physics or mathematics. Physics and mathematics coursework closely aligns with the foundational coursework within engineering. These majors are often seen as requirements for job postings for engineering positions, or as acceptable related degrees for graduate school.

If you are interested in an engineering career in computers and technology, such as computer science or computer engineering, it is beneficial to major in statistics and data science within the College of Letters and Sciences or the computing major within the College of Creative Studies. Both majors provide some basic computer science courses. The College of Creative Studies also offers a five-year BS-Computing/MS-Computer Science program. 

Many individuals first look into changing their major to pursue an engineering degree. This is possible, though it is very competitive. Before petitioning to change majors, review the change of major information in the General Engineering Academic Requirements (GEAR) on the College of Engineering website, as each department has specific requirements for prerequisite courses. Additionally, contact the advisor of the department that you wish to pursue, in order to ensure that you are on track.

If you choose to take prerequisite courses to try to petition to change your major into the College of Engineering, focus immensely on your coursework. There is no application essay to pitch your reasoning for changing majors. Decisions are mainly based on your grades on those courses. The higher the grades, the more likely you are to be admitted into the college.

If you decide early into your academic career that you want to pursue an engineering degree outside of UCSB, you can apply to transfer to another university to continue your studies. To do this, contact the admissions department at the universities you want to attend, to help you learn more about specific criteria for admission.

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