Admission to engineering, math, and science programs varies by school and program type. However, most programs hold the same admission standards.
Admission for bachelor’s degree programs in engineering, science, and math require applicants to hold a high school diploma at minimum. If you are homeschooled or have received your G.E.D., you will qualify for admission if you possess the other requirements. Since these programs, especially engineering, are highly competitive, a strong and equally competitive GPA is necessary. In fact, most top tier schools require a minimum high school GPA of 3.5; however, a 3.0 and above is often seen as acceptable.
For competitive majors, such as in math, science, and engineering, you will also need test scores on the ACT or SAT. While the requirement for test scores is changing among top institutions, competitive scores may be seen as an added bonus to your application. Today, some schools do not require the ACT or SAT for admission. Other admission criteria varies by institution.
Much like bachelor’s degree programs, admission to master’s programs in math, science, and engineering vary by institution. Since graduate school is competitive, stringent admission requirements are present in most programs. Typical admission requirements include an earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a competitive GPA. Since most math, science, and engineering programs are highly competitive, an outstanding GPA is necessary for admission consideration. In fact, many top-ranked programs ask for a 3.3 or higher GPA to be considered for admission.
Additional admission requirements may include a statement of purpose or goals, letters of recommendation, and graduate exam scores. Some programs require competitive scores on the GRE or GMAT. Also, related work history or research experience may also be required.
Doctoral or PhD
Admission to a doctoral or PhD program in math, science, or engineering is highly competitive. As with other degree program, admission requirements vary by institution and program type. However, most programs have similar requirements. Common admission criteria include an earned master’s degree from an accredited program, competitive graduate GPA, and GRE scores.
The cost for undergraduate degrees in math, science, and engineering are anywhere between $10,000 and $40,000 per year. This price is contingent on the school. Private institutions typically cost more than public and state universities. In-state students attending a state university will also receive a lower tuition rate than students enrolled at a private institution. However, financial aid and scholarship opportunities cut the cost of tuition, no matter which school you are attending.
The cost for graduate programs in math, science, and engineering also varies by institution. On average, the price for graduate school ranges between $11,000 and $55,000 per year for engineering programs. However, with the assistance from fellowship programs and financial aid, these costs may be significantly reduced.
Earnings & Careers
Below are several career possibilities and potential earnings associated with each occupation. Most of these careers require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a related field of study. Earnings were taken directly from reporting published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Civil engineers work in a variety of geographic locations designing, building, and supervising projects and systems. They are responsible for the infrastructure of construction sites and help monitor operations at these sites. Most civil engineers work full time and hold at least a bachelor’s degree. For senior positions, extensive work history or an advanced degree in civil engineering is required.
The median annual wage for civil engineers is over $87,000.
Computer Hardware Engineer
Computer hardware engineers are responsible for the design, development, research, and testing of computer systems and components. This specialized type of engineer is employed in research laboratories and manufacturing industries. Most computer hardware engineers hold a bachelor’s degree, while leadership roles call for advanced degrees, such as the master’s in computer hardware engineering.
The median annual wage for this occupation is over $117,000 per year.
Electrical and Electronics Engineer
Electrical engineers work in a variety of industries designing, developing, overseeing, and testing the manufacture of electrical equipment. This job requires an earned bachelor’s degree in electrical or electronics engineering. Employers also value work experience through internships or on-the-job training.
The median annual wage for electrical engineers is over $98,000 per year, while the median annual wage for electronics engineers is $105,570.
A geoscientist is a specialized scientist that studies the physical aspects of the Earth. Most geoscientists work in labs doing research, though many split time between lab work and field work. Most geoscientists have a bachelor’s degree; however, master’s degrees may be required for management roles.
The median annual wage for geoscientists is over $92,000 per year.
Mathematicians and Statisticians
The role of the mathematician and statistician involves analyzing data and applying statistical and mathematical techniques to solve problems. This profession is often seen working in engineering research companies, for the federal government, and in private science facilities. Typically, mathematicians and statisticians need a graduate degree; however, some positions are open to individuals with a bachelor’s degree.
The median annual wage for mathematicians is $105,030, according to BLS. Statisticians earn an average of $91,160 per year.
Pursuing a graduate degree in math, science, or engineering can improve earnings and career trajectories. Graduate school for these fields includes coursework toward a master’s degree, doctoral degree, or Ph.D. Coursework varies depending on the program. Requirements for programs are found online or can be acquired directly from the school. However, if you’ve been out of school for a while, you may need to take a graduate exam, such as the GMAT or GRE, to qualify for admission. However, many schools are doing away with graduate exams in lieu of qualified work experience.
The average time to complete an online master’s in math, science, or engineering is 18-24 months. Doctoral degrees and Ph.D. programs take longer.
Important Qualities and Skills
There are important characteristics, qualities, and skills those working in math, engineering, and science should possess. These qualities are as follows:
Analytical skills: Engineers, mathematicians, and science-related occupations must evaluate and synthesize information carefully to solve complex problems. Doing so requires strong analytical skills.
Communication skills: Science and engineering managers often oversee teams and staff. In order to meet team goals, leaders must communicate effectively. Having strong communication skills is beneficial to this type of career.
Critical thinking skills: Being able to observe, analyze, interpret, and draw conclusions helps in decision making. Critical thinking skills are beneficial in all areas of science, math, and engineering.
Focus: Math and engineering roles call for the ability to focus. This is especially true of engineering jobs. As biomedical, electrical, or mechanical engineers develop complex systems and products, they must be able to concentrate for extended lengths of time.
Math and statistics skills: Having strong math and statistical analysis skills benefits engineers and mathematicians. It is not uncommon for engineers to use calculus and other advanced mathematics in the development of new processes and products.
Problem-solving skills: From electrical engineering to mechanical engineering, engineers and technicians apply basic concepts and processes to the design and development of new systems and products. Having strong problem-solving skills helps.
Writing skills: Writing skills are a necessary quality for engineers, mathematicians, and science-related roles. Often, these jobs call for technical writing, such as putting together product proposals, creating operation manuals, and preparing work for publication.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for math, science, and engineering professionals varies by occupation and industry. However, the job outlook is mostly favorable for all careers in math, science, and engineering.
In fact, one of the most favorable job outlooks for all occupations is for mathematicians. According to BLS, the overall employment of mathematicians and statisticians is projected to grow 30 percent by 2028. This is a much faster projection than the average for all occupations.
In engineering, the job outlook is stable, with most occupations anticipating an average of four percent job growth. Biomedical engineers should see a four percent job growth, chemical engineers should expect a six percent job growth, and electrical engineers should see a two percent job growth.
For specialized mathematician careers, such as actuaries and other statisticians, a 20 percent employment growth over the next several years is expected.
Math, science, and engineering careers require a strong foundation in the same subject matter. Below are several possible majors for those considering a career in math, engineering, or science.
Aerospace engineering: Aerospace engineering majors take basic engineering courses along with specialized studies. Courses include aerodynamics, flight simulation, and wind flow. Program focus is on the study of construction, design, and operation of aircraft.
Bioengineering or biomedical engineering: Often used interchangeably, bioengineering and biomedical engineering studies the application of engineering in the fields of biology and medicine. Courses include design operations, genomic therapies, and physiology.
Chemical engineering: Chemical engineering programs emphasize the study of chemicals, compounds, and materials. Knowledge of heat transfer, fluid flow, and other chemical processes are focused on within this scientific major.
Civil engineering: With a focus on design and construction of buildings, dams, roadways, and water supply systems, most civil engineering programs are comprehensive in scope. Classes include computer engineering, structural design, and structural mechanics.
Electrical engineering: A degree in electrical engineering requires the completion of courses in both theoretical and applied engineering. From electronics to microcircuits, students take a broad range of classes.
Environmental engineering: This major focuses on the study of technologies that help to conserve resources and limited materials. Courses cover ecology and biology conservation as well as engineering basics.
Industrial engineering: Most industrial engineering programs are interdisciplinary in scope. The focus is on building a strong scientific foundation and covering engineering topics.
Mechanical engineering: From the study of engineering principles to mechanical problems, a major in mechanical engineering prepares graduates for careers in a wide range of engineering industries.
Nuclear engineering: Nuclear engineering programs study the control and use of energy and radiation that is released from nuclear reactions. While few nuclear engineering programs exist, those that do require classes in basic engineering and nuclear engineering.
Software engineering: The first two years of a software engineering program cover the basics like calculus, chemistry, physics, and computer programming. However, the latter half of the program emphasizes courses in software development and advanced engineering principles.
Applied mathematics: A degree in applied mathematics prepares students for careers in computer science, engineering, or science. This major focuses on math equations and proofs, as well as statistics and advanced math skills.
Mathematics: Math majors study the relationship between numbers, patterns, and structures. Classes cover a broad range of math skills including algebra and statistics.
Statistics: The statistics major takes courses that focus on data analysis, research, and statistical analysis. The major prepares students for careers in both industry and government, as well as graduate statistics and math programs.
Topology and foundations: While not as common as the math major, topology and foundations focuses on properties of unaltered geometric configurations under certain conditions.
Actuarial science: While this major emphasizes math and statistics, it is also used to quantify risks in business and economics.
Geology: Students majoring in geology examine the earth and the forces impacting it. Courses cover topics like rock and soil chemistry and the use of minerals in industry.
Marine science: Commonly referred to as marine biology, a major in marine science focuses on life in the oceans. Courses cover topics like biological habitats, marine mammals, and ocean geology.
Oceanography: Oceanography programs study ocean life and the oceanic environment. While related to the marine science major, the emphasis is on the ocean as opposed to marine life.
Physics: A physics major is a science degree that emphasizes how the universe is structured. Classes vary depending on the program, but most cover topics like astronomy, chemistry, and general and advanced physics.
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