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Interdisciplinary Studies

Although engineering curricula are structured programs, it is possible to pursue a secondary field of interest through the judicious selection of electives. If added flexibility is needed to pursue specific goals, students may petition the advisor and department head for the substitution of required courses. Some of the more popular secondary areas are:


Bioengineering is a broad field overlapping the life sciences and many engineering disciplines. Some of the subareas are biomechanics, ergonomics, bioinstrumentation, biomaterials, bioenergetics, bioinformatics, water and waste treatment, food engineering, and environmental engineering.

Business administration

Increasing numbers of engineers are assuming managerial positions in all phases of industrial operations. Students with goals in management should contact the College of Engineering assistant dean of student services.

Energy systems engineering

The increasing demand for energy is one of the major problems confronting all nations. New energy sources are needed in addition to more effective use of present resources. Interested students should select courses from the following areas: thermodynamics, energy conversion, nuclear reactor technology, electric energy systems, and engineering economics.


Many recent advances in medical research techniques, patient monitoring systems, artificial limbs and organs, and aerospace and undersea medicine have developed from the partnership of medicine and engineering. Engineering students wishing to satisfy entrance requirements to a typical school of medicine should contact the pre-medical advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences prior to their sophomore year.


A graduate degree in law can be desirable for engineers wishing to pursue careers in industrial management or patent law. While there are no specific courses required for entry to law school, the pre-law advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences should be consulted prior to the sophomore year.

Computer science

Computers are powerful tools for the solution of complex engineering and/or management problems. Individuals with training in both engineering and computer science possess the background to attack problems over a broad range of areas.

Mathematics, physics, and chemistry

Engineering students with interests in research should plan on graduate study. Preparation at the undergraduate (BS) level could be enhanced by additional courses in mathematics and the basic sciences. Graduate faculty in the student's major should be consulted about electives for a graduate degree preparation.

Food engineering

Engineers are needed in the food industry for process development and design, equipment design, and management of operations. Students should select technical electives to augment a background in chemistry, microbiology, agricultural and food sciences, and process engineering.

Natural resources/ environmental sciences secondary major

Increasing national and international concerns have generated opportunities for individuals to contribute to the resolution of environmental and resource problems. These issues are so complex that they lie beyond the scope of any one discipline.

The secondary major prepares students to apply broadly-based knowledge to the use, management, sustainability, and quality of soil, air, water, mineral, biological, and energy resources. See the Secondary Majors section of this catalog.

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