Free Online Lectures and Courses for Engineering

Much of what we use in our everyday lives wouldn't exist without the work of engineers. From the cars we drive to the food we eat, engineers play a role in developing the most-critical and world-changing machines, processes, and materials. These professional thinkers and innovators design everything around us and solve problems to shape the modern world we know and appreciate today.

While the specific tasks of an engineer vary by specialization, generally speaking, engineers use science and mathematics to design, build, and maintain things that serve practical purposes. This can include everything from designing a faster bullet train to developing nanoparticles in order to make chemical processes more efficient. Engineers work within an incredibly diverse range of fields and must be keen problem solvers, designers, and independent thinkers, able to not only define a problem but also provide a simple and cost-effective solution. Students can preview this exciting field through an array of online engineering courses from top-tier universities.

Sample Courses

During the course of an engineering program, students can expect to take essential courses in chemistry, physics, biology, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. However, the bulk of courses students take while pursuing an engineering degree will be in a specialization. These can range from courses covering the basics of the profession, to high-level classes focused on one particular aspect of the field. For example, in a chemical engineering program, students can expect to take course like Equilibrium Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Kinetics and Reactor Design, Biochemical Engineering, and Separation Processes. Similarly specialized courses exist for all of the subfields of engineering and will be the heart of most engineering degree programs.

Possible Specializations

When choosing a specialization, students have a lot of options within the broad field of engineering. Students can pursue degrees in aerospace or civil engineering, which allow them to design modern marvels like aircraft, skyscrapers, rockets, and suspension bridges. Those with an interest in the smaller-scale can consider chemical engineering, which focuses on devising new ways to use chemicals in food additives, fuel, and life-saving drugs. There are even options for those who want to save the world. With a specialization in environmental engineering, professionals develop solutions to serious environmental problems like water pollution, public health, and solid waste disposal.

These are only a few of the numerous specializations available to students in engineering programs, with additional opportunities in fields like agriculture, biomedical science, computers, mechanics, mining, and even petroleum extraction.

Degree Types

No matter the specialization, degrees in engineering are available at nearly all levels. Each will offer preparation for a certain set of careers and professional achievement. If you're not sure where to begin, here's some basic information about what each degree level offers.

Associate: Those looking for an introduction to engineering will be well-served by an associate degree. This will cover both basic principles and specialized information in fields like aerospace, civil, and electrical engineering. While many "hands-on" jobs are available for those with this degree level, working as inspectors or in advanced manufacturing, associate degrees can serve as a stepping stone to becoming a fully-fledged engineer with a higher level degree.

Bachelor's: A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for most engineering careers and is enough to get graduates licensed and ready to work. These programs put students through a rigorous series of courses focused on the fundamentals and a particular specialization. Engineering is hands-down considered one of the most challenging undergraduate majors and usually takes four to five years to complete.

Master's: Getting a master's degree in engineering can be a great way to advance a career, move into management, or just keep up with recent innovations. To earn a master's, students will need to complete a series of focused courses as well as developing a lengthy paper, project, or practical application that demonstrates their knowledge. A master's degree is not at all uncommon for engineers, but is usually earned after some years of spent working in the field.

Ph.D.: Those who want to go into teaching or academic research will need a Ph.D. to even be considered for most positions. Additionally, in some subfields of engineering, like biomedical engineering, for example, a Ph.D. can be a requirement for research positions. Because of the esteem afforded to this level, students must complete a rigorous series of coursework and innovative research.

Usually offered through professional organizations and governing bodies, engineers can also take advantage of several certification programs. These programs offer a chance to prove a high level of skill in particular areas. These programs can be costly and time consuming to complete, but are highly regarded by employers, which makes them a great way to gain a distinct career advantage.

Ideal Candidates for Engineering

At any level of training, there are several qualities engineers share. Two of the most important skills, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), are strong analytical and critical thinking, which are required to help identify issues that need to be solved, fine-tune designs, and make sure products meet all the necessary requirements to serve the needs of clients and consumers.

While engineers must work well independently, most will work in teams. This means students need to build strong teamwork skills. Sometimes other teammates will not be engineers, so decent written and oral communication skills are a must for explaining the design process to anyone unfamiliar with technical terms. The ability to receive and use feedback from others is also invaluable in a real-world setting.

Career Pathways

These days, many students have serious concerns about their job prospects after graduation. For those in engineering, certain specializations will offer better potential for new jobs than others. The best bet, according to BLS data, is biomedical engineering, which is expected to see a whopping 62% job growth over the next decade, though environmental and civil engineering should also see very strong gains. Fields with little or no change in the number of jobs are electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, and chemical engineering.

Even in areas with slower growth, people with engineering degrees enjoy a very low unemployment rate, just 2% in mid-2011. Even better, the majority of these positions pay salaries far above the average, especially for those with graduate degrees. The average salary for mechanical engineers is $78,160, with even those on the low end of the spectrum bringing in as much as $50,550. In some fields, salaries are even higher, with chemical engineers averaging $90,300 and aerospace engineers $97,480.

If you think engineering is right for you, reach out to experts, professionals, and fellow students to learn more about the field and how to best prepare yourself. There are many resources out there – professional organizations, student groups, even colleges and universities themselves. Each can help you learn more about what it takes to be an engineer and get you on the path to making your career aspirations a reality.

Related Subjects

81 Courses

1 2 3 9

Get More Out of Your Online Engineering Courses

Engineering Journals & Trade Magazines

  • Journals

    • Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science

      Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science is an online, free access, international journal promoting research and reviews.

    • Advances in Mechanical Engineering

      In this peer-reviewed, open access journal, readers can view original research and review articles in many areas of mechanical engineering.

    • BioMedical Engineering OnLine

      Readers of this open-access journal can browse authors, check reviews, and access articles about topics of biomedical engineering.

    • Circuits and Systems

      This open-access journal provides articles on a number of topics related to circuits and systems in electrical engineering.

    • ETRI Journal

      With an international editorial committee and expert reviewers from around the world, ETRI Journal publishes high-quality results on the latest and best developments from the global community.

    • International Journal of Chemical Engineering

      International Journal of Chemical Engineering is a peer-reviewed, open access journal that publishes original research articles as well as review articles in all areas of chemical engineering.

    • Journal of Automation, Mobile Robotics & Intelligent Systems

      This quarterly journal focuses on achievements in automation and robotics, applied automatics, distributed systems, biomechatronics, and more.

    • Journal of Biomedical Engineering & Biomedical Science

      This journal seeks to publish the most exciting research with respect to bioengineering and biomedical science, up-to-the-minute and free of charge.

    • The Open Biomedical Engineering Journal

      An open access online journal which publishes original research articles, reviews, letters and guest edited single topic issues in all areas of biomedical engineering.

    • The Open Chemical Engineering Journal

      Bentham Open publishes this open access journal featuring research articles, reviews, letters and guest edited single topic issues in all areas of chemical engineering.

    • The Open Electrical & Electronic Engineering Journal

      From Bentham Open, an online journal, which publishes research articles, reviews, and letters in all areas of electrical and electronic engineering.

    • The Open Journal of Mechanical Engineering

      From Bentham Open, an open access online journal, which publishes research articles, reviews, letters and guest edited single topic issues, in all areas of mechanical engineering.

Engineering Grants & Scholarships

  • Scholarships

    • ASCO Numatics Industrial Automation Engineering College Scholarship

      Deadline: May

      Award Amount: $5,000

      This merit-based scholarship is awarded to students based on their contributions and potential leadership in the field of engineering.

    • ASME Scholarships

      Deadline: March 1

      Award Amount: $2,000 - $13,000

      The American Society of Mechanical Engineers sponsors several undergraduate and graduate scholarships to eligible ASME student members.

    • Engineering Technology Scholarship

      Deadline: May 1

      Award Amount: $3,000

      ASHRAE awards three undergraduate engineering technology students enrolled full-time in a post-secondary educational institution.

    • Gates Millenium Scholars

      Deadline: varies

      Award Amount: varies

      Awarding 1000 scholarships each year, this foundation offers a broad range of scholarships including healthcare administration and management.

    • GEM Fellowship Program

      Deadline: November 15

      Award Amount: $16,000

      The National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science sponsor several fellowships for eligible graduate students.

    • Lynn G. Bellenger Engineering Technology Scholarship

      Deadline: May 1

      Award Amount: $3,000

      ASHRAE sponsors this scholarship made available to a female undergraduate student studying engineering technology.

    • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Scholarships

      Deadline: May 1

      Award Amount: $1,000 - $3,000

      Eligible undergraduate and graduate engineering students may apply for these general scholarships offered by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

    • SWE Scholarships

      Deadline: varies

      Award Amount: varies

      Database of scholarship sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers, intended for women studying engineering and computer science.

    • UNCF/Merck Undergraduate Science Research Scholarship

      Deadline: December

      Award Amount: Up to $30,000

      In partnership with the United Negro College Fund, Merck awards up to 15 African American college juniors studying science or engineering.

    • William E. Weisel Scholarship Award

      Deadline: February 1

      Award Amount: $1,000

      Students pursuing robotics or automated systems in their engineering degree may be eligible for this scholarship through the SME Education Foundation.

Engineering Internships

Engineering Student & Professional Organizations

  • Student Organizations

    • Alpha Epsilon

      Active members of Alpha Epsilon are students in upper-level engineering classes who meet the standards of membership for this honor society.

    • Alpha Pi Mu

      Active members of Aplha Pi Mu are selected from juniors and seniors in an industrial engineering degree program.

    • Pi Tau Sigma

      Pi Tau Sigma selects its active members from a pool of juniors and seniors in mechanical engineering classes who show potential for future success.

    • Student Chapter of the National Society of Professional Engineers

      The NSPE supports engineering students by providing resources and support as they complete their education and start careers.

    • Tau Beta Pi

      Tau Beta Pi, the only honor society encompassing the spectrum of engineering, selects members with "distinguished scholarship and exemplary character."

  • Professional Organizations