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Engineering vs. Business Degrees

by Kate Prudchenko, studioD

Universities offer students a variety of degree options, two of which are engineering and business. Both of these fields are applied in their approach. Engineering programs build on the theoretical aspects of the natural sciences by offering classes in different applications of chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics. Business programs, on the other hand, build on the theoretical aspects of economics and offer applied classes such as business management, administration and finance.


Students interested in studying engineering have the option of pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Most universities offer coursework and programs in engineering through their schools of engineering, which are organized into different departments specializing in specific fields. In particular, students typically have the option of specializing in electrical, computer, chemical, aeronautical and aerospace, biomedical or civil engineering. Graduates of bachelor's degree programs typically pursue entry-level positions in engineering firms, while graduates with a master's or doctorate might pursue managerial positions in engineering firms, or work as independent researchers in engineering firms, laboratories and universities.


Students interested in business have the option of pursuing Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration degrees. These bachelor’s and master’s programs are offered by schools of business and, like the engineering programs, are organized into areas of specialization. Both undergraduate and graduate business students have the option of specializing in specific fields of business such as finance, accounting, management, leadership and entrepreneurship. Graduates of BBA programs typically enter the workforce as entry-level employees in their chosen specialization, while graduates of MBA programs typically pursue careers in management.

Engineering Curriculum

Bachelor's degrees in engineering typically take four years to complete and require 120 credits of coursework. Master's programs take one to two years and require 30 to 45 credits of coursework, and doctorates typically take four to five years and require students to complete an independent research project and a dissertation. While engineering curricula vary across programs and degree levels, many bachelor's degree programs in engineering have similar lower-division course requirements. In particular, most bachelor's degree students in engineering have to take a year of general physics, general chemistry and general biology, three semesters of calculus and a semester of ordinary differential equations. These courses give students a strong foundation in the natural sciences and mathematics, and prepare them for advanced courses in their chosen area of engineering.

Business Curriculum

BBA programs typically require students to complete 120 credits of coursework and take about four years. MBA programs are typically two years in length and require 45 to 60 credits of coursework. Business curricula vary across programs and degree levels and share very few requirements. Unlike graduate engineering programs, MBA programs do not require prospective applicants to major in business at the undergraduate level. In fact, many prospective MBA applicants do not have business experience at the undergraduate level and come from a variety of majors, including English, chemistry, engineering and fine arts.

About the Author

Kate Prudchenko has been a writer and editor for five years, publishing peer-reviewed articles, essays, and book chapters in a variety of publications including Immersive Environments: Future Trends in Education and Contemporary Literary Review India. She has a BA and MS in Mathematics, MA in English/Writing, and is completing a PhD in Education.

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