Engineering vs. Engineering Technology

Prospective students and parents often ask, "What is engineering technology?" The following discussion is a compilation of the work of many individuals and organizations and may help to answer that question.

The Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology (B.S.E.T.) is an applications-oriented program. The B.S.E.T. program provides career-educational opportunities to students whose interests and aptitudes align with applied science and applications of engineering and technology. Coursework in engineering technology programs includes algebra, trigonometry, applied calculus and college level sciences; the level of math is not as in-depth as engineering programs and focuses on applications in the engineering disciplines. Engineering technology provides an educational background that is rich in real-world applications. Emphasis on applying current knowledge and practices to the solution of specific technical problems and standard design problems is a hallmark of engineering technology education at UNC Charlotte.

An engineering technology graduate is an implementer. She/he enjoys a career where the emphasis is on implementing, constructing, producing, installing, maintaining, and operating systems. Graduates of baccalaureate engineering technology programs enter all sectors of industry, government, and business in construction, product design / development, testing, technical operations, or technical services and sales. Graduates often get a 'hands-on' laboratory, testing, operations, construction, or "in-the-field" job. Placement of our graduates is very high; additionally, many B.S.E.T. graduates pursue graduate study in engineering management, construction management, business administration, or other similar programs during their career.

Often, people ask what is the difference between engineering technology and engineering. Both Engineering Technology and Engineering are challenging programs; however, there are significant differences between the two programs. One size does not fit all as some students are attracted to engineering technology while others pursue engineering depending on their academic preparation and career interests. The following table highlights some of those differences.

Engineering Technology

Engineering

An engineering technology (ET) graduate is an implementer.

An engineering graduate is an innovator.

Emphasis of curriculum is on applying current knowledge and practices to the solution of specific technical problems and standard design problems.  Students engage discipline topics early in the freshman and sophomore years.

Emphasis of curriculum is on developing new methods of analysis and solutions for open-ended, complex and unique design problems.  Most discipline study occurs in the junior and senior years.

New graduates would most likely enter industry in construction, product design, development, testing, technical operations, or technical services and sales.

New graduates would most likely aspire to an entry-level position in conceptual design, systems engineering, product research or development.

Graduates are readily accepted into graduate school and often pursue graduate study in Construction & Facilities Management, Fire Protection & Administration, engineering management, business administration, or similar programs.

Graduates are readily accepted to graduate school for advanced study in engineering.

Graduates are eligible for professional registration in most states with wide variation in licensing requirements.

Graduates are eligible for professional registration in all states through examination and documented experience.

More likely to get a 'hands-on' laboratory, testing, construction, or in-the-field job.

More likely to get a research, development, or design job.

Coursework includes algebra, trigonometry, applied calculus and college level sciences; level of math is not as in-depth as engineering programs while focusing on applications of the engineering disciplines in the freshmen and sophomore years of study.  Students planning on subsequent graduate study often take additional mathematics as part of their undergraduate preparation.

Coursework includes multiple semesters of calculus and calculus–based theoretical university level science courses during the first two years followed by engineering science, analysis and design in the junior and senior years.

 Download a one page comparison of Engineering & Engineering Technology