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Engineering vs. Engineering Technology

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


An engineering technology (ET) graduate is an implementer.

An engineering graduate is an innovator.

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

The curriculum's emphasis is on developing new analysis methods 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 the industry in 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 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, 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; the 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 studies 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.