All about the stream: What is Engineering?
Engineering is the stream of science and technology employing scientific and mathematical principles to invent, design, build, and test various structures, processes, machines, and engines.
Engineering comprises a wide variety of disciplines and specialisations, some of which include mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, and computer engineering.
Undergraduate Engineering Degrees Offered
Undergraduate degrees offered for Engineering include the following:
- Bachelor of Technology (B Tech)- 4 years
- Bachelor of Engineering (BE)- 4 years
- Diploma in Engineering- 2-3 years
Each degree comes with a gamut of specialisations in different sectors.
Specialisations in Engineering
Specialisations in Engineering degrees include the following:
- Acoustic/Sound: deals with the technical aspects of sound and vibration in technology. Acoustic/sound engineers focus on sound balancing, adjusting, recording, mixing, and editing. Other specialisations include Sound Recording and Design
- Aeronautical and Aerospace: centres on the design, construction, development and maintenance of aeroplanes and space crafts.
- Other specialisations in the purview of aeronautical and aerospace engineering include-
- Aeronautics | Aerospace Engineering and Applied Mechanics | Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering| Aerospace Propulsion | Aerodynamic Fluid Flow | Guidance, Navigation, and Control | Propulsion and Combustion
- Agriculture and Food: employs scientific principles and infrastructure for the growth and development of the agricultural sector.
- Other specialisations in the purview of agriculture and food engineering include-
- Food Engineering and Technology | Food Process Engineering | Food Processing and Quality Control | Food Technology and Bio-chemical Engineering
- Automobile: Students choosing this specialization will learn to implement technical concepts to design, construct, analyse, and maintain the creation and operation of automotive vehicles.
- Other specialisations in the purview of Automobile engineering include-
- Automobile Engineering (Electric Vehicle) | Automotive Design Engineering | Automotive Engineering | E-Vehicles & Autonomous Vehicles | Electric Vehicles Engineering | Electrical Engineering-Electric Vehicle
- Artificial Intelligence: AI Engineering is a specialisation dealing with the implementation of software engineering, computer science, systems engineering and design, and machine learning techniques to design, develop, and produce artificial intelligence systems and applications.
- Other specialisations in the purview of Artificial Intelligence include-
- Artificial Intelligence and Data Science | Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning | Automation and Artificial Intelligence | Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
- Biotechnology/Biomedical: This stream of engineering combines technological and biological principles for developments in the biomedical sector.
- Other specialisations in the purview of Biotechnology include-
- Bioengineering | Biological Engineering | Biological Sciences and Bio-Engineering | Biotechnology and Bioinformatics | Biomedical Design Engineering | Prosthetics & Orthotics
- Chemical: Chemical engineers apply chemical processes and technologies to raw materials to produce and manufacture commercially useful commodities.
- Other specialisations in the purview of chemical engineering include-
- Refining and Petrochemicals | Chemical Science & Technology | Oils, Oleochemicals and Surfactants Technology | Surface Coating Technology | Materials Science and Engineering | Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering | Polymer and Coating Technology | Polymer Engineering and Technology | Rubber and Plastic Technology | Ceramic Engineering/Technology
- Civil: This is a discipline of engineering responsible for designing, constructing and maintaining infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, railways, and structural components in the public and private sectors.
- Other specializations in the purview of Civil Engineering include-
- Civil and Infrastructure Engineering | Civil Engineering (Construction Engineering & Management) | Civil-Irrigation Water Management
- Computer Science: One of the most sought-after engineering streams, computer science engineering involves the design, creation, implementation, and maintenance of software and hardware information systems.
- Other specialisations in the purview of computer science include-
- Computational Engineering | Computer Science & Communication Engineering | Computer Science & Systems Engineering | Computer Science and Engineering and Business Systems | Computer Science and Engineering (Artificial Learning and Machine Learning) | Computer Science and Engineering (Bioinformatics) | Computer Science and Engineering (Block Chain Technology) | Computer Science and Engineering (Information Security) | Computer Science and Engineering (Internet of Things) | Computer Science and Engineering with Telecom Informatics | Computer Science and Information Technology | Computer Science Engineering (Data Science) | Computer Science Engineering (Big Data) | Computer Science Engineering (Computational Sustainability) | Computer Science Engineering (IT Infrastructure)
- Construction: Construction engineers design, build, manage, and test infrastructural projects in the construction sector.
- Data Science Engineering: employs principles of computer science, statistics, management, and computational mathematics for data collection, storage, and retrieval.
- Other specializations in the purview of Data Science Engineering include-
- Data Science and Cyber Forensics | Data Analytics | Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Hons | Artificial Intelligence and Data Science
- Electronics and Communications (ECE): is the branch of engineering dealing with the research, design, testing, development, and maintenance of electronic components in communication and broadcast systems.
- Other specialisations include Communication Engineering | Electronics and Communication (VLSI Design) | Electronics and Communication with Biomedical Engineering | Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering
- Electrical and Electronics (EEE): is a leading branch of engineering in India dealing with the design, manufacture, and maintenance of electrical systems and electronic devices and inculcates various disciplines like electromagnetism, signal processing, circuit analysis, and machine technology.
- Other specializations in the purview of Electrical and Electronics engineering include-
- Electrical and Computer Engineering| Electrical and Computer Science Engineering | Electrical Engineering (Power and Automation)
- Electronic Science | Electronics and Computer Engineering | Electronics and Computer Engineering (with AI & ML) | Electronics and Control System Engineering | Electronics and Instrumentation | Electronics Instrumentation | Electronic Media | Applied Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering | Medical Electronics Engineering | Power Engineering
- Power Control and Drives | Power Electronics and Drive
- Environmental: The ideal stream for the environmentally conscious, this specialization of engineering employs technical systems and engineering solutions to address environmental issues like soil erosion, acid rain, and melting ice caps for the betterment of the environment.
- Other specialisations in the purview of Environmental Engineering include-
- Sustainable Energy Management | Sustainable Development | Energy Science and Engineering | Renewable Sustainability Engineering | Solar Engineering and Management | Solar and Alternate Energy
- Industrial Engineering and Management: This stream of engineering employs mathematical and physical principles with social sciences to optimize the functioning of complex computational processes and systems and equipment.
- Other specialisations in the purview of Industrial Engineering include-
- Industrial Fish and Fisheries | Industrial Heavy Machinery | Industrial Internet of Things
- Information Technology: IT Engineering employs computational systems and mathematics to design, produce, analyse, and maintain software and hardware components of computer systems.
- Other Specialisations in IT Engineering include-
- Information System Management | CSE DevOps | IT & ITES | Internet of Things | Internet Of Things and Cyber Security including BlockChain Technology | Software Development
- Software Engineering
- Instrumentation and Control (ICE): is the branch of engineering dealing with the design and implementation of operating systems and control centres of various digital processes. Other specialisations include Applied Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering.
- Manufacturing: deals with the innovation, design, execution, and improvement of industrial commodities and commercial processes. This specialisation is also known as Production Engineering.
- Marine: involves the design, construction, and maintenance of mechanical systems of marine and naval vessels. Other specialisations include Ocean Engineering and Naval Architecture.
- Mechanical: this branch of engineering employs mathematical and technical principles to design, develop, create, and analyze power-generating machines and mechanisms.
- Other specialisations in the purview of mechanical engineering include-
- Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering | Mechanical and Automation Engineering | Mechanical Engineering (Digital Manufacturing) | Mechanical Engineering (Automotive) | Mechanical Engineering (Manufacturing) | Mechatronics Engineering
- Metallurgical: deals with the implementation of metallurgical and chemical principles to design, develop, and implement industrial processes to convert source materials to consumable goods.
- Other specialisations include Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering.
- Nuclear: involves the research and application of sub-atomic principles to harness nuclear energy for power production and other uses.
- Other specialisations include Nuclear Medicine Technology.
- Petroleum/Petrochemical: deals with the exploration and production of hydrocarbons to generate energy.
- Other specialisations in the purview of Petroleum and Petrochemical Engineering include-
- Applied Petroleum Engineering Gas stream | Applied Petroleum Engineering Upstream
- Pharmaceutical Engineering and Technology: this engineering specialisation combines chemical, biomedical, industrial, and pharmaceutical sciences for the discovery, formulation, analysis, and production of medical-grade drugs.
- Product Engineering: this engineering stream deals with the design, development, testing, creation, and maintenance of software and hardware products.
- Specialisations in the purview of product engineering include-
- Product and Industrial | Product Design | Production Design | Production Technology
- Robotics: refers to the branch of engineering dealing with the design, analysis, operation, and maintenance of robotic systems.
- Other specialisations in the purview of Robotics Engineering include-
- Robotics and 3D Printing | Robotics and Automation | Automation and Robotics | Embedded Systems & Robotics
- Telecommunications: deals with the design, testing, installation, and development of telecommunication systems such as IP networks, broadcast systems, telephonic communication, and optical fibre cables.
Other specialisations in the purview of Telecommunication Engineering include-
Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering | Information Science and Telecommunication | Computer Science and Engineering with Telecom Informatics
Other specializations include-
- Advanced Materials and Nano Technology
- Advanced Networking and Cyber Security
- Cloud Computing | Cloud Computing and Virtualization Technology | Cloud Technology and Information Security
- Dairy Technology
- Engineering Physics
- Engineering Science
- Mining/Mining Machinery Engineering
- Printing Engineering and Technology
Eligibility and Requirements for Engineering
Students can enrol in engineering colleges after appearing for engineering entrance exams held across the country. The eligibility criteria are as follows-
- Candidates enrolling on engineering entrances and programmes must have passed their 10+2 (or equivalent) examinations from a recognised Indian board with a minimum aggregate of 50% marks.
- Candidates must have opted for the Science stream with English, Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry as compulsory subjects.
Admission Procedure for Engineering Courses
- Candidates applying for engineering courses must qualify for the minimum eligibility to appear for engineering entrance exams. Candidates can apply for the JEE entrance/other examinations by registering in the online portal and submitting the required documents.
- After appearing for the entrance exams, candidates will be shortlisted based on scores, ranks, and merit lists in the JoSAA counselling session for the respective colleges/entrances.
- Shortlisted candidates may finalise their admission at the concerned college by paying the fees and submitting the required documents for verification.
The Join Entrance Exam (JEE) is the centralized engineering entrance exam in India for admission to engineering colleges and courses in India. JEE is conducted by the National Testing Authority (NTA) and consists of two examinations:
- JEE-Main (Paper-1) is the engineering entrance exam conducted for providing admission into B Tech and BE courses in colleges across India.
- JEE-Advanced is the engineering entrance exam conducted for providing admission into engineering programmes at the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in India. Candidates must attain the required cut-off score in JEE-Main to qualify for the JEE-Advanced examination.
The JEE entrance exams are conducted twice each year in two sessions in January and April; candidates may appear for a maximum of two attempts per year. The JEE Main and Advanced syllabi are based on class 11 and 12 PCM and contain topics such as physical, inorganic, and organic chemistry, physics, and mathematics topics including algebra, matrices, trigonometry, calculus, sets, geometry, statistics, and probability.
JEE Mains (Paper-1) is a computer-based test (CBT) with three sections of 30 questions each: Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry. The duration of the entrance is three hours. Candidates will obtain 4 marks for every correct answer with a deduction of 1 mark for each incorrect answer.
Some engineering colleges in India have their respective institute-specific entrance examinations. Important entrances include-
- Birla Institute of Technology and Science Admission Test (BITSAT) for admission to Birla Insitute of Technology and Science (BITS).
- VIT Engineering Entrance Exam (VITEEE) for admission to Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT).
- SRM Joint Engineering Entrance Exam (SRMJEE) for admission to SRM Institute of Science and Technology.
- Manipal Entrance Test (MET) for admission to Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT).
- West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations Board (WBJEEB) for admission to engineering institutions in West Bengal.
- Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology Entrance Examination (KIITEE) for admission to KIT, Odisha.
- State Common Entrance Test Cell, Mumbai (MHCET) for admission to engineering institutions in Mumbai
Top Engineering Colleges in India
The top 50 engineering colleges based on the rankings of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2022 are as follows-
- Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
- Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
- Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
- Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
- Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
- Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
- Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati
- National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli
- Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad
- National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal
- Jadavpur University, Kolkata
- Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore
- Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University) Varanasi
- Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines), Dhanbad
- National Institute of Technology, Rourkela
- Indian Institute of Technology, Indore
- Anna University, Chennai
- Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai
- Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore
- Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi
- National Institute of Technology, Warangal
- Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar
- Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar
- S.R.M. Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai
- Amity University, Gautam Budh Nagar
- Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
- Siksha `O` Anusandhan, Bhubaneswar
- Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala
- Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani
- Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur
- National Institute of Technology, Calicut
- Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur
- Indian Institute of Technology, Patna
- National Institute of Technology, Durgapur
- Delhi Technological University, New Delhi
- Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar
- Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
- National Institute of Technology, Silchar
- Kalasalingam Academy of Research and Education, Srivilliputtur
- Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology Shibpur, Howrah
- Shanmugha Arts Science Technology & Research Academy, Thanjavur
- Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar
- Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram
- Koneru Lakshmaiah Education Foundation University (K L College of Engineering), Vaddeswaram
- Chandigarh University, Mohali
- Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur
- Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology, Prayagraj
- Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar College of Engineering, Kancheepuram
- Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum
- National Institute of Technology Kurukshetra, Kurukshetra
Aptitude for Engineering
Students interested in solving technical problems and inventing new systems may find engineering a suitable career. Students may gauge their aptitude for engineering with the following criteria:
- Proficiency in mathematics and science
- Problem-solving skills
- Mechanical knowledge and reasoning
- Logical and diagrammatic reasoning
- Spatial awareness
- Technical skills and understanding
- Creativity and innovation
Top Engineering Specialisations for the Future
The most popular and lucrative specialisations to opt for are-
- Computer Science Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Electrical and Electronics/Communication Engineering
- Biotechnology Engineering
Engineering programmes in India span over four years and eight semesters. Students are assessed on a percentage/grade-point average (GPA) basis through internal assessments and end-semester written exams.
Internal assessments may vary based on the college and specialization and may include written tests and/or lab and fieldwork.
The minimum percentage to pass a semester generally ranges between 40% and 50% (depending on the college and specialization).
Fees for Engineering Courses
The average fee structure for engineering colleges in India ranges between 5-15 lakhs for a four-year engineering course. The fee structure may vary depending on the college and course/specialization of choice; fees for government colleges range from 5 to 12 lakhs while that for private colleges lies between 3 to 19 lakhs.
Scholarships in Engineering
Fee structures for engineering programmes are often exorbitant and call for financial assistance. Central/state governments, private organisations, and several universities thus offer scholarships, fellowships, and financial aid to help support aspiring engineering students from less-privileged sections of society. Here are some of the popular scholarships offered for engineering programmes in India:
Post Matric Scholarships Scheme for Minorities (Ministry of Minority Affairs)
Swami Vivekananda Merit Cum Means Scholarship for Minorities, West Bengal
Colgate-Palmolive’s Keep India Smiling Foundation Scholarship Programme
Scholarships for Top Class Education for Students with Disabilities (Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities)
Merit Scholarship for SC/ST/OBC/Minority Students, Delhi
Siemens Scholarship Program
Central Sector Scheme of Scholarship for College and University Students (DHE and MHRD)
Book Bank for SC Students, Maharashtra
HDFC Educational Crisis Scholarship
Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme for Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles (Welfare and Rehabilitation Board, Ministry of Home Affairs)
State Merit Scholarship, Kerala
Swami Dayanand Education Foundation Merit-cum-Means Scholarships
Besides the above-mentioned scholarships, certain organizations also offer engineering scholarships for girls to restore the gender imbalance in engineering programmes across the country. Some of these include the Adobe India Women-in-Technology Scholarship, UGAM – Legrand Scholarship Program, Bigyani Kanya Medha Britti Scholarship (JBNSTS) West Bengal, and Dr Reddy’s Foundation Sashakt Scholarship.
Institutional scholarships and fellowships are also offered by universities and colleges across India. IITs, NITs, Jadavpur University Kolkata, Vellore Insitute of Technology, and Institute of Chemical Technology Mumbai are some of the colleges which offer engineering scholarships and financial aid to students.
Internships/Industry Experience in Engineering
Gaining industry experience through internships is a vital and often mandatory requirement for engineering students. Most colleges have Training and Placement (T&P) cells to help students gain industry experience through professional training sessions and internships.
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has implemented a mandatory minimum of three internships or 14-20 credits of internship/entrepreneurial activities/project work/seminar and inter and intra-institutional training to be counted toward BE and B Tech degrees.
Post-graduate Study/Research Opportunities
After completing undergraduate engineering courses like BE/B Tech, students may opt for higher education with masters/Ph.D. degrees. Here are a few postgraduate study and research opportunities in India:
- Masters of Technology (M Tech)
- Master of Engineering (ME)
- Master of Science (MSc)
- Masters in Engineering Management
- Masters of Business Administration (MBA) or Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) in Engineering management
- Postgraduate certificate courses in relevant specializations
- M Phil in Engineering
- PhD (Doctorate) in Engineering
Popular entrance examinations held across India to offer admission into postgraduate engineering courses include the following–
- The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE)
- IIT Delhi M. Tech Entrance Exam
- International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad Postgraduate Entrance Examination (IITH PGEE)
- SRM Joint Engineering Entrance Exam, Postgraduate (SRMJEEE PG)
- Manipal Academy of Higher Education Online Entrance Test (MET M Tech)
- Jawahar Lal Nehru conducts Jawaharlal Nehru University Common Entrance Exam M.tech (JNU CEE M.tech)
- Post Graduation Common Entrance Tests (PGCET) for respective Indian states
Study Abroad Opportunities in Engineering
Several foreign engineering and technology institutions offer excellent engineering and technical programmes. Here are some of the best global engineering institutions for students wishing to pursue an engineering degree abroad:
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- National University of Singapore
- Nanyang Technological University
- Stanford University
- University of California--Berkeley
- Imperial College, London.
- Tsinghua University, China
- University of Cambridge, UK
- University of Oxford, UK
- ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland
Career prospects/Placements in Engineering
Acquiring an engineering degree opens several avenues and career prospects in both public and private sectors. Engineering students are offered placement opportunities by their college’s Training And Placement (T&P) cells from their final/penultimate year. Top engineering companies recruiting from leading engineering institutions in India include:
- Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL)
- Engineers India Ltd.
- Larsen & Toubro Limited
- Cummins India Ltd.
- Tata Consultancy (TCS)
- Reliance Industries
- Indian Oil Corporation
Some of the leading international companies offering placements in Indian engineering institutes include:
- Morgan Stanley
- Goldman Sachs
After completing their engineering degrees, students may choose from a wide array of career prospects depending on their specializations. Some of the popular and lucrative career prospects in engineering include:
- Computer Scientist/Engineer
- Data Scientist
- Mechanical Engineer
- Civil Engineer
- Electrical Engineer
- Software Developer
- Aerospace Engineer
Starting Salaries in Engineering
The average starting salaries for engineering graduates range between 4 to 6 lakhs per annum.
Computer Science Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Electronics & Communication Engineering are the specializations which have reported the highest starting salaries in India.
Subjects Similar to Engineering
Engineering constitutes a wide scope of the science and technology sector. Students who are interested in engineering may also find an affinity for similar subjects such as-
- Data science
- Artificial Intelligence
- Machine designing
- Software designing
- Physical sciences
- Materials Management
Which is the best college in India for engineering?
IIT Madras is ranked as the best engineering college in India by NIRF 2022. Leading IITs and NITs have been the widely pursued government colleges for engineering degrees, while private colleges such as the Birla Institutes of Technology and Science have been in-demand as well.
Which are the most in-demand engineering degrees and specializations?
Computer Science, Electronics, and Mechanical Engineering are the most in-demand engineering degrees in India, as indicated by the high cutoffs for these specializations in engineering entrance exams.
What does a professional engineer do?
Professional engineers are tasked with inventing, building, testing, and maintaining a wide variety of systems and machines using their technical acumen and innovative skills. The work responsibilities of engineers vary according to their specific specialization; for instance, mechanical engineers create and design power-producing machines while computer science engineers build computer-based hardware and software systems and applications by coding.
How is BE different from a B Tech degree?
A Bachelor of Engineering (BE) comprises a more comprehensive knowledge-based curriculum with an emphasis on strengthening a student’s theoretical understanding of the subject. On the other hand, a Bachelor of Technology (B Tech) comprises a more application-based education of concepts to enhance the skill-based knowledge of students. B Tech consists of a more technology-based curriculum with a practical approach to concepts.
Can the engineering specialization be changed between the degree?
Students must pursue the specialization they have selected/been allotted based on the respective university’s counselling session for the first year. However, students have the option of switching to another specialization from the second year conditional to scoring the minimum CGPA required for that branch.
What is a non-zero positive score in the JEE entrance exam?
A non-zero positive score is obtained when a candidate obtains zero or negative marks in the JEE examinations. The Department of Technical Education (DTE), Maharashtra instituted the “non-zero” policy, according to which students who obtained a non-zero positive score could still be eligible for admission into engineering courses, conditional on obtaining a minimum aggregate of 50% marks in PCM in their 10+2 examinations.