students in library

Undergraduate Majors and Minors

As one of the leading engineering schools in the world, the College of Engineering attracts the best and brightest students from across the state, the nation and the world.

At Illinois, you can choose from among 15 top-ranked degree programs in 12 engineering departments. Several minors and dual-degree programs offer even more opportunities to explore your interests.

Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace engineers are involved in all phases of research, development, integration, and production of aerospace systems and have chief responsibility for the design and performance of air and spacecrafts and their propulsion systems. Our graduates work in such fields as:

  • Aerospace
  • Engines
  • Defense and Security
  • Automotive
  • Government
  • Manufacturing

Average Starting Salary (Bachelor’s Degree) – $65,000

Sample Employers

  • The Boeing Company
  • Lockheed Martin
  • GE Aviation
  • Raytheon Missile Systems
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Hamilton Sudstrand
  • NASA

Sample Courses

  • AE 321: Mechanics of Aerospace Structures
  • AE 352: Aerospace Dynamical Systems
  • AE 353: Aerospace Control Systems
  • AE 433: Aerospace Propulsion
  • AE 483: Aerospace Decision Algorithms


Visit the Illinois Aerospace website

Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Agricultural and biological engineers apply scientific and engineering principles to production systems involving agriculture, food, environment, and energy; natural resources; environmental protection and control for plants, animals, and humans; and related biological systems. They develop technologies and apply management strategies to increase agricultural productivity, generate renewable energy, and provide a sustainable environment.

Average Starting Salary (Bachelor’s Degree) – $61,000

Sample Careers

  • Agricultural safety and technology
  • Food science and engineering
  • Bioprocess modeling
  • Environmental controls (air quality and waste management)
  • Biofuels and engines
  • Hydrology, drainage, and irrigation
  • Crop conditioning and processing
  • Alternatirive energy systems
  • Government
  • Project management

Sample Courses

  • ABE 224: ABE Principles–Soil & Water
  • ABE 226: ABE Principles–Bioprocessing
  • ABE 430: Project Management
  • ABE 446: Biological Nanoengineering
  • ABE 483: Engineering Properties of Food Materials


Visit the ABE website


Bioengineers use tools from biology, chemistry, physics, and math to solve engineering problems that arise in biological systems related to biomaterials, biomechanics, and prosthetics; cell and tissue engineering; molecular modeling; biomedical imaging and sensing; bioinformatics; nanomedicine; synthetic biology; and drug delivery.

The goal of research and education in bioengineering is to advance fundamental understanding of how human biological systems function and to develop effective technology-based solutions to the wide spectrum of societal needs in human development and disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Average Starting Salary (Bachelor’s Degree) – $52,000

Sample Careers

  • Medicine (M.D., M.D./Ph.D., disease diagnostic tools development, drug delivery tools, equipment/product development)
  • Research
  • Forensics
  • Genomics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Consulting
  • Pharmaceuticals

Sample Courses

  • BIOE 201:  Conservation Principles
  • BIOE 205:  Circuits and Systems
  • BIOE 302:  Modeling Human Physiology
  • BIOE 414:  Biomedical Instrumentation
  • BIOE 435 & 436:  Senior Design I and II


Visit the Bioengineering website

Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Chemical engineers study and practice the transformation of substances at large scales for the tangible improvement of the human condition. Such transformations are executed to produce other useful substances or energy and lie at the heart of vast segments of the chemical, petroleum, pharmaceutical, and electronic industries.

Biomolecular engineering is a subset of chemical engineering focusing on biological applications. Our graduates work in such fields as food sciences, medicine, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, chemicals, energy, semiconductor processing, personal care, fibers and materials, and research and development. 

Average Starting Salary (Bachelor’s Degree) – $69,000

Sample Careers & Companies

  • Process Engineer (Dow Corning, Procter & Gamble)
  • Reservoir Engineer (ExxonMobil)
  • Rotational Chemical Engineer (Stepan Company)
  • Production Assistant (ADM)
  • Operations Development Program Engineer (SABIC)
  • Staff Engineer (Eli Lilly & Company)
  • Semiconductor Fabrication Engineer (Texas Instruments)

Sample Courses

  • ChBE 221: Principles of Chemical Engineering
  • ChBE 321: Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
  • ChBE 421: Momentum and Heat Transfer
  • ChBE 422: Mass Transfer Operations
  • ChBE 424: Chemical Reaction Engineering


Visit the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering website

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil and environmental engineers are responsible for the design and construction of the nation’s civil and marine infrastructure (buildings, bridges, and offshore structures; highway systems, airports, and energy transport systems; dams, locks, levees, and canals; all water treatment and distribution systems; and all aspects of environmental management and pollution prevention and remediation). Because civil and environmental engineers receive a broad education, they frequently find successful employment outside of engineering in business, law, and research fields.

Our graduates work in such areas as construction, project management, pollution and ecology, water quality and treatment, hydrology, biohazards, contamination, underground dynamics, waste containment, railroads, transportation, urban planning and management, highway and traffic engineering, structure behavior, analysis, and design.

Average Starting Salary (Bachelor’s Degree) – $58,000

Sample Careers

  • Structural engineers (tall buildings and bridges)
  • Geotechnical engineers (foundations and tunnels)
  • Environmental engineers (water treatment plants)
  • Transportation engineers (highways and railroads)
  • Construction materials experts (strong, durable, and sustainable building materials)
  • Hydrosystem engineers (waterways, locks and dams, and levies)
  • Construction managers (convert civil engineering design into reality by controlling labor, equipment, materials, time, money, quality and safety)  

Sample Courses

  • CEE 449: Environmental Engineering Lab
  • CEE 415: Geometric Design of Roads
  • CEE 401: Concrete Materials
  • CEE 453: Urban Hydrology and Hydraulics
  • CEE 421: Construction Planning

Elena, a civil engineering student

Visit the Civil and Environmental Engineering website

Computer Engineering

About Us

Computer Engineers design, implement, program, verify and analyze computing systems. They work in all segments of the broad and thriving computer industry, as software engineers, programmers, computer system architects, microprocessor/hardware designers, among many other specialties. By understanding a computer system from top to bottom – from application software to operating systems to hardware and circuits – computer engineers are well prepared to create the wide array of computing systems and devices that we all use and depend upon everyday.

CompE graduates work in every sector of the economy by:

  • Designing mobile phone operating systems, applications, and hardware
  • Designing scalable cloud service architectures, operating systems, and performance tools
  • Developing game engines and massively parallel graphical libraries and hardware
  • Creating massively parallel computing hardware, operating system, and libraries for scientific discoveries
  • Creating advanced embedded real time systems for all engineering sectors of the industry
  • Developing computing hardware and software systems for all modalities of medical imaging

Our program provides a strong foundation coupled with advanced coursework in the area(s) of each student's choosing.

Average Starting Salary (Bachelor’s Degree) – $77,363

Sample Careers & Companies

  • Software Architect (Google – working on challenging large-scale distributed applications)
  • GPU architect (NVIDIA – working on energy efficient, high-performance graphics processors)
  • Partner (Hanley, Flight & Zimmerman, LLC – Intellectual Property Law)
  • Software Developer (Microsoft – working on Windows operating system)
  • Microprocessor Architect (Intel – working on server microprocessors for cloud services)
  • Research Staff Member (IBM, working on revolutionary DRAM architecture for future processors)
  • Co-founder (Personify – working on advanced video tele-presence technology and applications)
  • Senior Software Engineer (Apple – working on dynamic compilers for iOS applications)
  • Professor (University of Michigan – conducting world class research and teaching activities)

Sample Courses

  • ECE 120: Introduction to Computing
  • ECE 220: Computer Systems & Programming
  • ECE 391: Computer Systems Engineering
  • ECE 310: Digital Signal Processing
  • ECE 385 Digital Systems Laboratory
  • ECE 408: Applied Parallel Programming
  • ECE 411: Computer Organization and Design
  • ECE 422: Computer Security
  • ECE 425 Introduction to VLSI Design
  • ECE 428: Distributed Systems
  • ECE 438: Computer Networks
  • ECE 462 Logic Design

Jeff - computer engineering student

Visit the ECE website

Computer Science

Computer scientists design, implement and analyze computing systems, with an emphasis on software systems.

CS graduates work in every sector of the economy by:

  • Developing gene sequencing algorithms via techniques in computational biology
  • Designing user interfaces for mobile applications
  • Designing methods for high frequency trading
  • Creating computer generated graphics and special effects in the gaming industry
  • Creating embedded real time systems to be deployed in medical devices
  • Analyzing social data from internet communication patterns 

Our program provides a strong foundation coupled with advanced coursework in the area(s) of each student's choosing.

Average Starting Salary (Bachelor’s Degree) – $70,000

Sample Careers & Companies

  • Software Development Engineer (Amazon – work on challenging large-scale distributed problems)
  • Product Management (Google – conceive, design, and launch innovative products)
  • Studio Tools Developer (Pixar – create and maintain software tools for animation and computer effects used in the motion picture industry)
  • Consultant (Cerner Corporation – work with hospitals and clinics to evaluate health care technology needs and recommend solutions)
  • Software Engineer / Advertising Analyst (Yahoo! – design applications for deployment in the on-line marketplace)
  • Quantitative Researcher (Jump Trading – apply data-mining and forecasting techniques to build models of market behavior Cloud Database)
  • Engineer (Netflix –test and analyze performance of one of the largest distributed databases in existence) 

Sample Courses

  • CS 412: Introduction to Data Mining
  • CS 418: Interactive Computer Graphics
  • CS 440: Artificial Intelligence
  • CS 461: Computer Security I
  • CS 465: Human Computer Interaction

John - Computer Science student

Visit the Computer Science website

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers design, construct, and maintain products, services, and systems and perform research to create new ideas in areas such as energy and power, circuits and electronics, optics, remote sensing, electromagnetics, communications, signal processing and control, and networking and computing systems. Electrical engineering is a rapidly evolving discipline based on the application of math, physics, and computation to address the needs of our networked information-age society.

Our graduates work in such areas as:

  • Communications and wireless networks
  • Electromagnetics, optics, remote sensing
  • Signal, image, and speech processing
  • Robotics and control systems
  • Semiconductor materials and integrated circuits
  • Nanotechnology and quantum devices
  • Lasers, biomedical sensing and probing, acoustics
  • Operating systems and software engineering
  • Networking and information security

Average Starting Salary (Bachelor’s Degree) – $71,238

Sample Careers >& Companies

  • Project Engineer (Digital Energy, GE Energy)
  • System Verification Engineer (Bio-Rad Laboratories)
  • Design Engineer (Microsoft)
  • Incubation Sourcing Manager (Microsoft)
  • Flow Meter Marketing (Smart Grid, Texas Instruments)
  • Systems Engineer (Bombardier Transportation)
  • Technology Analyst (Goldman Sachs)

Sample Courses

  • ECE 110: Introduction to ECE
  • ECE 120: Introduction to Computing
  • ECE 210: Analog Signal Processing
  • ECE 310: Digital Signal Processing
  • ECE 313: Probability with Engineering Applications
  • ECE 329: Fields and Waves I
  • ECE 330: Power Circuits and Electromechanics
  • ECE 333: Green Electric Energy
  • ECE 340: Semiconductor Electronics
  • ECE 342: Electronic Circuits
  • ECE 391: Computer Systems Engineering

Johnny - Electrical Engineering student

Visit the ECE website

Engineering Physics

Physicists study, measure, and manipulate the fundamental interactions of matter, energy, space, and time to solve scientific mysteries and reveal the workings of nature. Physics has produced the science behind many of today’s technologies, including:

  • Superconducting magnets for MRI machines
  • Cell phones
  • Supermarket scanners
  • Particle accelerators
  • Lasers for CD players
  • Fiber optic communications

Physicists expand our understanding of the universe—from the cosmos to the nanoscale, from metals to biomolecules.

Average Starting Salary (Bachelor’s Degree) – Not enough responses from physics grads to calculate

Sample Careers

  • Nuclear medicine
  • Complex systems modeling
  • Laser technology
  • Astronomy
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric sciences
  • Particle accelerator technology

Sample Courses

  • PHYS 212: Electricity and Magnetism
  • PHYS 213: Thermal Physics
  • PHYS 325: Mechanics and Relativity
  • PHYS 435: Electromagnetic Fields
  • PHYS 486: Quantum Physics

Aaron - Engineering Physics student

Visit the Physics website for more information.

General Engineering

The General Engineering program is a specialization within Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering at Illinois. A degree in General Engineering provides a broad and solid foundation in math, science, and engineering fundamentals. With this foundation, students in General Engineering can concentrate their studies on pre-approved options such as Automotive Engineering, Control Systems, and Robotics or individualized options such as pre-med, mathematics, and renewable energy.  The General Engineering degree compares to a systems engineering program at other universities.

A common misconception is that general engineering is the undecided option for students who have not yet chosen an engineering major. In contrast, it is a very specific major with the full academic rigor of all engineering majors.

A unique feature of the General Engineering program is that it integrates principles of business throughout the curriculum.  General Engineers from Illinois are positioned to pursue a wide variety of graduate programs, practice engineering, or take on other professions such as consulting, management, and administration. 

Our graduates often serve as a link between engineering and management and work in such fields as:

  • Automotive, controls systems, and manufacturing
  • Communication and computer systems
  • Engineering administration
  • Operations and quality control
  • Business systems integration and consulting
  • Construction
  • Marketing and product testing
  • Robotics

Average Starting Salary (Bachelor’s Degree) – $62,400

Sample Careers

  • Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing (CAD/CAM)
  • Engineering Administration
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Engineering Consulting
  • Robotics
  • Law Consultant (Patent, Intellectual Property, Product Liability)
  • Systems Engineer
  • Plant Manager
  • Quality Control Specialist

Sample Courses

  • GE 101: Engineering Graphics and Design
  • GE 161: Business Side of Engineering
  • GE 320: Introductory Control Systems
  • GE 424: State Space Design for Control
  • GE 494/495: Senior Engineering Project I/II

Evan - General Engineering student

Visit the Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering website

Industrial Engineering

The Industrial Engineering program is a specialization within Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering at Illinois. Industrial Enterprise engineers work to solve problems through the integration of engineering and business principles.

They are often technical people who are leaders and can manage budgets and projects. Industrial systems engineers work to improve performance and productivity, using optimization approaches and solving problems through a systems approach.

Our graduates often serve as a link between engineering and management and work in such fields as:

  • Automotive, controls systems, and manufacturing
  • Communication and computer systems
  • Engineering administration
  • Operations and quality control
  • Business systems integration and consulting
  • Construction
  • Marketing and product testing
  • Robotics

Average Starting Salary (Bachelor’s Degree) – $63,300

Sample Careers

  • Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing (CAD/CAM)
  • Engineering Administration
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Engineering Consulting
  • Robotics
  • Law Consultant (Patent, Intellectual Property, Product Liability)
  • Systems Engineer
  • Plant Manager
  • Quality Control Specialist

Sample Courses

  • IE 300: Analysis of Data
  • IE 310: Operations Research
  • IE 413: Simulation
  • IE: 430 Economic Foundation of Quality Systems
  • GE 494/495: Senior Engineering Project I/II

Even - Industrial Engineering student

Visit the Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering website

Materials Science and Engineering

Materials Science and Engineering (MatSE) is an interdisciplinary field of study that involves taking courses in chemistry, physics, and engineering to build a fundamental understanding of materials. Advanced materials are instrumental in major industries such as aerospace, automotive, biomedical, chemical, electronics, energy, and telecommunications.

While learning about the broad spectrum of materials, MatSE students have the opportunity to specialize in one area – metals, ceramics, electronic materials, polymers, or biomaterials.

Average Starting Salary (Bachelor’s Degree) – $61,000

Sample Careers

  • Materials Engineer (Lyondell Chemical)
  • Manufacturing Engineer (Federal Mogul)
  • Materials Research Engineer (Naval Research Laboratory)
  • Packaging Engineer (Kraft Foods)
  • Process Engineer (Intel)
  • Quality Engineer (ExxonMobil)
  • Scientist (The Clorox Company)

Sample Courses

  • MSE 201: Phases and Phase Relations
  • MSE 307: Materials Laboratory
  • MSE 401: Thermodynamics of Materials
  • MSE 402: Kinetic Processes in Materials
  • MSE 406: Thermal and Mechanical Behavior of Materials

Jaime - Materials Science and Engineering student

Visit the Materials Science and Engineering website

Mechanical Engineering/Engineering Mechanics

Mechanical Engineering

Among the most diverse of the engineering fields, mechanical engineering applies mathematical, scientific, and engineering principles to study forces acting on bodies of solid or fluid material, and the resulting dynamic motion of those bodies. These principles are used to design and control machines and systems that create motion, apply loads, transport matter and energy, and convert one form of energy to another.

Mechanical engineering graduates work in such fields as:

  • Manufacturing, energy and transportation
  • Aerospace
  • Defense and security
  • Computer software and electronics
  • Automotive
  • Environment
  • Health and biological engineering
  • Research and development

Engineering Mechanics

Mechanics is the study of forces that act on bodies and the resultant motion that those bodies experience. With roots in physics and mathematics, Engineering Mechanics is the basis of all the mechanical sciences: civil engineering, materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, and aeronautical and aerospace engineering.

Engineering Mechanics provides the “building blocks” of statics, dynamics, strength of materials, and fluid dynamics, and is the discipline devoted to the solution of mechanics problems through the integrated application of mathematical, scientific, and engineering principles. Special emphasis is placed on the physical principles underlying modern engineering design.

Engineering Mechanics students are prepared for careers at the forefront of a wide variety of fields, including:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Software
  • Electronics
  • Manufacturing
  • Computers 

Average Starting Salary (Bachelor’s Degree) – $64,000

Sample Careers

  • Plant Engineer
  • Equipment Operations Engineer
  • Project Engineer
  • Technical Advisor
  • Telematics Systems Engineer
  • Mining Engineer
  • Machine Tooling Engineer & Designer

Sample Mechanical Engineering Courses

  • ME 170: Computer-Aided Design
  • ME 350: Design for Manufacturability
  • ME 403: Internal Combustion Engines
  • ME 445: Introduction to Robotics
  • ME 483: Mechanobiology

Sample Engineering Mechanics Courses

  • TAM 252: Solid Mechanics Design
  • TAM 335: Introductory Fluid Mechanics
  • TAM 438: Viscous Flow and Heat Transfer
  • TAM 461: Cellular Biomechanics
  • TAM 518: Wave Motion

Valeria - Mechanical Engineering student

Visit the Mechanical Engineering website

Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering (NPRE)

Nuclear, plasma, and radiological engineers research and develop processes, instruments and systems that derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation. Our graduates work in such fields as:

  • Power plant design, supervision operations, and safety
  • Microelectronics
  • Materials performance and processing
  • Energy policy and security
  • Health physics
  • Medical diagnostics and therapy
  • Waste management
  • Fusion energy
  • Government and state regulatory organizations
  • Controls and control systems
  • Nuclear and medical instrumentation

Average Starting Salary (Bachelor’s Degree) – $61,000

Sample Careers & Companies

  • Nuclear Utilities (Duke Energy, Exelon, Energy Northwest, Entergy, First Energy)
  • Nuclear Suppliers & Consultants (Enercon, Sargent & Lundy, Nexus Engineering)
  • Design Firms (General Electric, Westinghouse)
  • Nuclear Research & Development Firms (Bechtel Bettis, Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, Department of Energy Laboratories)
  • Nuclear Regulatory Agencies (United States Nuclear Regulatory Agency)
  • Military Services (United States Navy)
  • Semiconductor Manufacturing Companies (Intel)

Sample Courses

  • NPRE 247: Modeling Nuclear Energy Systems
  • NPRE 446: Radiation Interaction with Matter
  • NPRE 421: Plasma and Fusion Science
  • NPRE 431: Materials in Nuclear Engineering
  • NPRE 441: Radiation Protection

Nick - Nuclear Engineering student

Visit the NPRE website

Interested in Changing Your Major?

First Year Engineering: Undeclared

First-Year Engineering Undeclared is a new program for a limited number of students who would like some extra time to explore a variety of engineering majors before officially choosing their degree program. Students will declare their engineering major before the end of the their first year. Learn more about First Year Engineering: Undeclared

Academic Minors within Engineering

Eng 101: Engineering at Illinois Booklet

This resource was created by Engineering at Illinois students, departments, and units, including Engineering Career Services (ECS), the Center for Academic Resources in Engineering (CARE), and International Programs in Engineering (IPENG). It is designed to help students explore engineering majors and careers by answering some of the following questions:

  • What are the differences between the majors?
  • How do I know if this major is for me?
  • How do I know if I will like it?
  • What classes will I take at Illinois?
  • What projects or activities can I be doing in this major?
  • How multidisciplinary is this major?
  • What kind of job will I get?

Eng 101: Engineering at Illinois Booklet is a paperback resource and can be purchased online.