2018-2019 The Engineering Profession

The following describes the challenging types of work HSSEAS graduates might perform based on their program of study.

Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace engineers conceive, design, develop, test, and supervise the construction of aerospace vehicle systems such as commercial and military aircraft, helicopters and other types of rotorcraft, and space vehicles and satellites, including launch systems. They are employed by aerospace companies, airframe and engine manufacturers, government agencies such as NASA and the military services, and research and development organizations.

Working in a high-technology industry, aerospace engineers are generally well versed in applied mathematics and the fundamental engineering sciences, particularly fluid mechanics and thermodynamics, dynamics and control, and structural and solid mechanics. Aerospace vehicles are complex systems. Proper design and construction involves the coordinated application of technical disciplines, including aerodynamics, structural analysis and design, stability and control, aeroelasticity, performance analysis, and propulsion systems technology.

Aerospace engineers use computer systems and programs extensively and should have at least an elementary understanding of modern electronics. They work in a challenging and highly technical atmosphere and are likely to operate at the forefront of scientific discoveries, often stimulating these discoveries and providing the inspiration for the creation of new scientific concepts.

The B.S. program in Aerospace Engineering emphasizes fundamental disciplines and therefore provides a solid base for professional career development in industry and graduate study in aerospace engineering. Graduate education prepares students for careers at the forefront of aerospace technology. The Ph.D. degree provides a strong background for employment by government laboratories, such as NASA, and industrial research laboratories supported by the major aerospace companies. It also provides the appropriate background for academic careers.


At the interface of engineering, medicine, and basic sciences, bioengineering has emerged and established itself internationally as an engineering discipline in its own right. Such an interdisciplinary education is necessary to develop a quantitative engineering approach to tackle complex medical and biological problems, as well as to invent and improve the ever-evolving experimental and computational tools that are required in this engineering approach. UCLA has a long history of fostering interdisciplinary training and is a superb environment for bioengineers. UCLA boasts the top hospital in the western U.S., nationally ranked medical and engineering schools, and numerous nationally recognized programs in the basic sciences. Rigorously trained bioengineers are in demand in research institutions, academia, and industry. Their careers may follow a bioengineering concentration, but the ability of bioengineers to cut across traditional boundaries will facilitate their innovation in new areas.

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Chemical and biomolecular engineers use their knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering to meet the needs of our technological society. They design, research, develop, operate, and manage within the biochemical and chemical industries and are leaders in the fields of energy and the environment, nanoengineering/nanotechnology, systems engineering, biotechnology and biomolecular engineering, and advanced materials processing. They are in charge of the chemical processes used by virtually all industries, including the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, biofuel, food, aerospace, automotive, water treatment, and semiconductor industries. Architectural, engineering, and construction firms employ chemical engineers for equipment and process design. It is also their mission to develop the clean and environmentally friendly technologies of the future.

Major areas of fundamental interest within chemical engineering are

  1. Applied chemical kinetics, which involves the design of chemical and biochemical reactors and processes and the creation of catalysts that accelerate reaction kinetics and modeling,
  2. Transport phenomena, which involves the exchange of momentum, heat, and mass in physical and biological systems and has applications to the separation of valuable materials from mixtures, or of pollutants from gas and liquid streams,
  3. Thermodynamics, which is fundamental to physical, chemical, and biological processes, and
  4. Process design and synthesis, which provide the overall framework and computing technology for integrating chemical engineering knowledge into industrial application and practice

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil engineers plan, design, construct, and manage a range of physical systems, such as buildings, bridges, dams and tunnels, transportation systems, water and wastewater treatment systems, coastal and ocean engineering facilities, and environmental engineering projects, related to public works and private enterprises. Thus, civil and environmental engineering embraces activities in traditional areas and in emerging problem areas associated with modern industrial and social development.

The civil engineering profession demands rigorous scientific training and a capacity for creativity and growth into developing fields. In Southern California, besides employment in civil engineering firms and governmental agencies for public works, civil engineering graduates often choose other industries for assignments based on their engineering background. Graduates are also qualified for positions outside engineering where their broad engineering education is a valuable asset.

The curriculum leading to a B.S. in Civil Engineering provides an excellent foundation for entry into professional practice, as well as for graduate study in civil engineering and other related fields.

Computer Science and Engineering

Students specializing in the computer science and engineering undergraduate program are educated in a range of computer system concepts. As a result, students at the B.S. level are qualified for employment as applications programmers, systems programmers, digital system designers, digital system marketing engineers, and project engineers.

Undergraduate students can major in the computer science and engineering program, the computer science program, or the computer engineering program.

Graduate degree programs in computer science prepare students for leadership positions in the computer field. In addition, they prepare graduates to deal with the most difficult problems facing the computer science field. University or college teaching generally requires the graduate degree.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

The electrical and computer engineering discipline is concerned with the useful applications of electromagnetic phenomena (light, magnetism, electricity). Courses and research at UCLA span the entire stack from basic physics, electronic and photonic devices, antennas, integrated circuits, signal processing and machine learning, control, communications systems, to vast networks such as the electrical grid and the Internet. These are the main automated tools used by our society to sense, make decisions, and take action in the world using the data collected according to the priorities established by people. The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department is a recognized leader in education and research related to these subjects.

Manufacturing Engineering

Manufacturing engineering is an interdisciplinary field that integrates the basic knowledge of materials, design, processes, computers, and system analysis. The manufacturing engineering program is part of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.

Specialized areas are generally classified as manufacturing processes, manufacturing planning and control, and computer-aided manufacturing.

Manufacturing engineering as an engineering specialty requires the education and experience necessary to understand, apply, and control engineering procedures in manufacturing processes and production methods of industrial commodities and products. It involves the generation of manufacturing systems, the development of novel and specialized equipment, research into the phenomena of fabricating technologies, and manufacturing feasibility of new products.

Coursework, independent studies, and research are offered in the manufacturing processes area, leading to an M.S. degree. This includes computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing, robotics, metal forming and metal cutting analysis, nondestructive evaluation, and design and optimization of manufacturing processes.

Materials Engineering

Materials engineering is concerned with the structure and properties of materials used in modern technology. Advances in technology are often limited by available materials. Solutions to energy problems depend largely on new materials, such as solar cells or materials for batteries for electric cars.

Two programs within materials engineering are available at UCLA:

  1. In the materials engineering program, students become acquainted with metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites. Such expertise is highly sought by the aerospace and manufacturing industries. Materials engineers are responsible for the selection and testing of materials for specific applications. Traditional fields of metallurgy and ceramics have been merged in industry, and this program reflects the change.
  2. In the electronic materials option of the materials engineering program, students learn the basics of materials engineering with a concentration in electronic materials and processing. The optional program requires additional coursework which includes five to eight electrical and computer engineering courses.

In order to enter a career in research and development of new materials (such as new energy devices), an M.S. or Ph.D. degree is desirable.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is a broad discipline finding application in virtually all industries and manufactured products. The mechanical engineer applies principles of mechanics, dynamics, and energy transfer to the design, analysis, testing, and manufacture of consumer and industrial products. A mechanical engineer usually has specialized knowledge in areas such as design, materials, fluid dynamics, solid mechanics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, dynamics, control systems, manufacturing methods, and human factors. Applications of mechanical engineering include design of machines used in the manufacturing and processing industries, mechanical components of electronic and data processing equipment, engines and power-generating equipment, components and vehicles for land, sea, air, and space, and artificial components for the human body. Mechanical engineers are employed throughout the engineering community as individual consultants in small firms providing specialized products or services, as designers and managers in large corporations, and as public officials in government agencies.

Mechanical engineers apply their knowledge to a wealth of systems, products, and processes, including energy generation, utilization and conservation, power and propulsion systems (power plants, engines), and commercial products found in the automotive, aerospace, chemical, or electronics industries.

The B.S. program in Mechanical Engineering at UCLA provides excellent preparation for a career in mechanical engineering and a foundation for advanced graduate studies. Graduate studies in one of the specialized fields of mechanical engineering prepare students for a career at the forefront of technology. The Ph.D. degree provides a strong background for employment by government laboratories, industrial research laboratories, and academia.