Engineering or Engineering Technology?

Engineering or Engineering Technology?

The School of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Penn State Behrend is unique in our offerings of degree programs in both engineering and engineering technology. This means that our degree programs accommodate a broad range of student learning styles and provide a wide range of career choices. Furthermore, we have a collaborative environment where faculty and students from different programs frequently work together on multi-disciplinary design and research projects, and graduates of all of our programs have excellent career opportunities.

The following table provides a general overview of the distinctions of the engineering and engineering technology degrees at Penn State Behrend.

  Engineering Engineering Technology
Student Profile
  • Problem-solving innovators who would like to design and develop new products and systems.
  • Students who like to deal with abstract issues necessary for planning, designing, and creating new products and systems.
  • Problem solvers and implementers who would like to be involved in product design and the application of new technologies.
  • Students who like to deal with the practical issues necessary for implementing, producing, and realizing new products and systems.
Classroom and Laboratory Experience
  • Engineering courses occur throughout curriculum, but are concentrated later in the curriculum. These courses build on the base of mathematics and science.
  • Design and applications are integrated into lecture and laboratory course work. The curriculum has an emphasis on engineering design and theoretical issues that are applicable to a broad range of problems.
  • The programs culminate in a senior design experience.
  • Engineering technology courses occur in every semester of the program with a higher concentration of technical courses in the first two years than in an engineering program.
  • Intensive laboratory and application focus, with moderate emphasis on theory and the design process. The design focus is on complex problems utilizing state of the art technologies and solution methods.
  • The programs culminate in a research, senior design, or industrial project experience.
Mathematics Component of the Curriculum
  • Students typically start in a traditional calculus course, culminating in vector calculus and differential equations.
  • Other courses may include matrices, probability and statistics, and discrete mathematics depending upon the major selected.
  • Students typically start in algebra- and trigonometry- based technical mathematics.
  • The math sequence takes students through intermediate calculus and differential equations with an emphasis on engineering technology applications.
Science Component of the Curriculum

Requires two or three physics courses (8-10 credits) that are calculus-based, and four credits of college chemistry.

Requires one or two physics courses (4-8 credits) that are algebra- and trigonometry-based and four credits of college chemistry.

Career Paths

Engineers and engineering technologists often work side-by-side to develop new products, processes, services, and systems. Their career paths can overlap as there are a wide variety of opportunities available in business and industry for both.

  • Complex technical analyses design and development research
  • Test and evaluation
  • Manufacturing
  • Management and supervision
  • Design and development
  • Manufacturing
  • Test and evaluation
  • Field service engineering
  • Technical Sales
  • Management and supervision
Graduate School Opportunities

Graduate school opportunities include science-based programs such as Master of Science (M.S.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) degree programs. Graduates also pursue professional graduate program opportunities such as Master of Engineering and Masters of Busines Administration (MBA) programs.

Graduate school opportunities include professional graduate program opportunities such as Master of Engineering and Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs. Science-based programs, such as Master of Science (M.S.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) degree, are possible, but students may need to take additional courses depending on the graduate schooland program they anticipate entering.

Professional Registration Graduates are eligible for registration in all states. Graduates are eligible for registration in many states, including Pennsylvania.
The process typically requires successful completion of the Fundamentals of Engineering and the Professional Engineers examination. A certain number of years of professional experience are required before taking the Professional Engineers exam.


As a prospective student, you will need to ultimately select a major field of study. When selecting your academic major you need to consider three important facets:

  • Your interests. What do you like to do and find interesting?
  • Your skills. What are you good at doing?
  • The career opportunities. Are there interesting job opportunities available to you that match your skills and interests?