3 Pro Tips for Engineering Majors
Pro Tip 1: Whether you have your heart set on biomedical engineering or are debating between civil or mechanical engineering, consider taking “Introduction to Engineering.” This one-unit “nuts and bolts” class explores the differences and similarities across different engineering majors.
Pro Tip 2: Get engaged in your education. Make sure you ask questions and actively participate in discussions, workshops and labs. You’ll reap future career benefits by truly learning about your subject.
Pro Tip 3: Take advantage of office hours by asking your instructors and teaching assistants about leads on internships and research opportunities. This is the value added to going to UC Davis, because our faculty will help you connect your education to a future career.
At the UC Davis College of Engineering, we recognize the broad and diverse application of engineering in our modern world. That’s why we offer a range of 11 undergraduate degree programs so that you have choices for an engineering career that fuels your passion.
Our faculty will inspire you in your future career, because you see their own passion for engineering as well as their success. Many are national and global leaders in their disciplines and actively engaged in both research and industry.
UC Davis was recently named the most sustainable university in the world, and our college’s programs reflect the university’s commitment to interdisciplinary research in areas like energy, environment and sustainability.
College of Engineering leads in advancing women in STEM
Our college is also a leader for advancing women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). In fact, UC Davis ranks No. 1 in the nation for launching women into STEM professions, and our college ranks third among the top 50 engineering schools for the percentage of women faculty.
Access to state-of-the-art workshops and labs
As an engineering student, you have access to state-of-the-art workshops and labs like the Engineering Student Design Lab and the Northern California Nanotechnology Center. The newly opened Coffee Lab is a facility where you can get a nonmathematical introduction to chemical engineering and explore the art and science of coffee. Sign up early for The Design of Coffee though — this is the most popular course on campus, beating out beer brewing, wine making and human sexuality.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in business, technology or design, the Engineering Student Startup Center hosts competitions like the Creator Challenge Series. The center is a space where UC Davis students can create ideas and collaborate on technology ventures. Imagine an extended LEGO project, but with 3-D printers, business plans and venture capitalists.
What does it take to be an engineer?
Engineers use math and science to creatively address society’s most pressing challenges. Like any STEM major, our majors in engineering are not easy. No matter what type of major you declare, all engineering courses build on core math, science and communication skills. UC Davis engineering students should plan to spend 50-60 hours a week in class, labs and studying. Time management is crucial to stay on track and maintain your grades.
We have plenty of resources to help you stay on track, especially during your first few quarters. You’ll have access to drop-in tutoring for core engineering classes that are known to be challenging for students. Our team of academic advisors will also help you manage your academic schedule and answer questions about majors and specialties. Additional resources like the Leadership in Engineering Advancement Diversity and Retention Center also support first-generation students and students from historically underserved backgrounds.
Working well with different teams of people, often across multiple disciplines, is also central to engineering. Group collaborations require planning, organization, and communication with classmates and team members.
Hands-on engineering practice
From robotics to hackathons, UC Davis offers plenty of opportunities for hands-on engineering practice through undergraduate research, design competitions and internships.
During your senior year, you’ll have the chance to turn your ideas into reality at our annual Engineering Design Showcase. The showcase includes the design and prototype of a product, device, process, or software system and a final pitch of your design to industry judges. The event is a culminating experience for graduating seniors and an excellent opportunity to connect and engage with potential employers.
Relationships with alumni, industry partners help students
Here’s another plus that will help you in your career explorations. UC Davis has strong relationships with thousands of alumni, and local and national research and industry partners. In fact, many of our faculty have founded startups themselves. Our proximity to Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area is also ideal for industry collaborations and internships.
Keep an eye out for future posts, where we’ll cover more research and career opportunities specific to each of our engineering majors. In the meantime, stop by the College of Engineering website and follow us on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for more insight on the day-to-day experiences of UC Davis engineering students.
Bonnie Dickson is a communication specialist with the College of Engineering who is passionate about using new and traditional media to share developments in science and engineering. She has a master’s degree in emerging media studies and a bachelor's degree in history.