What Kinds of Science and Engineering Specializations Are Available?

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Science is the study of everything that exists in the entire universe. And engineers use the knowledge that scientists gather, developing useful applications for scientific discoveries.

That means that the specializations available in Science and Engineering are vast. Anything that you can think of in the natural world has probably been studied, documented, and had its behavior predicted by scientists.

Read on to learn about some of the major categories of Science and Engineering specializations, and keep in mind that these are just the tip of the iceberg! Delve below the surface of the field on our Science and Engineering homepage.


Science is an incredibly diverse discipline with many specializations. But in the broadest terms, you can look at Science as having two branches: life sciences and physical sciences.

Life Sciences

Life science

, or biological science, is the study of all living things. Scientists in these fields may specialize in the components of living organisms, like cells and DNA, or they may study entire populations.

Examples of specializations within the biological sciences include:

  • Botany: The study of plants, their classifications and interactions within the environment
  • Ecology: the study of organisms within their physical environment, including the effects of climate change and pollution
  • Genetics: the study of genes and inherited traits in organisms, from microbes to humans
  • Microbiology: the study of microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and fungi; also includes genetic engineering and microbiology of food and water resources
  • Zoology: the study of animals, from the molecular level to the study of entire populations

Physical sciences

Just as the life sciences deal with all living things, the physical sciences cover every non-living thing in the universe.

  • Astronomy: The study of everything beyond the earth, from planets to asteroid dust
  • Chemistry: The study of substances, their molecular structures and chemical transformations
  • Earth science: The study of the earth, air and water, as well as the physical features of the moon and other planets
  • Physics: the study of matter, energy, and motion; the foundation of all of the physical sciences


Engineers convert raw materials into other, useful forms, and develop ways to use technology to achieve goals and solve problems. Examples of specializations within Engineering include:

Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers apply the science of chemistry for use in industry. For example, process engineers develop processes to use chemical reactions in manufacturing products. Subfields within this specialty include:

  • Polymers
  • Food engineering
  • Energy production

Civil Engineering

This field focuses on designing and building structures, from bridges to pipelines. Civil engineers might work in transportation or environmental engineering. A few examples of civil engineering concentrations include:

  • Aerospace
  • Environmental and sanitation engineering
  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Water resource engineering

Electrical Engineering

More engineers work in this area than in any other, because electrical engineers are needed in any industry that relies on electricity. A few subfields include:

  • Electronics engineering
  • Computer engineering
  • Communication systems engineering
  • Power engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers

apply the sciences of physics to processes like manufacturing. They design, develop and test machinery for many different applications. Areas of focus within mechanical engineering may include:

  • Air pollution control
  • Rubber and plastics
  • Underwater technology

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