What to Expect
Students of metallurgical engineering study metal. They learn how to design
and shape metals into whatever form is needed.
"Visualization is very important in this discipline," says Donnie
Fiander, who studied metallurgical engineering. "You need to be able to read
about a metal's processing and see it in your mind's eye. Otherwise the text
becomes elusive, confusing and sort of abstract."
There are practical aspects to the program. "There is a lot of opportunity
to do laboratory demonstrations and exercises," says Fiander. "I would
definitely recommend this degree for anybody who likes to 'do' things."
"I could get my hands on parts, examine airplanes and conduct investigations,"
says Jessica Taylor, who has a bachelor's degree in metallurgical engineering
from Iowa State University. "It was extremely satisfying."
Fiander says that the amount of homework varied from semester to semester,
teacher to teacher, course to course and so on. "Between reading notes
and textbooks, writing labs and reports and doing assignments, you can spend
at least two to three hours a day," he says.
Degree programs in metallurgical engineering often take five years, but
can be completed in as little as four years if students bulk up on courses
or take summer school.
"Sometimes taking an engineering degree can seem like it's taking forever
to complete, but you just have to stick in it for the long run. Five years
is a lot of time to do anything," says Fiander.
How to Prepare
Fiander recommends that students take chemistr coursesy. "It's kind
of funny, but they say that metallurgical engineering has more of a chemical
aspect than chemical engineering does," he says.