Engineering Technology or Engineering


During the admissions process, students are often uncertain about the differences between engineering and engineering technology. The information below is designed to help you select an engineering major that is consistent with your interests, academic preparation and learning style (theoretical vs. applied).

RIT has an outstanding record of achievement in engineering education and is dedicated to providing students with an education that matches their interests with career opportunities in the technological world. RIT is also one of the few universities to offer students academic programs with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in both engineering and engineering technology.

All of RIT's engineering and engineering technology programs combine academic experience with cooperative education, which allow students to gain a full year of full-time, paid, professional experience in industry. Many RIT students receive job offers for permanent positions from previous co-op employers. Both engineering and engineering technology programs are fully accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the recognized accrediting agency for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology in the United States.

Successful placement of all of our engineering and engineering technology graduates are a testament to the value of combining a high quality university education with related work experience.  A few of the 2,000+ active co-op employers are Adobe Systems, Bausch & Lomb, Boeing Corporation, Google, Harris Corporation, Honda, IBM, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Kiewit Construction, Microsoft, NASA, Toyota and Xerox Corporation. Leading employers know that RIT graduates can apply knowledge and technical skills to solve real-world problems.

What is Engineering Technology?

RIT’s engineering technology programs are application focused degrees housed in the College of Engineering Technology (CET). RIT is proud to offer the largest selection of highly ranked engineering technology programs in the country. These programs combine theoretical coursework heavily reinforced with hands-on laboratory experiences and project work with a focus on the application of engineering principles. If you learn by doing, the inquiry-based, applied-learning methodology of our engineering technology programs may be the right choice for you. While the majority of our faculty members have earned Ph.Ds., all have extensive experience working as engineers in industry. This level of preparation enables our faculty to bring a unique perspective of teaching and learning into our classrooms and laboratories. RIT's engineering technology programs prepare students to enter the workforce in a variety of engineering roles as design engineers, civil engineers, product development engineers, applications engineers, test engineers, manufacturing engineers and more. Approximately 25% of our graduates pursue advanced degrees including the completion of MS, MBA or doctoral degrees. Learn more about programs in RIT’s College of Engineering Technology.

What is Engineering?

In our engineering majors, opportunities abound in the design and development of systems, research and experimental work, supervision of technical projects, and managerial positions in industry. Based in theory, engineering graduates typically work on the design and development of new products, applied research projects, and open-ended design challenges. Engineering degree programs incorporate classroom and laboratory instruction, integrative design experiences and applied research projects to prepare students for industrial work assignments or for advanced study in graduate school. Our Kate Gleason College of Engineering, which was ranked 27th in the world by Business Insider, also offers a number of degrees at the graduate level. Learn more about programs in the RIT’s College of Engineering.

Academic Preparation, Course Work and Licensing

Academic programs in both Engineering and Engineering Technology can lead to exciting professional careers and it is important for you to assess your academic preparation, interests, and career objectives before deciding the program that best fits your needs.

  Engineering Engineering Technology
Required High School Math 4 years including Algebra, Geometry and topics in Trigonometry and Pre-calculus 3 years including Algebra, Geometry and topics in Trigonometry; Pre-calculus recommended
Required High School Science 4 years including Physics and Chemistry 3 years including Chemistry or Physics
Test Score Middle 50% Range (Fall 2019)

SAT: 1320-1460

ACT: 30-34

SAT: 1200-1360

ACT: 26-32

Math at RIT (first two years) Calculus for Engineers & Scientists: 
Project-based Calculus I
Project-based Calculus II
Multivariable Calculus
Differential Equations
Calculus A
Calculus B
Multivariable Calculus & Differential Equations
Introduction to Statistics I
Physics at RIT University Physics (Calculus based) College Physics (Trigonometry & Algebra based) or University Physics (Calculus based)
Qualification for Professional Engineering License Eligible in all 50 states after 4 years of experience

Licensure rules vary by state:

  • Eligible in 2/3 of U.S. states after 4 years of experience
  • Eligible in 47 of 50 states with graduate degree in engineering

Engineering and Engineering Technology Differences

Graduates of engineering technology programs use their math, science and engineering skills to design products and systems, install and maintain products, and provide a wide range of services, such as implementation of the design, testing, calibration and supervision of its operation. The job of an engineer requires more theoretical, scientific and mathematical knowledge. Jobs obtained by graduates of both engineering and engineering technology programs are often similar (American Society for Engineering Education).


engineering vs eng tech

 (Chart above from the American Society for Mechanical Engineers.)