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Career Opportunities

As a Carolina engineering student who earns a bachelor’s degree in applied sciences, you’ll be ready to help shape the next phases of important engineering advances in a variety of applications—whether your next step involves an advanced degree or a job in private industry or the public sector. Since this is a new program, we do not yet have any data on the initial opportunities that are available to our graduates. You can get some insight into the possibilities by reading these profiles of UNC students who graduated with the minor in Applied Sciences and Engineering.

At the professional forefront of innovation and growth

Working in the fields of environmental or materials engineering will place you at the technological forefront—working in industries that are rapidly evolving based on pressing commercial, scientific and social challenges that demand professional expertise.

As environmental changes accelerate and the public becomes increasingly concerned with the related hazards, more environmental engineers will be called on to help find answers to these problems. And as manufacturers also continue to demand new and improved materials for an innovation economy that rapidly produces new waves of products—from airplanes to computers to tennis rackets—they’ll need more materials engineers to develop solutions. As a result, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for environmental engineers and materials engineers are expected to grow over the next decade.

North Carolina’s hot job market for environmental and materials engineers

Beyond positive national trends, North Carolina is home to many industries, research organizations, and emerging sectors that make it a thriving job market for environmental and materials engineers. Here is a sampling of the industries where our graduates could work.
Lightbulb with leaf inside
Renewable energy
The state of North Carolina is investing in renewable energy. North Carolina has earned No. 1 rankings for energy leadership, sustainability in the Southeast and wind energy potential on the East Coast. The state is also ranked No. 3 nationally for solar energy capacity and as a top 10 state for clean energy jobs. In fact, the state has already attracted $16 billion in clean energy investments, with $18 billion more anticipated by 2030. The state’s expansive approach to this sector means more opportunities for environmental and materials engineers to design, test and implement clean energy technologies.
Globe with airplane circling it
Aerospace and defense
North Carolina is home to more than 200 aerospace companies, 6,700 aerospace manufacturing jobs, and 14 major military bases—driving a demand for materials engineers who can develop advanced materials for aircraft and defense systems.
Biotechnology and pharmaceuticals
More than 800 life sciences companies employing 75,000 people call North Carolina home, which means that there are ample opportunities for materials engineers to design drug delivery systems, biomaterials and medical devices. In fact, the state’s Research Triangle Park region is ranked No. 4 for biotechnology in the U.S.
Water drop splashing
Coastal and water management
With an extensive shoreline and coastal region, North Carolina presents many professional opportunities for environmental engineers. Studies indicate accelerated and unprecedented sea-level rise in North Carolina and the potential for two-to-threefold increases in tidal flooding in coastal cities within the next decade. These challenges make it critical to have environmental engineers who can work on projects related to coastal erosion, flood management and water resources.