Welding Engineering as Alternative to ECE

Posted: July 26, 2017

As the electrical and computer engineering (ECE) major offered at The Ohio State University continues to grow and gain prestige, it highlights new opportunities for incoming students to explore ECE in different realms.

Freshmen students conflicted because their interests lie in circuitry and wires, but ECE remains elusive or never sparked an academic interest, read on.

Within the Ohio State College of Engineering, there is another route for students to consider, which not only shares aspects of ECE, but also offers a tremendously high career-placement rate.

The Welding Engineering (WE) major is one of the programs in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Ohio State, which covers an array of topics, such as how to design welds, knowing the correct material to use, and how to conduct non-destructive examinations on the welds. All of these techniques involve engineering subjects, including electrical.

WE Associate Professor, Dr. Dave Farson, points out how graduates in the program, located on West Campus at Ohio State, have enjoyed a virtual 100 percent job placement rating over the last 34 years.

Farson also wants incoming engineering students to know, 50 percent of all products made worldwide involve welding, so the WE career route, while lesser known, remains in high demand.

“People who want a WE job, can find a WE job,” Farson said. “We’re kind of unique. There aren’t many people graduating in a field like us, and there is a need for them in a range of industries. So, there is a demand for our graduates.”

Welding engineers also have career options that involve aircrafts, wind turbines, heavy equipment, automobiles, and even jobs in the bio-medical field, which deals with precision welding and complicated alloys.

“I think some people just like that broad engineering aspect of it. WE seems really focused, but if you look deeper at the curriculum you can see the diversity,” Farson said. “For undergraduates, it’s a well-paid degree and it’s in demand.”

Additionally, the Ohio State WE program remains unique as the only ABET accredited program of its kind in the country. Because of this, Ohio State WE students are even more sought out.

ABET is accreditation is repected by employers and society as a way of knowing a university program meets the qualifications to produce prepared graduates. The Ohio State ECE program is also ABET accredited.

“For a BS degree, you really need ABET accreditation for it to be a creditable degree,” Farson said.

When it comes to the similarities with the ECE program, he said, the WE program offers two courses in physics welding.

“The first physics welding course that I teach is actually primarily like electrical engineering aspects,” Farson said. “My course is in power supply design, basically.”

WE courses also touch on circuit design and how to implement that into welded objects. Students work with the application of welding, yet rarely do the physical welding. For example, welding engineers create the robotics used to weld heavy machinery like automobiles or farm equipment.

For more information, and to hear former Ohio State president Gordon Gee say WE is at the center of engineering, check out:



Story by ECE Public Relations Writer, ​Lydia Freudenberg