Weapons and systems engineers are responsible for modeling, designing, testing, managing and evaluating weapons and weapons systems for a government or for a corporation that designs weapons for a government. While engineers working as weapons designers have majored in mechanical, electrical, civil and chemical engineering, there are a few colleges where students can major in weapons and systems engineering.
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, offers a weapons and systems engineering major for cadets. Systems engineering is one of the most popular majors at the academy. Students use aspects of many engineering principles -- mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering -- to create systems. The Naval Academy allows cadets to specialize in an area of interest within weapons and systems engineering through electives. Also, cadets are able to take advantage of internships and the opportunity to spend a semester at one of the other service academies for further specialization. Cadets also complete a capstone project in their area of specialization. An honors program is available for selected weapons and systems engineering students.
United States Military Academy at West Point
The Army's college for officer training at West Point, New York, offers a systems engineering degree. As in the Naval Academy program, West Point offers its cadets the opportunity to specialize within systems engineering, which can include weapons and systems. Students can take advantage of a capstone project that systems engineering students design with a team and present in the spring. Awards are presented as well. Engineering systems cadets at West Point are encouraged to spend their summers at internships, or they can participate in Advanced Individual Academic Development, a program for students to work alongside government agencies and industries in the United States and abroad to solve current problems.
United States Air Force Academy
At the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, cadets enrolled in systems engineering programs may choose to specialize in areas that would have applications for weapons engineering students: aeronautical systems, control systems, mechanical systems and space systems. For capstone projects, cadets team up with other cadets in different specialization areas to make an integrated project. Examples of past projects presented include aircraft, small satellite and rocket systems and robotic vehicles.
Coast Guard Academy
Cadets at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, can enroll in several engineering programs. However, the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering program allows cadets to specialize in shipbuilding and ship systems. As seniors, cadets work in teams to design all the systems of a ship, including the weapons systems. Students can specialize and design a commercial ship or a military ship. Also, students are allowed to take electives within other engineering departments in their area of interest. The school does have a nuclear engineering program. Students can complete directed studies research projects they are interested in for course credit. Cadets are able to take advantage of internships offered during the summer.
- United States Naval Academy: Weapons and Systems Engineering
- United States Military Academy: Department of Systems Engineering
- United States Military Academy: Capstone Project
- United States Military Academy: AIAD
- United States Air Force Academy: Capstone Project
- United States Air Force Academy: Systems Engineering
- Coast Guard Academy: Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering
Lori Garrett-Hatfield has a B.J. in Journalism from the University of Missouri. She has a Ph.D. in Adult Education from the University of Georgia. She has been working in the Education field since 1994, and has taught every grade level in the K-12 system, specializing in English education, and English as a Second Language education.