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College of Engineering

Engineering Curricula

The graduation requirements for each of the engineering degrees are presented in the form of four-year programs of study. These four-year schedules are highly recommended, but rarely followed without deviation. Some students can proceed more rapidly; many must proceed more slowly and take nine or more semesters to complete the degree. Flexibility in course selection is also present though elective categories within curricula and through approved substitutions.

All engineering curricula are designed to meet all criteria for accreditation by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org. Among other criteria, ABET requires that students complete:

  • One year of a combination of college-level mathematics and basic sciences (some with experimental experience) appropriate to the discipline.
  • One and one-half years of engineering topics, consisting of engineering sciences and engineering design appropriate to the student's field of study.
  • A general education component that complements the technical content of the curriculum and is consistent with the program and institution objectives.
  • In addition, students must be prepared for engineering practice through the curriculum, culminating in a major design experience based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work and incorporating appropriate engineering standards and multiple realistic constraints.

Engineering curricula continuously evolve. The requirements that apply to a particular student are determined by the date (catalog year) that a student enters a degree-granting program. At that point, the curriculum becomes fixed throughout the period it takes for a student to complete the degree, although new changes that benefit a student can be adopted by a particular student if he or she so chooses.

The curricular descriptions below do not address how these requirements are satisfied; students seldom need to be concerned with these details. However, if deviations from a curriculum are requested, they must not violate any of the accreditation requirements.

Deviation from Prescribed Curricula

Circumstances deemed acceptable for deviating from the outlined engineering curricula are included in each departmental description. The choice of courses to fulfill elective credit requirements provide students with considerable flexibility in their programs. In addition, some departments permit the substitution of elective courses for required ones and also offer outstanding undergraduate students the opportunity to enroll in graduate courses. These options aid the student in tailoring a course of study to meet personal goals more closely.

Definition of Electives

There are general types of elective courses; including technical electives, liberal studies and free electives.

Technical electives are limited to courses in engineering and closely related fields.

Liberal studies electives are those courses that are classified as either humanities, literature, or social studies (designated by H, L, S, or Z in the Class Search (Timetable) or as foreign language.

Free electives are courses completely free of any restrictions or requirements other than the course prerequisites.

Other specific elective requirements are established and described in department curricula.

To assist the student in gaining a better understanding of individuals and societies, and to reduce problems of transferring from one curriculum to another, most engineering curricula require adherence to the Liberal Studies Guidelines. Some require slight variations from those guidelines.

Independent Study

Students who have high grade point averages may satisfy some elective credits by independent study of subjects or problems suitable for analytical investigative work. The student must identify a professor who is willing to supervise study of interest to the student. Together they must agree upon the work to be done, the credits earned (usually 1-3), and the course number (199, 299, 399, 499, 599, or 699) for which the student is to enroll before the beginning of a semester. Weekly meetings with the professor to discuss questions and report progress are customary.