College of Engineering
Virginia Tech is the home of the commonwealth's leading College of Engineering. It is known in Virginia and throughout the nation for the excellence of its programs in engineering education, research and public service. It is the states largest engineering college, and ranks among the top five suppliers of new B.S. degrees in the United States.
The mission of the College of Engineering is to offer high quality support for our stakeholders in order to provide a successful experience in the engineering education pursuits of our customers. The vision of the college is to foster strong working relationships between faculty, student and industry partners that will ultimately bring research opportunities through engineering educational offerings. The goals of the college are to attract high-caliber students and to provide them with a top-quality engineering education in preparation for productive careers; to invest in faculty development to enhance Virginia Tech's reputation as a research university and a leader in graduate education; and to forge new links with industry and government to facilitate economic development within the Commonwealth and the nation.
In U.S. News & World Reports Americas Best Colleges 2010 survey, the College of Engineerings undergraduate program again ranked 14th among all accredited engineering schools. This places the three schools among the top 3 percent of more than 600 institutions accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology. Among public universities, the college ranks seventh. Among overall industrial/manufacturing engineering programs, Virginia Tech ranks fifth in the nation. The colleges aerospace program and civil engineering department each ranked 10th in the nation. The mechanical engineering department and electrical and computer engineering department each ranked 14th in their respective categories. Rounding out the rankings, the materials science and engineering department placed 15th, the environmental track ranked 16th, and chemical engineering placed 23rd in the nation.
The College of Engineering offers bachelor of science degrees in the following areas: Aerospace Engineering, Biological Systems Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Construction Engineering and Management, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Science and Mechanics, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mining Engineering and Ocean Engineering. All other College of Engineering undergraduate programs in engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012, telephone: (410) 347-7700. The Computer Science program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012, telephone: (410) 347-7700.
Engineers play an important role in modern society. They design and develop new and better materials, products and processes for households and industries, from tiny semiconductors to huge dams. Engineers are needed across a broad spectrum of industry from the traditional field such as mechanical to the emerging fields of robotics and biomedicine. Engineers must not only satisfy society's demand for improved performance, reliability and safety of products, they also are expected to supply solutions for environmental and social problems created by new technology.
Our graduates are well-rounded. Men and women trained in engineering will find many professional outlets. They may join large or small manufacturing industries or they may offer their skills and knowledge as professional consultants. They may work in government or private research laboratories or teach and do research in universities. If the future leads them into other professions such as medicine, law, food services or business, their engineering education shall provide a sound base. Graduates of the College of Engineering are in high demand. Our student-run Engineering EXPO attracted roughly 250 employers in 2009, and we are a key recruiting school for approximately 40 major corporations.
It is essential that engineers, regardless of specialty, be well versed in mathematics, the physical sciences and the engineering sciences so that they can adapt readily to meet the professions ever-changing demands. But professional training is not enough. Engineers need to have imagination and insight. They must understand the history and traditions of the society in which they live. They also must be familiar with the social sciences and humanities.
Engineers also must be able to communicate effectively with higher management and the general public. All departments within the college are implementing programs to ensure that every graduate is able to effectively use a variety of spoken, visual and written communication strategies which are necessary for success as a student, for employment, and for life as a responsible citizen. Additional emphasis is being placed in freshmen engineering classes to emphasize the importance of communications in engineering analysis and design.
Engineers who are well educated, not just well trained, will be better equipped to develop scientific knowledge into useful technology.
In a move recognized by the National Academy of Engineering for its leadership, the College transformed its Engineering Fundamentals program into the Department of Engineering Education. While Engineering Education will continue to train freshmen in the fundamental principles of engineering, that curriculum has been broadened to accommodate the Department of Computer Science within the College. The basic ideas and principles inherent in the freshman year such as the scientific method, an introduction to design, an understanding of the engineers or technologists role and responsibility in modern society, and a first exposure to technical communication can be imparted in both an analog and a digital environment. Engineering Education also has developed M.S. and Ph.D. programs to prepare students to teach engineering or technology at any level, from kindergarten to college. The National Science Foundation has supported these developments through several major grants.
Tenured or tenure track faculty teach more than 90 percent of all engineering courses at Virginia Tech. Engineering faculty members focus on solving real world problems, and share these experiences in the classroom. The work of the faculty with industry brings modern, ground-breaking knowledge back to the classroom quicker than any textbook. These experiences provide a hands-on dimension that result in the superlative quality of engineering teaching for which Virginia Tech is so well known.
Virginia Tech engineering undergraduates are fortunate to have a combination of excellent classroom instruction and the opportunity to participate in "hands-on, minds-on" engineering training.
Three unique facilities, established by the generosity of College of Engineering alumni, are available to undergraduates.
In the Joseph F. Ware, Jr. Advanced Engineering Laboratory, students design and construct competition projects including Formula SAE race cars, Baja SAE vehicles, human-powered submarines and airplanes, radio-controlled aircraft, steel bridges, autonomous aerial and underwater vehicles, and hybrid electric vehicles.
In the Frith Freshman Engineering Design Laboratory, freshmen learn engineering principles by working with a number of mechanisms donated by industry sponsors.
At the Thomas M. Murray Structural Engineering Laboratory on Plantation Road, students are offered hands-on, in-lab experiments such as investigating the shear strength of lightweight concrete girders. Using massive vices, students are able to bear massive weights on concrete girders to test their strength. The lab is a wonder to witness as these girders themselves are several times larger than many lab classrooms strung together.
The Virginia Tech Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS) has emerged as a vital vehicle that presents a strong link to economic development for the entire Commonwealth. Led by Virginia Tech's College of Engineering, ICTAS presents a case for advancement of humankind through collaborative research, and it represents a strong link between all of the colleges of engineering across the Commonwealth. For the undergraduate, ICTAS will provide opportunities for research employment.
At Virginia Tech, the common features emerged for the ORUs of ICTAS include: the clustering of synergistic research groups; teaming of researchers with science and engineering backgrounds; a breadth of activities that bridges periods of transition in research emphasis; the employment of full-time researchers and support personnel but with strong linkages to academic units through faculty and student involvement; and an initial investment and financial structure that allows the research unit to become not only self-sustaining, but a provider of revenue to the university.
ICTAS in 2007 dedicated its first building, the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Lab. Located in Virginia Techs Corporate Research Center, the lab is a 32,000--square-foot facility on par with the best nanotechnology labs in the world. In March 2009, the ICTAS-I building opened in the College of Engineering corridor along Stanger and Old turner streets. The 99,000-square-foot building now serves as the institutes home base, housing the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences as a principal tenant, in addition to the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management program head by faculty members Marc Edwards and Sunil Sinha.
Approved by the Virginia General Assembly, the ICTAS-II building is under construction in the universitys life sciences corridor to house research labs with a biotechnology focus. Its opening date nears.
The philosophy of Virginia Tech's College of Engineering always has been to get the right technology in the hands of our students. This reasoning fostered our pioneering decision in 1984 to become the first large public university to require our entering engineering freshmen to purchase a PC. In 2002, the College of Engineering switched the requirement to a Notebook computer. In 2006, in order to provide the opportunity for our engineering students to continue their education at the cutting edge of technology, we moved to the Convertible Tablet PC. Use of this device in and outside of class provides our students with experiences that they will use in the future.
The School of Construction provides undergraduates and graduates more choices for pursuing construction education. It is anticipated that the undergraduate degree in construction engineering and management will complement the existing degree programs in building construction and in civil and environmental engineering. The school will work with faculty from multiple departments to provide students with additional opportunities to pursue concentrations, minors, or support courses related to construction. The Myers-Lawson School and the Department of Building Construction is located at Bishop-Favro Hall, a 31,600-square-foot building that provides classroom space, seminar rooms, and studios for students. The facility also houses state-of-the-art laboratory spaces, include testing labs, wet labs, material handling, tool and welding labs, and workshops for assembly of construction systems.
Virginia Tech was one of the first universities to formally consider the connection between engineering practice and environmental stewardship from an interdisciplinary perspective. The Green Engineering Program was created in 1995 and serves all departments within the College of Engineering.
This program combines environmentally conscious attitudes, values and principles with science, technology and engineering practice, and focuses this interdisciplinary approach toward improving local and global environmental quality. Based on engineering fundamentals, green engineering analyzes the design of products, processes, and systems to minimize the life cycle environmental impacts, from the initial extraction of raw materials to the energy consumption and waste production during manufacturing to the ultimate disposal of materials that cannot be reused or recycled.
The Virginia Tech Student Engineers Council (SEC) created a permanent funding source for the dozens of undergraduate design teams in the College of Engineering. An initial gift of $105,000 was presented to the college at the SECs Leadership Awards Luncheon in 2007. In 2008 and 2009, it awarded close to another $200,000 to the endowment. The councils goal is for the endowment to reach $500,000 by the end of 2010. Boeing, through the leadership of AOE alumnus Marc Sheffler, has contributed $80,000 to this endowment. In both 2003 and 2006, the Virginia Tech SEC was named the most philanthropic student organization in the country by the National Association of Engineering Student Councils, in recognition of grants supporting programs in the college. The SEC earns the revenue it donates to the college by hosting the annual Engineering Expo career fair, which attracts about 250 companies to the campus. In addition to grants, the SEC also has endowed three scholarships, each with a principal value of $25,000.
For the 2009-2010 academic year, a total of $$1,693,092 was awarded to undergraduate students in the College of Engineering. Funding is provided by 75 scholarships administered by the College and 164 scholarships administered throughout the engineering departments. Twenty-three entering freshmen and 22 continuing students received the Deans Scholar for fall semester 2009. These scholarships are open to all incoming engineering freshmen and are awarded based on academic potential, community service, leadership potential, family circumstances and essay quality. Each scholarship is available for up to four years of undergraduate study, based on academic performance. The College continued 17 Eleanor Davenport Leadership Scholarships. The Davenport Scholarship provides full in-state tuition and fees and is renewable for students who maintain at least a 3.5 grade point average, out of a possible 4.0 GPA. The largest sponsor of upper-class scholarships continues to be the Gilbert and Lucille Seay Scholarship Fund, with 138 students receiving a total of $221,300 in scholarship funding.
The University Honors Program offers a unique challenge students with extraordinary intellectual and creative abilities. The program is available to all engineering departments and includes the opportunity for enrollment in accelerated courses, enriched sections, and independent study.
Of the 2008-2009 College of Engineering bachelors degree graduates who were employed full-time, (the most recent year for which statistics are known), 96 percent were employed in a field related to their major. The average annual salary at the bachelor's level was $58,000.
All students admitted to the College of Engineering as freshmen are placed in the Department of Engineering Education and are designated as General Engineering students. Upon completion of a set of required freshman-level courses, students with acceptable academic records are eligible for transfer into one of the college's 14 degree programs. (The exception is that students who are on the Dean's List their first semester may elect to transfer after one semester.) Admission to a degree program is competitive, with departmental restrictions established each year by the college. Students transferring to Virginia Tech from another college or university will be considered for admission to a degree granting engineering program if they have completed all courses required of Virginia Tech engineering freshmen, based on transfer credit evaluation by the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Other eligible transfer students may be offered admission into the General Engineering program. All freshmen and transfer admission decisions are made by the University Undergraduate Admissions Office.
The college has a transfer articulation agreement with the Virginia Community College System. VCCS students who complete the Associate Degree in engineering with a minimum 3.0 grade-point-average and who complete a specified list of academic courses are guaranteed admission to the College of Engineering. Not all Virginia Community Colleges offer engineering courses. The Associate Degree in engineering is offered at Central Virginia, J. Sargeant Reynolds, John Tyler, New River, Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Thomas Nelson, Tidewater, and Virginia Western Community Colleges.
The Associate Degree in science with specialization in engineering is offered at Piedmont Virginia Community College.
Engineering Technology credits are not accepted for transfer by the College of Engineering.
Students wishing to transfer into an engineering program from another college or degree program within the university must meet current standards set by the college for each engineering program. Application materials are available in the College of Engineering Academic Affairs office in 212 Hancock Hall.
Minimum requirements for graduation include the attainment of at least a "C" (2.0 Grade Point Average) average, both overall and in-major. Some departments may have additional requirements or specifications concerning the acceptability of C- or lower grades for in-major courses. Students are expected to sustain progress towards completion of their degree requirements, consulting with their academic advisor regularly.
In addition to meeting university requirements, requirements for enrollment have been established by individual departments..
Entry into a degree-granting department requires that a student successfully complete all first year required courses. Additional requirements are specific to degree programs and are as follows:
Degree requirements in the college range from 120 to 136 semester hours. Students should see their departmental advisor to determine the exact requirements of their degree. The 2.0 GPA minimum requirement for graduation also applies to all courses attempted in the student's departmental major; substitute non-departmental courses are not included. Where courses have substantial duplication, credit toward graduation will be given for one course only. Up to 2 credits in physical education may be used toward graduation as free elective credit. ESM 4404 and other courses below the academic potential of the engineering student may not be used towards graduation.
The senior academic year must be completed in residence while enrolled in the major department in the College of Engineering.
Engineering curricula have uniform minimum requirements in the humanities and social sciences. The 18-credit minimum includes 6 credits of Freshman English, usually completed during the first year, and 12 credits of humanities and social science electives selected from Areas 2 and 3 (6 credits each) of the Curriculum for Liberal Education.
Although pass/fail courses may be authorized for those who maintain a GPA above 2.0, students should recognize future disadvantages when transferring to other departments or applying for admission to other professional or graduate colleges. Engineering students are expected to take all major department courses on a grade basis. Independent study and undergraduate research courses are available for those who maintain a GPA above 2.0 overall and in their departmental majors; some departments may require a higher GPA.
The College of Engineering will accept advanced ROTC credit as free elective credit towards graduation. Some departments in engineering may allow the use of selected ROTC courses to meet technical elective requirements. Consult specific departments in the College of Engineering for information.