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2019-2020 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Engineering - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing section in this catalog.



GVSU's School of Engineering aspires to be a premier education-oriented engineering school focused on applied engineering practice that is informed by research and scholarship.


Our mission is to prepare students to meet the challenges of the modern world as engineering professionals who have the potential to become innovative leaders.

We fulfill our mission with a curriculum that is firmly based in the theoretical foundation of science and mathematics in application to real-world problems. The curriculum also provides for experiences in engineering design, analysis, and professional practice. Students develop technical competency through course and laboratory work, project work, and the co-operative education experience in industry or in research.

Our mission is realized by a shared commitment to continual improvement, scholarship and research, and refinement through critical review. Such review requires both close contact with current engineering practice and a commitment to liberal education that enhances the practice of engineering in global societies through a deep understanding of the human condition and the relationship of engineering practice to the natural environment.

Undergraduate Engineering Degree Programs

The School of Engineering offers four-year programs leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) with majors in computer, electrical, interdisciplinary, mechanical, and product design and manufacturing engineering. During the first two years, students take fundamental courses in engineering in preparation for admission to the B.S.E. degree in their major area and cooperative education experience in the industry. Integrated cooperative engineering education allows students the opportunity to gain industrial experience before graduation. During the last two years of the program, students alternate periods of cooperative education in industry with academic study. The interdisciplinary engineering program transcends traditional engineering and allows students to tailor their engineering education to their specific educational interests. All engineering majors are capped by a multidisciplinary two-semester senior design project requiring initiative, planning, and design to solve engineering problems for local companies.

B.S.E. Degree Goal and Objectives

The goal of the B.S.E. degree is to prepare students to assume engineering positions in industry with the potential to advance to leadership positions. In pursuing this goal, students may major in one or more engineering disciplines: computer, electrical, product design and manufacturing, or mechanical engineering; or they may pursue an interdisciplinary major tailored to their specific interest.

The program educational objectives are that a student graduating from the B.S.E. program must

  • demonstrate technical competency in their careers;
  • function effectively in an industrial or academic environment;
  • engage in professional development; and
  • shape their professions and societies.

Engineering Design

Design is central to the practice of engineering. The curriculum has been developed to integrate design education throughout all four years of the program. The student's experience begins in the freshman year with instruction and practice in computer-aided design and product realization, the design of computer software, and engineering problem-solving using current computer software and hardware tools. Design instruction continues in the sophomore year through activities such as design projects, materials selection exercises, electronics design, and quality assurance methods. Building upon the fundamental engineering science and design knowledge developed in the first two years and the experience gained in the integrated cooperative education program, students are then prepared to tackle substantially more mature design experiences beginning in the junior year. The cooperative education program, which continues through the junior and senior years, also contributes substantially to student preparation for the two-semester Capstone senior design experience. The majority of the senior design projects each year are performed for companies in west Michigan. Exercises that address environmentally responsible design are integrated throughout the curriculum.

Industry Involvement

Grand Valley's B.S.E. degree programs have wide community and industrial support. Michigan residents and industries have contributed to the development of these programs by providing both financial support and opportunities for cooperative engineering education for students. Each program is served by an Industrial Advisory Board composed of engineering leaders and other professionals. Additional interaction between the engineering program and industry is effectively provided by Grand Valley's Career Center.

Student Preparation and Guidance

The B.S.E. degree programs are highly structured. Careful planning by students, in consultation with their engineering advisor, is essential. Students considering an engineering career should consult an engineering advisor at the earliest possible opportunity, preferably before registering for their first semester. A consultation meeting with an advisor can be arranged by contacting the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing student services office. A student who has declared an engineering major is assigned an academic advisor from the professional advising staff in student services for the first two years and then from the faculty of the School of Engineering after secondary admission.

High school students considering an engineering career are urged to take a college preparatory program consisting of at least three years of laboratory science, including one year of physics and one year of chemistry; four years of mathematics, including two years of algebra, one year of geometry, and one half year of trigonometry; one half year of computer programming; four years of English, including composition; two years of a single foreign language; and three years of social studies.

Properly prepared students can complete the B.S.E. degree in four calendar years. Students who are not prepared to begin the B.S.E. degree with Mathematics 201 (Calculus I), or who prefer to not carry the average course load of 16 credit hours per semester, will need a longer period of study to complete their engineering degree. Students who wish to pursue the B.S.E. degree after transferring from a two-year school should normally enroll in a pre-engineering program before transferring to Grand Valley and contact student services for advising as soon as possible.


Students with no previous college credit, or those who have not completed the 64-semester-hour engineering foundations course sequence, are pre-majors. The engineering foundations course sequence spans the freshman and sophomore years and develops the fundamental knowledge on which an engineering program is built.

Students who intend to pursue the B.S.E. degree are urged to declare an engineering major as soon as possible, preferably before they first register for courses at Grand Valley. Students must formally declare an engineering major before the end of the drop-add period of the fall semester of the academic year in which they are seeking admission to major standing.

The School of Engineering admits students directly to major standing as freshmen. This honor is reserved for students who have both a 29 or higher composite score and a 32 or higher mathematics score on the ACT and a 3.6 or higher high school GPA. In order to continue direct-admit status, students must maintain an overall GPA of 2.7 and earn at least a C (2.0) in each course. Students whose GPA falls below 2.7 no longer have direct-admit status and will need to apply to the School of Engineering via the normal admission process to gain admission to major standing.

Admission to major standing in the B.S.E. program requires a secondary application. Applicants must meet at least the following: (1) a GPA of 2.7 or above in the engineering foundations course sequence, (2) completion of each course in the engineering foundations course sequence with a grade of C (2.0) or above with not more than one repeat in each foundation course, and (3) completion of EGR 289 in preparation for placement in cooperative engineering education. Transfer students must also complete at least eight semester hours of engineering courses at Grand Valley before they can be admitted to major standing.

Once admitted to major standing in the B.S.E. degree, students are expected to devote sufficient time to complete the work assigned in each course. Students are expected to maintain the highest ethical standards at all times. Students may be dismissed from the program for violations of ethical standards or unsatisfactory academic progress.

Students must apply directly to the School of Engineering before the last day of classes of the fall semester of the academic year in which they are seeking admission to major standing. Application forms are available on the School of Engineering website (within Forms under the Co-op Education link). Notification letters are promptly issued to students after the processing of their applications is complete.


The following majors are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (available online at

  • computer engineering
  • electrical engineering
  • interdisciplinary engineering
  • mechanical engineering
  • product design and manufacturing engineering

Participating Program

Cooperative Education:

Cooperative education is a university and industry partnership program that provides a student with engineering work experience that complements and supplements engineering education at GVSU. Cooperative education is an integral component of the curriculum normally consisting of three semesters of work within an applied engineering environment. The program is designed to provide the student with a depth of experience with one host/employer (optimally) for all three co-op semesters. The student will have the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the academic environment and needed to be a successful practicing engineer, including technical hands-on engineering problem solving, professional self-management, interpersonal skills (verbal and written communication, working in teams, customer/client relations, etc.), and leadership.

Students must enroll in EGR 289 during the fall semester prior to their first cooperative education experience in the following spring/summer semester. The Career Services office helps students find cooperative education positions in industry. Grand Valley will make a concerted effort to offer every student admitted to major standing a number of invitations for interviews for cooperative education positions with various potential employers. Students who are not accepted for employment through the prescribed cooperative education interview process, do not obtain positive evaluations during their cooperative education experiences, or do not maintain satisfactory progress toward the B.S.E. degree cannot meet the graduation requirements of the program and must withdraw from the B.S.E. program. Such students do have numerous other options to complete a bachelor's degree in one of Grand Valley's other programs.

Honors Organization

Grand Valley State University hosts the Michigan Lambda Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honors Society.


For more information, visit:

  • Robert Bosch Fuel Systems Engineering Scholarship
  • Scott M. Dykstra/Oliver Products Company Engineering Scholarship
  • FIRST Robotics Engineering Scholarship
  • General Dynamics Land Systems Engineering Scholarships
  • Fred M. and Bernedine Keller Engineering Diversity Scholarship
  • Kirkhof Engineering Scholarship
  • Seymour and Esther Padnos Engineering Scholarship
  • Lt. James W. Parmelee Memorial Scholarship
  • Price-Heneveld Engineering Scholarship
  • Progressive A & E Engineering Scholarship
  • GVSU/Padnos/MSPE Engineering Scholarship
  • GVSU/Padnos/SAE Engineering Scholarship
  • The Joseph Spruit Engineering Scholarship
  • Whitney Young Outreach Engineering Scholarship

The following programs are available:

Bachelor of Science in Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Product Design and Manufacturing Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Master of Science in Engineering

Engineering Science Minor

Computer Engineering Minor

Biomedical Engineering Minor

Combined Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Engineering

If you are in need of assistance please submit any questions or comments.