Jun 19, 2024  
2024-2025 General Catalog 
2024-2025 General Catalog

College of Engineering

Visit the College of Engineering online.

Dean Douglas Tougaw, P.E., Ph.D.
Assistant Dean for Student Success, Laura Sanders, M.S.
Assistant Dean for Strategic Initiatives, Erik Froelich, Ed.D.


The College of Engineering prepares and inspires talented students in a strong undergraduate environment to become servant leaders who apply scientific knowledge to benefit society. The College of Engineering accomplishes this mission by:

  • offering rigorous curricula with a balance of theoretical and practical experience
  • promoting professional growth through leadership, scholarship, and work experiences
  • encouraging personal growth through service and outreach opportunities
  • fostering a learning environment that is technologically rich and culturally diverse
  • providing guidance from dedicated faculty mentors


The College of Engineering will be the premier engineering college emphasizing undergraduate education, acknowledged for the impact its students, faculty, staff, and graduates have in leading and serving society.

Core Values (E5)


We encourage creativity inside and outside the classroom. We provide opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to stretch the boundaries of their knowledge and explore uncommon solutions. We help students, faculty, and staff develop the skills necessary for discovery.


We strive for excellence in every activity. We cultivate an environment that fosters learning and critical thinking. We expect faculty, students, and staff to work each day to seek continuous improvement.


We are committed to a culture of honesty, respect, and fairness. We act in a professional and ethical manner in all that we do and say.


We strive to create an environment that appreciates and values diversity, in all respects, without judgment.


We believe that potential cannot be achieved without enjoyment. We foster an environment where faculty, staff, and students enjoy their work and surroundings.


Engineering is the art of applying scientific and practical knowledge to the solution of problems for the benefit of society. The curriculum integrates scientific and engineering principles, practical laboratory and computer experiences, engineering design experiences culminating in a major design project, and liberal learning in the tradition of Christian church-related colleges and universities. Special emphasis is given to communication skills, the humanities, and the social sciences. Students are enriched by participation in the academic, social, cultural, and spiritual life that is central to the Christian academic tradition at Valparaiso University. Graduates are prepared both for direct entry into the practice of engineering and for graduate school.

The Academic Programs

Bachelor of Science degrees may be earned in Bioengineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. The goals of these programs are to build a strong foundation in mathematics, the natural and engineering sciences, and to provide an introduction to engineering design during the early portion of these programs. This is followed by courses with increased emphasis on engineering applications, design, teamwork, and interdisciplinary activity. Instruction in engineering design is integrated throughout the curriculum so that students advance toward higher levels of competence culminating in a senior design project which emphasizes formulation of problem statements and criteria, consideration of alternatives, and communication of results.

The laboratory program provides for firsthand observation of physical phenomena, experience in data collection and analysis, verification of designs, written and oral communication, and teamwork. The use of computers in both the classroom and laboratory is fully integrated into the curriculum starting in the first semester. Entrepreneurial-minded learning is infused in the curriculum throughout all programs and is supported through participation in the KEEN network of schools.


Civil engineering topics were taught at Valparaiso University beginning in 1859. Sisters Ethel and Merle McCall were the first women engineering graduates, each receiving civil engineering degrees in 1915. Full four-year programs were established in 1920, with offerings in Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering. During World War II, with the shortage of male students, the program was temporarily reduced to two years at Valparaiso University followed by two years at Purdue University.

After the war, four-year engineering programs were reinstated on campus through the initiative of students who raised funds and then designed and built a new engineering laboratory building. The first post- World War II degrees were offered in 1951 in Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering and have been accredited since 1958. The Indiana Delta Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society, was chartered in 1963.

In 1968, the College of Engineering moved to the newly-constructed Gellersen Engineering and Mathematics Center. This facility was provided through the generosity of the late William A. Gellersen of Oakland, California. The building, located on the southeastern edge of campus, contains faculty offices, classrooms, and laboratories for the College of Engineering, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and the Department of Computer and Information Sciences.

The optional cooperative education program was initiated in 1983 and the first group of cooperative education students graduated in 1986. In 2003, the Computer Engineering program was accredited. The college added a fifth program, Bioengineering, in the fall of 2017 and a sixth, Environmental Engineering, in the fall of 2019. Accreditation for these programs will occur after the first graduating class of each.

With the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic year, the Donald V. Fites Engineering Innovation Center, a new state-of-the-art facility, was made available to College of Engineering students. It honors one of Valparaiso University’s most prolific graduates for his contributions as CEO and Chairman of the Board for Caterpillar Incorporated. The Fites Center is an approximately 14,000 square foot high-performance building, which houses innovative laboratory, design, and meeting spaces that foster faculty-student interactions. In 2013, it was awarded LEED® Platinum established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings.

The James S. Markiewicz Manufacturing and Projects Center forms a physical link between the Gellersen Engineering and Mathematics Center to the north, and the Fites Center to the south. The Markiewicz Manufacturing and Projects Center includes the Projects Laboratory and the James S. Markiewicz Manufacturing Suite.

The James S. Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility became operational during the 2013-14 academic year. This facility provides engineering students with extraordinary laboratory and research experiences involving concentrated solar energy to create commodities and fuels.

Both the Manufacturing Projects Center and the Solar Energy Research Facility are named after James S. Markiewicz, ‘72 ME, whose generosity made these spaces possible.

College Organization

Administratively, the college is an instructional unit under the direction of the dean. The six programs, Bioengineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, are directed by the faculty of the three engineering departments under the leadership of department chairs.


Bachelor of Science degree programs in Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc. www.abet.org. Bioengineering and Environmental Engineering will apply for accreditation in 2023.

Admission Requirements

The requirements for admission of first-year students to the college are listed on page 376 of this catalog. Students who do not meet the mathematics and science requirements for admission to the College of Engineering may be admitted to the Pre-Engineering Program in the College of Arts and Sciences as described on College of Arts and Sciences . Pre-engineers who pass PHYS 141  and MATH 126  or MATH 131  and have a grade point average of at least 2.000 in the three categories described on the Academic Policies section below may request admission to the College of Engineering.

Transfer Students

Academic work taken at other institutions is evaluated for advanced standing by the Office of the Registrar. The College of Engineering Assistant Dean for Student Success, in consultation with the appropriate department chair, determines which credits apply toward the major, and a Statement of Equivalence form is completed. Transfer students are urged to communicate with the chair of the department in which they hope to major prior to formally applying for admission to obtain a preliminary assessment of the duration of their plan of study.


Computers are very important tools for the professional practice of engineering. For engineering students, having their own computer is as important as having their own textbooks and calculator. All engineering students are required to have a personal computer available for use in their residence. Computer specifications can be found on the College of Engineering website under the “Computing in Engineering” section.

In addition to their own computer, students have direct access to a wide variety of computing environments, email, and the internet on the campus computing network. Network-connected computers for general student use are located in the Fites and Gellersen Centers and in other buildings across campus. In addition, work stations and personal computers containing software for engineering design, analysis, and simulation are located in various engineering laboratories. Residence halls have network access from individual rooms.

The First-Year Program

First-year engineering students begin their program of study with a schedule of courses that is consistent for all engineering majors. Coursework in a selected major begins in the second semester of the first year.

The Fundamentals of Engineering course (GE 100 ) is an integral part of the first-year program. The problem-based learning course focuses on the fundamental concepts of engineering, drawing on topics from each discipline and showing the interdisciplinary nature of the profession. This is accomplished through the design and development of two open-ended projects that the students work through in teams. Student mentors (i.e., our best students from previous classes) aid in the projects. The course also includes a once-a-week seminar, which features alumni and campus speakers to help them better understand the possible career paths available with an engineering degree.

Student Advisement

First year engineering students are advised by the CoE Assistant Dean and the Engineering Academic Advisor for the first three semesters of their program. During the fourth semester, the student is assigned a faculty advisor from the department they are majoring in. This faculty advisor will help them prepare for their junior and senior years, as well as transition to graduate school or the workforce.

Herman and Helen Hesse Learning Resource Center

Staffed by a team of engineering peer tutors, the Hesse Learning Resource Center provides academic support and resources for all students taking classes included in the engineering program. Located in GEM 121, the Hesse Center promotes student success through walk-in peer tutoring, course-specific help sessions, personalized tutoring schedules, and academic coaching for students in academic recovery.

Senior Project

All students in their senior year are required to complete a major design project. Students are organized into multidisciplinary teams to plan, organize, execute, present, and document multidisciplinary design projects under the supervision of the faculty.

Professional Licensure

Licensure of those who wish to practice professional engineering is required by law in each of the states and the District of Columbia. The purpose of the law is to assure the general public that those professing to practice engineering have been examined and accepted by a State Board of Examiners. Graduate engineers will be able to more fully practice engineering if they are licensed as a Professional Engineer. Licensing requires passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Examination typically followed by four years of engineering experience, after which the candidate can sit for the Practice of Engineering (PE) Examination. Senior engineering students are provided with information about the licensing process and an invitation, which they are urged to accept, to take the FE Examination during their senior year. The FE exam is administered at an area testing center in an online environment.

Student Professional and Service Organizations

To heighten student interest in the profession of engineering and in activities of the College of Engineering student body, the college provides general interest programs for all engineering students and sponsors social and recreational activities. Upon selecting a major, students are encouraged to join the student chapter of the related professional society. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) all have active student chapters on campus.

The College of Engineering supports other organizations of interest to its students. These include the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) student chapter. In alignment with the University’s and College of Engineering’s mission statements to develop servant leaders, the Engineers Without BordersTM (EWB) - Valparaiso Chapter was formed in the spring of 2002. In 2015, that organization was expanded to form the campus-wide service group, Working Across Vocations Everywhere Through Service (WAVES). The students have also formed a University organization called Valpo Robotics. The goal of this organization is to design and build robots for various competitions (Robotic Football, Vex Robotics, etc.).

Junior and senior students who have distinguished themselves by high scholarship, exemplary character, unselfish activity, and breadth of interest in their profession may be elected to membership in Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society.

Sophomore, junior, and senior students majoring in Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering who have distinguished themselves by high scholarship, character, and attitude may be elected to membership in Eta Kappa Nu, the national Electrical and Computer Engineering honor society.


The Career Center arranges on-campus interviews with a variety of employers who are interested in hiring our graduates. Comprehensive services are also available to assist students seeking employment opportunities with organizations which do not interview on campus. Assistance is also available within and outside the College of Engineering for students wishing to find graduate study opportunities, cooperative education positions, summer employment, or part-time employment during the school year. Resource libraries provide information on employment and graduate school opportunities throughout the United States.

Special Programs of the College of Engineering

Cooperative Education

The Cooperative Education Program provides an optional five-year program for personal and career development, which integrates classroom theory with career-related work experience. Employment in a salaried position allows students to gain valuable experience, to test career interests and to apply classroom knowledge in an environment related to their professional degree areas. The cooperative education student acquires engineering experience through a planned and supervised program, which provides alternating periods of full-time campus study and full-time off campus employment with co-op partners throughout the United States. The initial work assignment normally starts during the summer after the sophomore year. Academic credit is earned for each work period. Students typically complete four or five summer and semester work sessions with the same employer. The Cooperative Education Program enhances the graduating engineer’s placement status, and some employers count the time served as a cooperative education student toward benefits provided to full-time employees. To participate in the program, students’ cumulative GPA must be 2.400 or higher.


The Engineering Internship Program is an optional program in which all engineering students in good standing, except those participating in the Cooperative Education Program, may participate during their summer breaks. Participation is typically limited to the summer between the freshman and sophomore years through the summer between the junior and senior years. Academic year internships may be accommodated on a case-by-case basis. Students interested in this program can earn up to three credit hours of academic credit for their participation in the program.

Interdisciplinary Studies

Programs can be arranged to meet special needs or interests of students studying engineering at Valparaiso University. Students interested in career fields such as electromechanical or chemical engineering can enrich their engineering programs by careful selection of electives. These programs involve replacing technical, professional, and free electives with courses from other disciplines. Each student plans a program of study in consultation with a faculty advisor.

Engineering and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) Program

An engineering student interested in acquiring business, values-based leadership, and entrepreneurial acumen to augment their engineering skillset should consider pursuing the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with an Engineering Management concentration. Through careful academic advising and proper selection of either a Business Administration minor or a Fundamentals of Business minor, an engineering student can complete an engineering degree and the MBA in five years. Interested students should speak with their academic advisor as early as possible when formulating their plan of study.

Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE) Program

While housed in the College of Business, the Integrated Business and Engineering program is offered jointly through the College of Engineering and College of Business. Students complete coursework in engineering, business, and general studies that leads to a business degree. Along with the degree, students can earn an engineering minor and a business minor of their choice. For more information about the IBE, please refer to the College of Business section of the catalog.

Engineering Plus (ENG+) Program

The Engineering Plus program provides an intentional pathway for College of Engineering students to earn an engineering degree plus a major or minor in another area and still graduate in four years. If a student does not have any AP credit, the pathway includes nine credit hours of coursework in the summer after the student’s first year to ensure completion on time. For information on what majors and minors are available in the ENG+ program, please contact your department chair.

KEEN Network

The College of Engineering is a member of the KEEN Network of engineering schools whose focus is to develop the entrepreneurial mindset in all undergraduate engineering students. The college is committed to embedding core components of KEEN’s entrepreneurial mindset (curiosity, connections, and creating value) throughout the curricula of all programs.

Majors and Minors

An engineering student may earn multiple majors or minors by satisfying catalog course and credit requirements for each major or minor. Each major will require at least one course (of at least three credits) in addition to all coursework presented for the engineering degree. Each minor will require at least one course (of at least three credits) above any and all coursework presented for the engineering degree or for another minor. The extra course must be numbered 200 or higher. The use of engineering courses that are cross-listed or that have equivalent course content with courses required for the major or minor is established by official action of the other college. The major or minor will be noted on the student’s official academic record.

Departmental Minors

Any student seeking further breadth in their plan of study may earn one or more minors within the College of Engineering. The following minors are available: bioengineering, civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical engineering. See the requirements for each in their respective departmental listing.

Engineering Minor

The Engineering Minor offers non-engineering students an introduction to areas of engineering. This minor is especially appropriate for students with an interest in pursuing a career in an engineering related field. This minor would be of interest to science students who need an approved minor to graduate (see Bachelor of Science Degree (124 Cr.) ). The College of Engineering assistant dean for student success will serve as the advisor.

A minimum of 18 credit hours of engineering courses is required for this minor. Of these, at least 9 credits must be from 200-level or higher courses. GE 100  may not be included, and credit will not be given for both CE 334  and ME 373 , for both ECE 261 and ECE 281 , and for both CE 212  and ME 252 . Students must satisfy course prerequisites. The program of study must be approved by the student’s academic advisor.

Double Degree Program

Some students wish to obtain a second engineering degree, a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Arts and Sciences or the College of Business, in addition to their first degree in engineering. In general, this will require an additional year or more of study. To earn two degrees, students must earn at least 157 credit hours and attain a grade point average of at least 2.000, as well as complete all other graduation requirements for each degree independently. Please refer to the University policy regarding second degrees under the Academic Policies .

Honors College

Students invited to participate in the program of Christ College take all required engineering courses, as well as courses required in the honors program. Because Christ College courses replace certain non-engineering courses, the College of Engineering-Christ College combination normally requires only four years for completion. Christ College courses provide an enriched program in the humanities and satisfy General Education Requirements for the engineering program. Academic advisors are assigned for both the College of Engineering and Christ College. Engineering students invited to join Christ College are strongly urged to accept the invitation.

International Experiences

Various optional programs are available through which engineering students may obtain improved understanding of and appreciation for the history, geography, language, culture, and engineering practices of other nations. In addition to the study opportunities described beginning on pages 12 and 18 of this catalog, engineering students are permitted to arrange an international cooperative education assignment. A semester abroad opportunity in Reutlingen, Germany for mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering students is available during the first semester of a student’s junior year. A four-week summer study abroad experience is also available for engineers in Reutlingen, Germany and will be offered on an annual or bi-annual basis.

Valparaiso University International Engineering Programs (VIEP)

VIEP is a five-year program that combines a major in one of the four engineering fields with a major or minor in German (VIEP German), French (VIEP - French), Spanish (VIEP - Spanish) or a minor in Chinese (VIEP in China). The program allows students to gain multicultural experience and language proficiency along with technical engineering skills and prepares them for careers with one of many international firms located in the United States and around the world.

VIEP-German: Students are required to fulfill all requirements for one of the six engineering majors; take at least one 3- or 4credit German language course per semester beginning, at the latest, in the third semester; participate in the University’s Study Abroad Program in Reutlingen, Germany, in the seventh semester; work in a cooperative education placement in Germany during the eighth semester and the ensuing summer; and reside in the Kade-Duesenberg German House and Cultural Center for at least two semesters.

VIEP-French: Students are required to fulfill all requirements for one of the six engineering majors; take at least one 3- or 4credit French language course per semester beginning, at the latest, in the third semester; participate in the University’s Study Abroad Program in Compiègne, France, in the seventh semester and work in a cooperative education placement in France during the eighth semester and the ensuing summer.

VIEP-Spanish: Students are required to fulfill all requirements for one of the six engineering majors; take at least one Spanish language course per semester beginning, at the latest, in the third semester; participate in the University’s Study Abroad Program in Zaragoza, Spain, in the seventh semester; and work in a cooperative education placement in Spain during the eighth semester and ensuing summer.

VIEP in China: Students are required to fulfill all requirements for one of the six engineering majors; take at least one Chinese language course per semester beginning, at the latest, in the third semester; participate in the University’s Study Abroad Program in Hangzhou, China, in the seventh semester; and work in a cooperative education placement in China during the eighth semester and the ensuing summer.

VIEP-German, VIEP-French, VIEP-Spanish, and VIEP in China are coordinated jointly by the College of Engineering and the Department of World Languages and Cultures. Students who wish to enroll in one of the programs should see their engineering advisor and a German, French, Spanish, or Chinese instructor as early in the freshman year as possible.

Academic Policies

Graduation Requirements

Students must complete one of the prescribed engineering curricula as described in the departmental listings. These prescribed courses satisfy the general criteria for baccalaureate-level programs as defined by ABET. The evaluation of advanced standing of transfer students in the Statement of Equivalence is based on meeting these criteria. With the approval of the department chair, the requirement for GE 100  may be replaced by another approved course.

In addition to other requirements set forth beginning on Academic Policies  of this catalog, the student’s grade point average must meet the following minimums for all work taken at Valparaiso University:

  1. A cumulative GPA of 2.000 in all work.
  2. A cumulative GPA of 2.000 in mathematics and science courses that satisfy the major and minor requirements.
  3. A cumulative GPA of 2.000 in the engineering major. This includes courses identified with the student’s departmental prefix (i.e., CE, ECE, and ME, respectively), all general engineering courses (GE), and ECE 281  for ME majors. Computer Science courses are included in this category for Computer Engineering majors.

Academic Deficiency

Students whose cumulative resident grade point average in any of the three categories listed above under Graduation Requirements falls below 2.000 are considered academically deficient. Such students may be denied the privilege of continuing their studies by being suspended from the College of Engineering unless they succeed in improving the quality of their work to the satisfaction of the faculty during the following semester. These students are considered to be on probation and may be required by their department to take certain prescribed courses and meet specific standards in order to continue their enrollment in the college. It is the policy of the College of Engineering that suspended students may not request reinstatement for one calendar year. If you are reinstated in the College of Engineering and your cumulative resident grade point average in any of the three categories falls below 2.000 after subsequent semesters, you may be suspended from the college immediately.

Guest Policy

A student not pursuing an engineering major or minor may take one engineering course per semester or summer session. Written recommendation from the department chair and approval of the dean is needed to take two or more courses. Students who have been suspended from the College of Engineering, and are presently enrolled in one of the other colleges, may not enroll in an engineering course unless they have completed the course at an earlier date with an unsatisfactory grade (lower than C-) or have approval of the department chair. Courses that are cross-listed with departments in the other colleges and taken while on academic suspension may not be used to satisfy College of Engineering degree requirements, unless approved by the dean of Engineering.

General Engineering

Assistant Dean for Student Success & Director, Hesse Center Laura L. Sanders.

See College of Arts and Sciences  for the number of credit hours that may be applied toward a degree in the College of Arts and Sciences.



Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering

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