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Grand Valley State University    
2011-2012 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog 
  Aug 21, 2018
2011-2012 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

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.

Director: Iannelli. Professors: Anyalebechi, Farris, Fleischmann, Garrett, Iannelli, Jack, Johnson, Standridge, Sterian; Associate Professors: Adamczyk, Barakat, Choudhuri, Dunne, Jiao, Mohammadzadeh, Rahman, Sozen; Assistant Professors: Ashby, Bossemeyer, Chaphalkar, Corneal, Joo, Lu, Mokhtar, Parikh, Pawloski, Plouff, Pung, Rhodes.

Mission and Values Statements

Mission: Our mission is to prepare students to assume engineering positions in industry with the potential to advance to leadership positions. It is the mission of the faculty to provide a curriculum, which is relevant to current engineering practice and strongly applied in nature. The faculty provides an environment in which students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the engineering design challenges of the future with flexibility and creativity. Students develop technical competency through classroom/laboratory work and through the supervised on-site work experience provided in the student’s industry experience.

Our mission is fulfilled by commitment to continual improvement and refinement through critical review. Such review requires both close contact with current engineering practice and a commitment to those elements of a general education program required for a well-balanced education. For this reason faculty involvement with the student industry experience and with consulting practice is strongly encouraged. At the same time close communication with the academic community at large ensures that the students’ technical education is embedded in a strongly supportive general education program.

Values: Our values reflect our educational mission. We are an academic community in a nation for which the intrinsic value of each individual is taken as fundamental. Thus we strive to provide an environment in which each member of our academic community—student, staff member, and faculty—can reach his or her fullest potential.

Just as we value each individual in our community, we value the environment in which we live. The engineering community strongly influences the environment through the practice of its profession. For that reason we strive to build into our curriculum an awareness of, and sensitivity to, those areas in which engineering practice affects the environment. Such awareness extends beyond technical knowledge to include ethical responsibility in the practice of our profession.


Undergraduate Engineering Degree Programs

The School of Engineering offers a four-year program 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 courses fundamental to engineering in preparation for admission to the B.S.E. degree in their major area and cooperative education experience in 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 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.

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 emphasize 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 (1) have the technical knowledge and capabilities expected of a practicing engineer appropriate to the discipline; (2) be able to function effectively in an industrial environment. He or she must have the ability to communicate effectively, engage in critical thinking, and have highly developed skills in problem solving in both individual and team situations; (3) have the ability to apply engineering knowledge and be able to create physical realizations of his or her theoretical concepts and models; (4) have the ability to engage in engineering design; (5) have an awareness of the need for continued professional growth; and (6) have an awareness of, and sensitivity to, those areas in which engineering practice affects society and the environment. Such awareness, extending beyond technical knowledge to include ethical and social responsibility, must frame the continued professional and scholarly growth of the graduate.

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 the use of activities such as design projects, materials selection exercises, and quality assurance methods. Building upon the engineering science and design developed in the first two years and the experience gained in the integrated cooperative education program, substantially more mature design experiences begin 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. Individuals and industries in Michigan have supported the program financially as well as by providing opportunities for cooperative engineering education. The programs are served by an Industrial Advisory board composed of engineering leaders and others in the field. Additionally, Grand Valley’s Career Services Office also provides liaison between the engineering program and industry.

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 professional advising staff of student services for the first two years and then from the faculty of the School of Engineering.

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 and Analytic Geometry 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.

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 will be reclassified as pre-majors and need to apply to the School of Engineering via the normal admission process.

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.

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, 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.

Admission is based upon no more than one repeat per required course in the premajor engineering foundations course sequence. 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 issued no later than the second week of the winter semester.


The Computer Engineering Major is accredited under the General Criteria and the Computer Engineering Criteria by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050 Baltimore, MD 21202-4012 - telephone: (410) 337-7700,

The Electrical Engineering Major is accredited under the General Criteria and Electrical Engineering Criteria by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012 - telephone: (410) 347-7700,

The  Interdisciplinary Engineering Major is accredited under the General Criteria by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050 Baltimore, MD 21202-4012 - telephone: (410) 337-7700,

The Mechanical Engineering Major is accredited under the General Criteria and Mechanical Engineering Criteria by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012 - telephone: (410) 347-7700,

The Product Design & Manufacturing Engineering Major is accredited under the General Criteria and Manufacturing Engineering Criteria by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012 - telephone: (410) 347-7700,

The Engineering Profession and Career Opportunities

Engineers apply science, mathematics, and professional judgment to solve technical problems in industry and society. They design and develop products, processes, services and systems. Engineers test, produce, operate, maintain, sell, install and manage products and systems. Many work in public health, transportation and environmental protection.

In today’s world, engineers are expected to contribute more than technical competence. As professionals, engineers are concerned with the impact of their work on society and the changing values and priorities of society. The current emphasis on science and technology has increased public interest in engineering education as a general preparation for living as well as earning a living. To deal effectively with rapid changes in technology, engineers must have a broad undergraduate education firmly based upon the basic sciences and embedded within a supportive liberal education program. Engineers must have the ability to visualize a problem in its total context.

The need for broadly educated engineering graduates is very high and is expected to grow rapidly during the next decade. Demand varies depending on location, type of local industry, and the economy. West Michigan is one of the largest technical, manufacturing, and industrial regions of the state.

Graduate School Opportunities

The Bachelor of Science in Engineering program prepares students for engineering practice as well as graduate studies. Many of our graduates continue their education on a part time basis while holding full time employment. Some of our graduating seniors enroll in full time graduate programs and have enjoyed success at universities such as George Washington and Notre Dame.

Participating Programs

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 consisting of three semesters of work within an applied engineering environment. The program is designed to provide the student with depth of experience with one host/employee (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 and academia. Grand Valley will make a strong 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 acceptable 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.

Student Organizations (

American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME)
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc (IEEE)
National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
Society of Automotive Engineer (SAE) Mini Baja Team
Society Manufacturing Engineering (SME)
Society of Women in Engineering (SWE)

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  

Graduate Certificate in Management