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Grand Valley State University    
  Feb 23, 2018
2013-2014 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Interdisciplinary Engineering Major

The Interdisciplinary Engineering program allows the student to focus his/her studies in a disciplinary area that may not match cleanly with existing programs. These are often in areas of emerging technologies. Plans of study for such students often include coursework outside of engineering.

The Interdisciplinary program maintains the educational philosophy of all B.S.E. degree programs at Grand Valley to provide the student with a broad engineering background first and then an area of specialization later in the program. This provides students with the diversity of preparation to work in the interdisciplinary environment that is prevalent today.

Integral to all four years of the program is a “design and build” educational philosophy incorporated through extensive laboratory and project activities as preparation for professional practice. Students engage in design at all levels of the curriculum. At each level they must realize their designs and proceed with testing, validation, and redesign. This approach allows students to experience many real world constraints such as project economics, project planning and scheduling, environmental considerations, manufacturability/productibility of the designs, laboratory and product safety, and product reliability.

The interdisciplinary program provides the student with the broad foundation common to all of the engineering programs at Grand Valley, followed in the junior and senior years by required courses providing preparation in each of the following areas:

  • Energy 
  • Engineering design
  • Systems and Control

This core is then complemented by a custom program of seven courses selected by the student and appropriate program chair to provide focus and a cohesive experience. The proposed electives must ensure the program includes:

  • 32 credits of engineering science content
  • 16 credits of engineering design content

Together, the student and a faculty advisor develop a proposed plan of study meeting the requirements of the interdisciplinary engineering program. If the plan includes coursework to be taken from outside the School of Engineering, then the chair of the appropriate unit is consulted. The plan must be approved by the School of Engineering faculty.


The Interdisciplinary Engineering major is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

Program Educational Objectives

  1. The graduate will be able to apply in the work place the technical knowledge and capabilities appropriate to practicing engineers, specifically in the areas of:
    • Systems and Control
    • Energy
    • Engineering Design
    • An interdisciplinary engineering field
  2. The graduate will be able to function effectively in an industrial environment. He or she will have attained an ability to communicate effectively, engage in critical thinking, and apply highly developed skill in problem solving (in both individual and team situations).
  3. The graduate will have attained an ability to apply engineering knowledge and generate physical realizations of his / her theoretical concepts and models.
  4. The graduate will have demonstrated an ability to engage in engineering design.
  5. The graduate will have achieved an awareness of the need for continued professional growth.
  6. The graduate will have developed an awareness of, and sensitivity to, those areas in which engineering practice affects society and the environment. Extending beyond technical knowledge to include ethical and social responsibility, such awareness will have framed the graduate’s continued professional and scholarly growth.

Program Outcomes and Assessment

The graduate will demonstrate:

  1. an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering,
  2. an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data,
  3. an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs,
  4. an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams,
  5. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems,
  6. an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility,
  7. an ability to communicate effectively,
  8. the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context,
  9. a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning,
  10. a knowledge of contemporary issues, and
  11. an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.


Degree Requirements

Interdisciplinary engineering students must complete all requirements for the B.S.E. degree including the general education and basic skills requirements, the foundations of engineering courses, cooperative education, the engineering design Capstone and the following engineering courses:

Elective Courses—25–28 credits required (seven courses):

The student and his or her faculty advisor are required to develop a cohesive plan of electives that addresses the intent of the interdisciplinary field of interest. This plan must:

  • Be approved by the faculty of the School of Engineering.
  • Ensure that the program includes not less than 16 credits of engineering design.
  • Ensure that the program includes not less than 32 credits of engineering science.

Sample Curriculum for the Junior and Senior Years of the Interdisciplinary Engineering Major

First Co-op Semester: Spring/Summer

Second Co-op Semester: Winter


Sixth Academic Semester: Spring/Summer

  • General Education (Arts)
  • Interdisciplinary Engineering Elective
  • Interdisciplinary Engineering Elective
  • Interdisciplinary Engineering Elective

Third Co-op Semester: Fall


Seventh Academic Semester: Winter

The prerequisite for EGR 485 is “Completion of the required courses listed under the student’s engineering major”. For the Interdisciplinary Engineering major, these required courses are: EGR 360 & EGR 390.


Eighth Academic Semester: Spring/Summer

Engineering Program Description

Click here for the program description.