College of Engineering Office of the Registrar University of Texas at Austin
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Undergraduate Catalog | 2006-2008
College of Engineering
page 1 of 17 in Chapter 6
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6. College of Engineering

Ben G. Streetman, PhD, PE
David S. Dolling, PhD, PE
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Randall J. Charbeneau, PhD, PE
Associate Dean
Alvin H. Meyer, PhD, PE
Associate Dean
Cynthia M. Brown, BBA, CPA
Assistant Dean
Tricia Gore, MEd
Assistant Dean
John C. Halton III, MA
Assistant Dean
Web site

General Information


The College of Engineering was established in 1884 as the Department of Engineering, an outgrowth of work in applied mathematics first offered in the Department of Literature, Science, and Arts. The first degree in engineering, a Bachelor of Science with a major in civil engineering, was conferred in 1888. Civil engineering degrees have been conferred since 1894 and electrical engineering degrees since 1896.

Degrees in architecture were conferred in the College of Engineering from 1909 through 1951, when the School of Architecture became an autonomous division of the University. Degrees in chemical engineering have been conferred since 1916; degrees in mechanical engineering since 1919; degrees in architectural engineering since 1928; degrees in petroleum engineering since 1931; degrees in aeronautical engineering from 1943 to 1959 and in aerospace engineering since 1960; degrees in ceramic engineering from 1948 to 1961; degrees in meteorology from 1951 to 1963; degrees in geosystems engineering and hydrogeology, offered jointly with the College of Natural Sciences, since 1996; and undergraduate degrees in biomedical engineering beginning in 2002. A degree in engineering science was offered from 1960 until 1988.

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Engineering Education

The mission of the College of Engineering is to achieve excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research, and public service. The college strives to provide an educational experience that inspires students to reach for the highest levels of intellectual attainment and personal growth throughout their lives, to provide a scholarly and professional environment that enables students and faculty members to make lasting contributions to the advancement of knowledge and the creative practice of engineering, to engage in service that enhances the public's understanding of technology and facilitates the use of technology for the betterment of society, and to lead the nation in providing equality of opportunity for engineering education.

Engineering education affords individuals the opportunity to prepare themselves for life in an era when human well-being depends more than ever before on the ability to apply technology for the benefit of society. It has become clear that in producing the goods and services demanded by an expanding population, we must consider the effects of technology on the environment. Solution of many of the problems faced by society today will involve a high level of technology.

Engineers are involved with all the devices and systems made by and for people—buildings and factories, transportation and communication systems, equipment for generating and distributing electrical energy, computers and electronic devices; indeed, all of the manufactured products we see around us. Engineers of diverse backgrounds working together and with other professionals have produced heart pumps, surgical lasers, robotics for manufacturing and construction, polymers, safer and more efficient nuclear reactors, advances in space research and in environmental protection, safe and attractive bridges, satellites and telecommunication systems, and small but powerful computers. Just as much of the technology being applied today has been developed within the past ten years, the solution of tomorrow's problems will require the development of new technology through engineering research.

In addition to its traditional function of giving men and women the opportunity to prepare for careers as professional engineers, the College of Engineering also has a second function: providing the opportunity to acquire a technical background to students who plan to continue their education in areas such as business, public affairs, law, medicine, and scientific disciplines related to engineering. The engineering faculty willingly accepts its obligation to enhance cooperation between engineers and others working to improve the quality of life.

The College of Engineering is organized into academic departments that offer a variety of degrees. Although there are distinct differences among the degree programs, they have much in common; all are based on a foundation of mathematics, natural sciences, and basic engineering subjects. Following the development of an adequate foundation during the first two years, an engineering student begins concentrated study in a particular area. During the senior year the student delves into practical engineering problems, developing skills in defining a problem, translating available information into equations that can be analyzed logically, creating additional information when necessary, and choosing a course of action that has a reasonable chance of producing the desired results.

The college seeks to give students the knowledge necessary to take advantage of opportunities in a number of areas. The engineer who begins a professional career immediately following graduation usually will find opportunity for a variety of responsible positions in industry and government. The first assignments usually are of a technical nature. Later, one may choose to become a technical specialist or to move into positions involving administration and management. Either choice can lead to a rewarding professional career.

Many engineering graduates elect to continue their education. Studies by the American Society for Engineering Education indicate that nearly 50 percent of all engineering graduates eventually earn a master's degree. Most do their graduate work in engineering, either in a professional program where advanced design techniques are emphasized or in a graduate school where the emphasis is on research. Others elect to enroll in graduate programs in other disciplines. The flexibility to accommodate a broad spectrum of educational objectives has been incorporated into the degree structure of the College of Engineering through technical area options and electives that permit students to define programs of study that best suit their needs.

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Instructional Facilities

The College of Engineering occupies five buildings on the central campus, with a total of 927,000 square feet for classrooms, laboratories, and offices. The Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory and a substantial number of other engineering research laboratory facilities are housed at the J. J. Pickle Research Campus, about six miles north of the central campus.

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The University Libraries, one of the largest academic libraries in the United States, includes the Perry-Castañeda Library, the Tarlton Law Library, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, and several branch libraries and special collections. The units together house more than six million volumes, covering almost all fields of academic and scientific research.

The Richard W. McKinney Engineering Library, a branch of the University Libraries located in Ernest Cockrell Jr. Hall, supports teaching and research in all fields offered by the college. Extensive facilities are available for computer retrieval of technical literature. Special files include manufacturing catalogs, industry standards, United States patents, and selected technical material issued by NASA and other government agencies.

Other branch libraries of special interest to engineers are the Architecture and Planning Library, the Mallet Chemistry Library (which includes chemical engineering), the Walter Geology Library, the Kuehne Physics Mathematics Astronomy Library, and the Life Science Library.

All units of the University Libraries offer reference services, circulation and reserve, access to computer-based information and electronic media, and interlibrary loan services.

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Office of Student Affairs

The mission of the Office of Student Affairs (SAO) is to serve the University and the public by helping to recruit, retain, and graduate engineering students. The office aims to accomplish this mission by providing personal and responsive guidance and support throughout each student's University experience. The staff strives to provide a foundation for students to develop successful lives, careers, and long-term relationships with the University.

The SAO represents the Office of the Dean in student matters. Academic advisers and SAO staff members are available to assist students in the following areas: adding, dropping, and withdrawing; application to take less than fourteen hours; application to take more than seventeen hours; concurrent enrollment approval; correspondence course approval; course selection for new students; crisis intervention; degree holder/nondegree seeker; engineering loans; extension course approval; final degree audits; First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs); supplemental instruction courses; grade change processing; graduation; the Engineering Honors Program; internal transfer application (change of major); major sequence application; new student orientation; probation and dismissal; prospective student visits; recruitment; resource referral; students with disabilities; and global educational opportunities.

The SAO also serves as a clearinghouse for information about the college and the University. Students may seek assistance in person in Ernest Cockrell Jr. Hall 2.200, by phone at (512) 471-4321, or by e-mail at The SAO also provides information online.

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Engineering Students with Disabilities

The coordinator of the Engineering Students with Disabilities Program (ESD) assists students with disabilities to meet the challenges of their academic programs. The coordinator works with students, faculty members, and administrators to remove barriers that limit qualified people in their pursuit of educational goals. Confidentiality and privacy are respected. Students must be registered with Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) in the Office of the Dean of Students every semester in which they wish to receive accommodations and services. Information about registration is available from SSD in Student Services Building 4.104 and at (512) 471-6259. The ESD coordinator is available in Ernest Cockrell Jr. Hall 2.200 and at (512) 471-4321. Students can also find information about the ESD online.

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Global Engineering Education

Each semester, a growing number of students in the College of Engineering pursue interests in traveling abroad and studying in a foreign country. Practicing engineers who are undergraduates today are likely to work with foreign nationals and to be involved professionally in international projects. There are several programs that allow students to take courses that will count toward their degrees. Some programs require proficiency in a foreign language, while others allow for study in English.

Students are able to earn a certificate in international engineering studies (IES) by completing the following requirements:

  1. Students must apply to the IES program through the Office of Student Affairs.
  2. As part of the application, the student must submit an IES program plan for approval by the Office of Student Affairs. The plan must provide for the student to complete at least three of the following requirements:
    1. Language training
    2. Study of local culture
    3. Academic courses in engineering
    4. Work experience or internship

For more information, contact the Global Engineering Education Adviser, Ernest Cockrell Jr. Hall 2.200, or see

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Engineering Career Assistance Center

The College of Engineering assists students as they pursue professional career opportunities through the Engineering Career Assistance Center (ECAC). The Career Center helps to prepare engineering students for the job search through counseling, workshops, and a comprehensive on-campus recruiting program. Students should register with the ECAC in August each academic year to receive full benefit of the center's services.

Located in Ernest Cockrell Jr. Hall 2.400, the Engineering Career Assistance Center hosts as many as twenty-three interviewers daily throughout the fall and spring recruiting seasons. Interviewers represent hundreds of companies seeking graduates, co-op students, and summer interns in all engineering disciplines to fill positions worldwide.

ECAC offers individual career counseling services to engineering students on a walk-in basis or by appointment. Topics addressed in individual counseling sessions and workshops include résumé and letter writing, interviewing skills, dressing for success, site visits, salary negotiation, online job searches, and other career issues.

Contact the Career Center at (512) 471-1915 or

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Cooperative Engineering Education Program

The Cooperative Engineering Education (Co-op) Program is an academic program that allows undergraduate students to obtain full-time engineering experience before they graduate. Students gain quality work experience directly related to their field of engineering by alternating semesters of full-time campus study with training in industry.

Students should apply for the Co-op Program in Ernest Cockrell Jr. Hall 2.400 at least one semester before planning to begin a Co-op work term. Students may apply for the first work term after completing twenty-eight semester hours of basic sequence coursework, which must include eight hours each of physics and calculus, and coursework in the selected engineering discipline. Students must have a University grade point average of at least 2.50, a grade point average of at least 2.00 in the major area of study, and at least twelve semester hours of degree-applicable coursework left to complete after the final Co-op term. Transfer students may apply for the program after one semester at the University.

To realize the full academic and professional value of the Co-op Program, the student must complete either the two-semester or the three-semester cooperative work term. The student is then eligible to receive two or three hours of letter-grade credit that may be applied toward the engineering degree as a technical elective.

Contact the Co-op office at (512) 471-5954 or at

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Equal Opportunity in Engineering Program

The Equal Opportunity in Engineering Program (EOE) seeks to promote academic excellence by providing tutoring and research opportunities to all engineering students. Students from groups that traditionally have been underrepresented in the engineering profession, such as African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, may benefit particularly from the program. EOE encourages community support and student involvement in the promotion of academic excellence by conducting mentoring programs.

EOE also promotes career and professional development by providing engineering students contact with industry and federal and state agencies. These contacts can help students find summer, co-op, and permanent employment.

In addition, EOE works to encourage precollege students to pursue careers in engineering through outreach initiatives.

For more information about EOE programs, contact the EOE office at (512) 471-5953 or visit

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Engineering Scholarship Program

Information regarding undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, and other financial resources available to students in the College of Engineering can be found by visiting, by e-mailing, or by visiting the Engineering Scholarship Program in Ernest Cockrell Jr. Hall 2.106.

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Office of Student Life

The Office of Student Life provides a variety of student development programs for engineering students to create a sense of community in the college, to involve students in the life of the college, and to provide opportunities outside the classroom to help students develop skills in leadership, teamwork, and communication. To find out more about the Office of Student Life, visit Ernest Cockrell Jr. Hall 1.224 or

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Women in Engineering Program

The Women in Engineering Program (WEP) connects students to opportunities and careers in engineering and introduces them to mentors, peers, and resources in the field. The mission of WEP is to increase the overall percentage of women in the College of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. WEP strives to educate girls and women about engineering, inspire women to pursue the unlimited opportunities within the world of engineering, and empower women engineers to benefit society.

WEP provides a supportive structure to help women succeed in the College of Engineering and offers a wide variety of activities to help students meet other students and faculty members, form study groups, and explore engineering career options. Programs include first- and second-year programs, luncheons and dinners, workshops and seminars, and opportunities to meet corporate representatives.

Additional information is available in the WEP office, Ernest Cockrell Jr. Hall 2.108; by phone at (512) 471-5650; by e-mail at; and online at

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Research Organizations

Faculty members and students of the College of Engineering may participate in a wide variety of research projects conducted under the Bureau of Engineering Research. The bureau and its component research units are supported by federal, state, and industrial research contracts and grants that provide part-time employment for selected undergraduate and graduate students and for some faculty members. Over six hundred individual research projects are usually underway at any one time. In addition to providing students with experience in research methodology, these research projects enable faculty members to keep abreast of developments in their principal areas of interest.

Research units currently operating within the Bureau of Engineering Research are the Advanced Manufacturing Center; the Center for Aeromechanics Research; Computer Engineering Research Center; Center for Mechanics of Solids, Structures, and Materials; Construction Industry Institute; Center for Energy and Environmental Resources; Geotechnical Engineering Center; Microelectronics Research Center; Offshore Technology Research Center; Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering; Center for Space Research; Phil M. Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory; Center for Biological and Medical Engineering; Center for Transportation Research; Center for Excellence in Distributed Global Environments; and Center for Research in Water Resources.

The Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory is an academic unit of the College of Engineering. The Manufacturing Systems Center is an affiliated research center. Interdisciplinary research units operated cooperatively by the College of Engineering and other colleges are the Center for Vision and Image Sciences, Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, and Texas Materials Institute. Research organizations are located both on the central campus and at the J. J. Pickle Research Campus.

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Engineering Foundation

In 1955, the University's Board of Regents authorized establishment of the Engineering Foundation and the Engineering Foundation Advisory Council to promote academic excellence in engineering education. Since then, the generous contributions of alumni and individual and corporate friends of the college have enabled the Engineering Foundation to develop a program of excellence through the encouragement and support of innovation in teaching and research; the creation of academic and leadership enhancement programs for engineering students; the establishment of funds for scholarships and fellowships; the recognition of outstanding engineering faculty members with meritorious service awards; and the endowment of chairs, professorships, faculty fellowships, lectureships, and named rooms, laboratories, library collections, and book collections.

The Engineering Foundation office supports the work of the Engineering Foundation Advisory Council, a body of corporate leaders who volunteer to advise and assist the college. Through the Engineering Foundation, the college conducts fund-raising efforts in six areas of emphasis: corporate involvement and support; Friends of Alec (alumni support); student involvement through the Student Engineering Gift Campaign and the START (Student Alumni Relations Team) program (student-led fundraising); alumni relations; endowments; and bequests and estate planning. The staff of the Engineering Foundation coordinates these efforts, and the Engineering Foundation Advisory Council provides strategic leadership.

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Undergraduate Catalog | 2006-2008
College of Engineering
page 1 of 17 in Chapter 6
« prev | next »
College of Engineering Office of the Registrar University of Texas at Austin copyright 2006
Official Publications 15 Aug 2006