May 26, 2022  
2021-2022 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
    
2021-2022 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog

General Engineering, B.S.


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Department Contact:

Chair: Dr. Rachel Wagner, rwagner@francis.edu, 814-471-1215
Program Coordinator: Dr. Timothy Miller, tfmiller@francis.edu, 814-472-2706

Program Description:

In our technical society, the opportunity to make innovative contributions often lies at the intersection between different and sometimes seemingly unrelated disciplines. The ability for Saint Francis engineers to function at this interface is a major objective of the General Engineering program. Our engineers will be educated rigorously across a wide breadth of engineering topics. Our curriculum has a strong hands-on, cross-disciplinary team, and project-oriented focus. This breadth, flexibility, and interdisciplinary focus is what we like to call “nimbleness”. Nimbleness acts to not only promote innovative thought, but to enhance professional stability for our engineers because it is easier for organizations to adapt to rapidly changing situations if their engineers have multiple competencies. Another major objective of the General Engineering program comes from the recognition that our engineers will not function in a technology bubble within society. Saint Francis University’s strong liberal arts tradition and its portion of their curriculum is designed to ensure that students will be able to function in society as fully-developed, multi-dimensional human beings. Our commitment to our engineers’ development is also represented by the fact that they will be taught and mentored by professors and professional engineers and not in an ad hoc manner by graduate students.

The General Engineering B.S. degree is a four-year degree focused on broad application of engineering fundamentals with particular focus on problem solving and analytical skill building. Students are provided coursework in fundamentals of engineering and science with strong math and programming skills. This curriculum with its solid foundation in basic engineering and science is followed by more advanced focused engineering topics and a set of upper-level engineering electives and advanced math and science topics that foster the students applied technical problem-solving abilities.

The General Engineering major is a distinctive choice for the entering freshman engineering student who desires a broad exposure to experimental design, problem solving, teamwork, science, programming and math which is not possible when focusing on a particular single engineering discipline.  As a General Engineer, you will have stronger math and programming preparation, as well as a fuller treatment of science and the fundamentals of engineering. This major is designed to graduate an engineer with more broadly applicable skill sets in mathematics, computer science, science along with more fundamental engineering skills than can be afforded in a typical engineering discipline. Another particular advantage of the General Engineering major is it allows students to develop their interest in multiple disciplines of engineering if desired, allowing careers that need broad engineering education preparation or that are not confined to specific disciplines. The General Engineering major provides great flexibility of career choices and paths.  

Many entry-level position postings when searching for a job in engineering specify a particular sub-specialty-e.g., civil, mechanical, electrical, etc. Graduates from the general engineering program are in particular generalists with a depth of preparation in Mathematics, Computer Science and fundamental Engineering along with excellent technical and creative problem-solving skills that enables their entry into almost any engineering discipline. As in all engineering disciplines, internships and/or research experiences are encouraged.  

The General Engineering major also provides an excellent avenue to pursue graduate study in a discipline of engineering or other area. All General Engineers are well-grounded and gain broad exposure to experimental design, problem solving, teamwork, science, programming and math which are all highly sought in every engineering discipline. General Engineering majors choose from one of five areas of concentration to gain even further depth and skill in an area of interest.

The Mechanical Concentration prepares the General Engineer for a career or graduate school in areas more closely related to a traditional Mechanical Engineering major. Here the student will receive preparation and exposure to advanced topics in heat transfer and fluid mechanics, machine component design, and control theory. Students will gain experience in industry-standard finite-element and finite-volume computational methods used to simulate the behavior of structures and materials.

The Robotics Concentration prepares the General Engineer interested in robotics or autonomous systems (like self-driving cars) through dedicated courses in robotics, unmanned vehicles, robotic control, and autonomous systems. Advanced topics in the areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning for robotics systems will be explored.

The Computational Modeling Concentration should appeal to General Engineers with a desire to develop computational or numerical design programs that may be used by other engineering disciplines or concentrations (especially robotics and mechanical). Students gain adeptness in computational modeling skills, mathematical solution methodologies and specialized computer programming.

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Concentration offers an exciting path for General Engineers interested in leaving the beaten path and forging their own direction. This concentration develops in the General Engineer both entrepreneurship and innovative practices in traditional and technical areas. Graduates of this concentration are well equipped for careers in consulting or in developing new technologies or new technical startup companies.

The Aeronautics Concentration prepares the General Engineer for careers in areas related to mechanical engineering with a focus on the science and technical aspects of flight with the additional advantage of the student acquiring the education and flight training to earn a Private Pilot’s license. If a student desires, they may take additional coursework which is not in this concentration, and acquire the training to obtain both their instrument and commercial pilot’s licenses while at Saint Francis University. 

Student Learning Outcomes:

Each student will have demonstrated the proficiency in the following outcomes upon graduation with a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering:

  • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics;
  • an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors;
  • an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences;
  • an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts;
  • an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives;
  • an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions;
  • an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Capstone Requirement:

Students in the Bachelor of Science in General Engineering program are required to complete a capstone design experience by completing all of the following courses:

Estimated Completion Time:

Typically 4 years of full-time study

Total Credits Required:

136 credits minimum

Courses Required for the Major: (76 credits)


Courses Required for Concentration: (21 credits)


Choose one of the following concentrations:

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