Apr 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
    
2023-2024 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, multidimensional 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. 

A key component of our commitment to the development of our students’ humanity and skill as practicing engineers are our Engineering Design for Service classes (ENGR 279 and 379). These classes represent a unique and holistic opportunity where students learn and grow by doing, synergizing their technical skills with life experience and non-technical coursework.  Specifically, the Design for Service classes present students with an open-ended technical challenge that will serve a need in the local community or society at large. Leveraging the context of engineering design, the classes require students to contemplate the implications of their Catholic and Franciscan education by crafting a solution that is appropriate to both the technical and social requirements of the challenge. These classes, steppingstones to the senior capstone design project, are integral to the vision of a Catholic and Franciscan General Engineering program. 

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; upper-level engineering electives are available through the General Engineering student’s selection of a minor, fostering applied, technical problem-solving abilities in a student’s chosen specialty. 

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 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.  

Minors in General Engineering 

General Engineering majors are required to choose either from one of the minors housed within the program or, with permission from their advisor and department chair, may select a minor or a double major that best suits their professional interests.

The Mechanical Engineering Minor 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 Minor 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 Minor 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 Minor offers an exciting path for General Engineers interested in leaving the beaten path and forging their own direction. This minor, which includes several courses in the Shields School of Business, develops in the General Engineer both entrepreneurship and innovative practices in traditional and technical areas. Graduates of this minor are well equipped for careers in consulting or in developing new technologies or new technical startup companies.

The Aeronautics Minor 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 minor 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: (79 credits)


Courses Required for a Minor: (15 or more credits)


Choose one of the following minors:

  • Mechanical Engineering Minor 
  • Computational Modeling Minor 
  • Robotics Minor 
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship Minor 
  • Aeronautics Minor 
  • Or a minor or double major pre-approved by your Engineering Advisor and department chair 

Mechanical Engineering Minor: (17 credits)


The Mechanical Engineering Minor 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. 

Computational Modeling Minor: (16 credits)


The Computational Modeling Minor 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. 

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Minor: (15 credits)


The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Minor offers an exciting path for General Engineers interested in leaving the beaten path and forging their own direction. This minor, which includes several courses in the Shields School of Business, develops in the General Engineer both entrepreneurship and innovative practices in traditional and technical areas. Graduates of this minor are well equipped for careers in consulting or in developing new technologies or new technical startup companies. 

Robotics Minor: (17 credits)


The Robotics Minor 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. 

Aeronautics Minor: (16 credits)


The Aeronautics Minor 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 minor and acquire the training to obtain both their instrument and commercial pilot’s licenses while at Saint Francis University. 

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