School of Engineering

Description of B.S.E. Program

B.S.E. Degree Goal and Objectives

The goal of the B.S.E. degree program 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 traditional engineering disciplines: computer, electrical, manufacturing or mechanical engineering; or they may pursue an interdisciplinary emphasis tailored to their specific educational needs.

The program objectives for attaining this goal 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; (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. All students' 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. Woven throughout the curriculum is a series of exercises that addresses environmentally responsible design.

Industry Involvement

Grand Valley's B.S.E. degree program has 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 program is 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 program is 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 with an advisor can be arranged by contacting the School of Engineering. Students who have declared engineering as their major are assigned an academic advisor 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. In addition, it is recommended that the student develop keyboarding skills, mechanical CAD skills, and a familiarity with mechanical tools. Students having little or no experience with hand and shop tools are encouraged to complete EGR 105 Product Design and Prototyping.

Properly prepared students can complete the B.S.E. program in four calendar years. Students who are not prepared to begin the B.S.E. program 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.


Students with no previous college credit, or those who have not completed the 64-semester-hour engineering foundations course sequence, are admitted to the School of Engineering as pre-majors. The engineering foundations course sequence spans the freshman and sophomore years and develops the fundamental knowledge on which an engineering emphasis is built.

Each year the School of Engineering admits a select few 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 they will need to apply to the School of Engineering using the normal admission process.

Students who intend to pursue the B.S.E. degree are urged to declare engineering as their major as soon as possible, preferably before they first register for courses at Grand Valley. Students must formally declare engineering as their 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 is competitive and 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 pre-major engineering foundations course sequence. Once admitted to major standing in the B.S.E. program, 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 from the School of Engineering office. Notification letters are issued no later than the second week of the winter semester.

Cooperative Education

Cooperative engineering education in industry typically begins during the spring/summer semester following admission to major standing in the B.S.E. program. Students then alternate periods of cooperative education with periods of academic study for the next 20 months. The cooperative education cycle provides the student with 1,500 to 2,000 hours of work experience.

Placement of students in cooperative education is made through the Career Services office. Students must enroll in EGR 289 during the fall semester for placement in the following spring/summer semester. 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 placement process, do not obtain positive evaluations during their cooperative educational 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.

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Page last modified January 21, 2010