Engineering@Iowa: A Profile

June 2015

The College of Engineering is one of 11 colleges that comprise The University of Iowa. With educational courses dating back over 100 years, the College today has an enrollment of about 2,400 students – over 2,100 of who are undergraduates. About 55 percent of undergraduate students come from the state of Iowa (80% from Iowa and Illinois), with the remaining 45% percent attending from contiguous states and abroad.

The College teaches undergraduate and graduate coursework in biomedical, chemical and biochemical, civil and environmental, electrical and computer, industrial, and mechanical engineering. The Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) has accredited all University of Iowa undergraduate engineering programs.

Engineering at Iowa is especially recognized for inspiring a personalized, student-oriented vision—coupled with the resources of a large research university. Most of our students come to the University of Iowa because they know with confidence that they want to become engineers, but they want to be something more. At Iowa, they can combine engineering with the University’s strengths in other colleges—with natural strengths in international studies, writing and communications, health sciences, business, law, arts and humanities. This makes the University of Iowa uniquely qualified to provide talented engineering students the type of broad technological education demanded in a rapidly changing world.

All the trend lines for the college are marching upward: Undergraduate enrollment has risen more than 75 percent, from 1,200 in 2005 to 2,120 in 2014. Faculty research productivity has increased from $240,000 per faculty member a decade ago to more than $600,000 today. There are new partnerships with industry and K–12 education, new programs in experiential learning and cross-campus collaboration, and new research in areas critical to quality of life in the 21st century.

The College is ranked among the top 20% of graduate and undergraduate colleges of engineering in the nation.

  • 57th ranked engineering school in the nation (U.S. News & World Report, 2015 Best Colleges edition)
  • 62nd ranked engineering school in the nation (U.S. News & World Report, 2016 graduate programs edition).  Our environmental engineering graduate program is ranked 21st in the nation.

The college stands out among many other engineering schools, in part, because all six programs have major teaching and research linkages to the University’s Health Sciences colleges (Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Nursing and Public Health) – including shared courses, collaborative research, and joint faculty appointments.

The college is planning a $37 million, 65,000-square-foot addition to the Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences to accommodate growth in enrollment and faculty research. The addition addresses multiple strategic needs that will enable the college to maintain its momentum and growth, including expanded classrooms, collaborative learning spaces, further encouraging student success, learning and discovery in fluid mechanics, sustainability, advances in teaching and conducting research in computer-aided design and simulation, and fostering engineering and the arts.

There are more than 14,500 engineering alumni living and working throughout the world – 3,900 alone in the state of Iowa – many with corporate and personal ties to the College through recruitment, mentoring, guest seminars, faculty consulting, sponsored research, financial giving, and other interactions. Among distinguished alumni are seven members of the National Academy of Engineering.

Key facts

  • Undergraduate degrees: BSE
  • Graduate degrees: MS, PhD
  • Fall 2014 enrollment: 2,012 undergraduate students
  • 2013-2014 BSE graduates: 339
  • Students consistently enter the College from the top 20th percentile in high school class rank and top 10th percentile in ACT score (28 average on 36.0 scale) – with both high math and verbal scores.
  • Tenure/tenure-track faculty:  90 headcount, 86.8 FTE. Lecturers: 10 headcount, 6.4 FTE.
  • Postdocs:  23 (headcount)
  • P&S staff:  167 headcount, 165.8 FTE.  Merit staff: 4 headcount, 3.9 FTE.
  • Student employees:  243 graduate assistants, 77 undergraduate assistants, 278 hourly students (all headcounts)
  • Staff FTEs (spring 2015): 166 professional and scientific, 4 general service, 239 graduate assistants, 153 temporary and students
  • 97% of 2014 graduates were either hired or pursued a graduate/professional degree; Median salary offers averaged $60,000. 75% of graduating seniors stayed in Iowa or Illinois for employment or graduate education. 57% stayed in Iowa.
  • FY 2014 research expenditures: $54.4 million
  • 88% of graduating seniors participated in co-ops, internships, and faculty mentored research
  • In the past 40 years, 25 Engineering students have earned the prestigious University of Iowa Hancher-Finkbine Medallion for achievement and leadership upon graduation.
  • 70% of engineering undergraduates graduate with a second major, minor, or certificate
  • 100% of undergraduate engineering courses are taught by faculty

Unique Education

Built with flexibility in mind, Iowa's engineering curriculum gives students the chance to think big and develop projects around their passions. Innovative programs include:

  • Grand Challenges Scholars -- The nation's seventh program of its kind—the first in the Big Ten—it awards scholarships to engineering students who commit to addressing priority issues identified by the National Academy of Engineering through research, interdisciplinary study, entrepreneurship, global experience, and service.
  • Technological Entrepreneurship Certificate -- A joint College of Engineering-Tippie College of Business Initiative, the certificate complements any engineering program, preparing students to start their own businesses or manage technological innovations.
  • Hanson Center for Technical Communication -- The college has a unique Hanson Center for Technical Communication. The center is designed to integrate writing-to-learn strategies and project presentation skills into curriculum; teach students efficient ways to conduct research, gather evidence, and identify audiences; and help students gain confidence as speakers and writers. It also creates opportunities for summer short courses in improved technical communication for industry.

Faculty Renown

Our 90 faculty members are both classroom- and research-focused. 100% of our undergraduate courses in engineering (counting lectures and discussion sessions) are taught by faculty. There are about 23 undergraduate students per faculty member. Each faculty member mentors an average of about four graduate students, and generates about $632,000 in collegiate and interdisciplinary research funding. Total annual expenditures for both college and interdisciplinary research amount to more than $54.4 million.

The College of Engineering excels nationally and internationally in several specialty and interdisciplinary research areas. Students work very closely with faculty on computer simulation, human factors, environmental health solutions, biotechnology, medical imaging, hydraulics and water/air resources, photopolymerization, and sustainability, among many other areas.

The College has an established global reputation for its four formal research units:

  • Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology -- A collaboration between Iowa's colleges of engineering, medicine, and liberal arts and sciences, the center develops new areas of study related to informatics, basic sciences, and applied medical research.
  • Center for Computer-Aided Design -- Uniting basic and applied research projects in modeling and simulation, including the National Advanced Driving Simulator, Virtual Soldier Research, and other programs that draw increasing government and corporate funding.
  • IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering -- One of the nation's leading programs in fluids-related research, IIHR is home to the Iowa Flood Center, created as an education, research, and service resource in response to record Midwest floods of 2008.
  • Iowa Institute for Biomedical Imaging -- Fostering cross-college, interdisciplinary research in biomedical imaging, image analysis, and translational medical research.

College faculty is strong on interdisciplinary teaching and research.  Currently, 31 engineering faculty members (32%) hold secondary and tertiary appointments in other Engineering departments and UI colleges, including Business, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Public Policy Center, and Urban and Regional Planning.  Forty-nine UI faculty members from other UI colleges and departments hold secondary and tertiary appointments in the College of Engineering.  Seventy-two Engineering faculty members (76%) have affiliations with 16 major university research centers and institutes.

Vision and Goals of the College

The College's vision is to be the best at serving society by creating engineering knowledge and educating engineers for dynamic and global careers.  Characteristics and aspirations enable the College to realize its vision include:

  • Contemporary and rigorous educational experiences that develop the engineer and something more;
  • An atmosphere that facilitates personal commitment to the educational success of students in an environment that values diversity and community;
  • Education and research partnerships with UI colleges, and targeted agencies, universities, and industries;
  • High successful alumni who contribute to the profession in the global society;
  • Undergraduate programs that integrate global awareness, communication skills, and team building across the curriculum;
  • Internationally recognized research programs;
  • Prudent and accountable resource management;
  • Graduate education and training that prepare students for interdisciplinary engineering research and advanced problem solving;
  • Leadership and service to meet society's needs.

The College's strategic priorities -- the four complementary, mutually supporting areas in which we will invest for accelerated advancement -- are directly aligned with those of the University:

  • Student success;
  • Knowledge and practice;
  • New frontiers of the arts;
  • Better futures for Iowans.