College of Engineering and Applied Science
Keith Molenaar, Interim Dean
Boulder, CO 80309-0422
The College of Engineering and Applied Science has a tradition of excellence in engineering education dating back to 1893, and we continually update and improve our programs to reflect the highest standards in teaching and learning, discovery, innovation, community and culture. Our college is the top-ranked engineering school in the Rocky Mountain region.
Mission & Vision
The College of Engineering & Applied Science's mission is to generate new knowledge in engineering and related fields, and to equip students from diverse backgrounds to become leaders and citizens responsible for the betterment of individuals and society. Our vision is to be a recognized world leader for excellence and innovation in engineering research and education, with an emphasis on inclusive excellence, active learning and global society.
The College of Engineering and Applied Science offers Bachelor of Science degrees in:
- Aerospace engineering sciences
- Applied mathematics
- Architectural engineering
- Biomedical engineering
- Chemical engineering
- Chemical and biological engineering
- Civil engineering
- Computer science
- Creative technology and design
- Electrical engineering
- Electrical and computer engineering
- Engineering physics
- Engineering plus
- Environmental engineering
- Mechanical engineering
The CU Boulder campus is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Several programs in the College of Engineering and Applied Science are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. The BS degree in computer science is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. The degrees in applied mathematics and engineering physics are offered in cooperation with the Department of Applied Mathematics and Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Professional registration is recommended for all fields of engineering in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. Registration is required in all states for the legal right to practice professional engineering. Although there are variations in state laws regarding engineering licensure, there is a general four-step process for licensure candidates: earn a degree from an EAC/ABET-accredited engineering program, pass the FE exam, gain acceptable work experience under the supervision of a PE, and pass the PE exam. Students typically take the FE exam during their senior year in college.
Areas of Interest
- Active Learning Program
- BOLD Center
- Colorado Space Grant Consortium
- Engineering Honors Program
- Engineering Leadership Program
- Engineering Study Abroad
- Global Engineering Program
- Herbst Program for Engineering, Ethics & Society
- Idea Forge
- Integrated Teaching and Learning Program
- ProReady Initiative
- Quadrangle Engineering Living and Learning Community
Active Learning Program
The Active Learning Program enhances knowledge, skills and understanding through practical experience. The college's goal is to provide all students with the opportunity to participate in enrichment experiences and partnerships with individual faculty and professionals in discovery, service, and professional learning. Several programs are in place to financially support students engaged in undergraduate research or "discovery learning" with faculty, graduate students and research sponsors. Students seeking professional learning experiences such as internships and co-op assignments with a participating employer also typically earn hourly wages, while those pursuing service learning opportunities in the college, community or beyond could earn wages or course credit. Active learning encompasses domestic and international opportunities such as assisting developing communities through Engineers Without Borders, a national nonprofit organization started at CU Boulder.
The BOLD Center is part of the College of Engineering and Applied Science’s commitment to creating a diverse environment where all engineering students are welcome, and where students who are traditionally underrepresented in engineering—women, underrepresented minorities—are empowered to achieve their dreams. BOLD Center programs promote the recruitment, retention, and development of engineering students at CU Boulder, and equip them for success through graduation and beyond.
Colorado Space Grant Consortium
CU's Space Grant program provides interdisciplinary students with access to space through innovative courses and real-world, hands-on space hardware programs that include short and long-duration, high altitude balloon payloads, sounding rocket payloads and low-Earth orbiting satellite missions. NASA's Colorado Space Grant Consortium (also known as Space Grant) is part of a national program.
Space Grant students interact with engineers and scientists from NASA and industry to develop, test and fly new space technologies. All missions are entirely student run—including students in the roles of team members, team leads, systems engineers, project managers and mission operators. Students participate in programs that aid them in their future academic courses and careers.
For more information, visit the Colorado Space Grant Consortium website.
Engineering Honors Program
The Engineering Honors Program (EHP) provides an educational experience that transcends the classroom and matches the unique abilities, needs and ambitions of this select group of students. The program is for students who want to help build an honors culture that cares more about learning than grades; more about maximizing opportunities than meeting minimum requirements; and more about being thoughtful, critical, engaged and intentional than being passively defined by the vague expectations of others.
Being part of EHP means belonging to a community that is ambitious without being competitive and committed to a wide range of goals from international development work to graduate school, from research to teaching, and from industry to service. It means living next to students already doing research, returning from summer internships, working with Engineers without Borders and applying to graduate school.
Incoming first-year students are selected to participate in the Engineering Honors Program via an online application process. For more information about program requirements and to access the application, visit the Engineering Honors Program website.
Engineering Leadership Program
The Engineering Leadership Program (ENLP) explores leadership challenges in applied science using liberal arts pedagogy. The program aims to cultivate leaders of curiosity and character, whose technical expertise is enriched through the study of the political, moral, and philosophic dilemmas posed by the perpetual advancement of science and technology. The program offers a wide variety of courses on the thought and practice of leadership, many of which utilize primary source texts in history, the philosophy of science, moral philosophy, political science, and anthropology. The program’s courses (with ENLP course prefix) count for humanities and social sciences credit in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, and most courses are discussion-based seminars. Students with a deep interest in ENLP’s curriculum are encouraged to pursue the Engineering Leadership Certificate. The program also addresses contemporary concerns in engineering practice. CU engineering alumni and established leaders from engineering industry, business, and politics frequently visit ENLP classes to give guest lectures, hold interview sessions, and converse with students over informal lunches. The Engineering Leadership Program has also partnered with the Engineering Management Program to offer coursework for ENLP students interested in engineering project management, engineering entrepreneurship, and engineering economics.
Engineering Study Abroad
In today's global environment, engineers can expect to work in multilingual and multicultural teams and to engage in projects with global impact. It is therefore essential that students develop global engineering competencies alongside their technical skills, either through careful selection of globally oriented courses or through international experiences such as study abroad.
The College of Engineering and Applied Science has partnered with CU's Education Abroad Office to provide engineering students with numerous global opportunities. Students can study engineering at more than 25 universities across six continents, and more than 1800 courses have been preapproved for engineering credit.
Additionally, the college is adding technically oriented global seminars each summer to allow students to study engineering within a global context and under the tutelage of a CU professor.
Careful planning is required to ensure that the courses taken abroad meet degree requirements and that participants stay on track for graduation. All participants in CU-approved study abroad programs remain enrolled at the university and receive in-residence credit; the pass/fail grade option is used by the college for coursework taken during study abroad but is exempt from college and major department pass/fail limitations. CU financial aid, including most scholarships, can usually be applied to program costs, and special study-abroad scholarships may be available for program participants.
Engineering students interested in studying abroad must begin planning early and are advised to save as many HSS and technical elective courses as possible, as these are the easiest to transfer back to CU.
For more information, visit the college's International Programs website.
Global Engineering Program
The Global Engineering Undergraduate Program prepares students for the global marketplace of ideas. The program not only supports students in understanding the global context and their role as engineers through coursework, but also provides a community through which to explore, discuss, and apply the concepts of global engineering in their personal and professional lives. Students have direct interaction with faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students who are engaging in global engineering research, policy, and practice. The program also builds connections with international experts outside of CU Boulder, drawing on the experience of alumni, international research partners, and organizations based in the Greater Denver area.
Herbst Program for Engineering, Ethics & Society
The Herbst Program for Engineering, Ethics & Society enriches and broadens the education of engineering students with seminar and lecture courses in literature, philosophy, history, social issues and the arts.
In its two seminars, ENES 1010 and ENES 3100, class time is devoted almost exclusively to roundtable discussion of original texts in literature, philosophy, and the fine arts. These seminars have fewer than 14 students, so students can hone their critical thinking skills through reading, discussion and extensive writing. Both of these seminars satisfy the college's writing requirement. Note: ENES 1010 satisfies the writing requirement only when taken in a student's freshman year.
The Herbst Program offers various lecture courses on a rotating basis. Engineering in History: The Social Impact of Technology (ENES 1850) studies technological change and its consequences through time. ENES 2100, ENES 2120 and ENES 2130 together survey science and technology from the Stone Age to the 20th century. Modern Science and Technological Society (ENES 2210) explores the ethics and social implications of engineering practice. Special topics courses are occasionally offered (ENES 2843 or ENES 3843); these address subjects as varied as world folklore, the ethics of bioengineering, and the relationship between science and religion. The Herbst Program also offers summer and study abroad courses.
Clancy and Linda Herbst founded and endowed the program in 1989 and continue to sustain it; it is also supported by the Price Foundation, the Engineering Excellence Fund, CEAS and many friends and alumni.
For more information, visit the Herbst Program for Engineering, Ethics & Society website.
The Idea Forge is a flexible, cross-disciplinary collaborative space where students can imagine, design, create, and test products and solutions to meet a range of societal and customer needs. The space serves as the home for Design Center Colorado and Catalyze CU. It supports student teams working on invention and innovation as part of courses, as well as design and development driven by entrepreneurial-minded individuals and service-oriented groups. With all these students working side-by-side, the Idea Forge boosts student learning through collaborative, hands-on experience, while supporting industry interaction through scheduled workshops as well as spontaneous exchanges.
The mission of the Idea Forge is to enhance interdisciplinary creativity and synergy to develop flexible, adaptable, and practical graduates. To do this, the Idea Forge supports design from a variety of perspectives, from the most formal engineering design process to the human-centered design philosophy. By providing students the opportunity to design, build, and test their concepts, the Idea Forge builds creative confidence and promotes the formation of strong professional skills.
The Idea Forge boasts a variety of flexible spaces to achieve its mission and to fit individual student needs. These spaces fit into three categories: fabrication shops, project space, and community space. The fabrication shops provide students with the tools and equipment needed for prototyping through machining, welding, 3D printing, laser cutting, woodworking, and sewing with an additional emphasis on electronics and micro-controllers. Students learn safe, efficient use of the tools and equipment through action, by taking workshops or tackling a project. Project spaces fill the Idea Forge – students are able to find their nearest wood-topped workbench to assemble their design. The central Idea Forge Commons, an inspiring environment for teamwork and brainstorming, doubles as a project space and a community space. Just off the Commons, the Thinking Lounge community space provides students with a comfortable place to take a break. Additional community space consists of two impressive conference rooms, which are perfect for meetings with industry and community members.
For more information, visit the Idea Forge website.
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program
The Integrated Teaching and Learning (ITL) program provides K–16 engineering education initiatives aimed at supporting the teaching and learning of hands-on, minds-on engineering curriculum so that students of all ages can imagine a future in engineering. With a focus on engineering design, undergraduate engineering students have the ability to create what they dream via modern manufacturing and electronics capabilities—reinforced through innovative engineering courses, as well as through time set aside for the creation of personal projects to expand one's creative thinking.
Through ITL Program skill-building workshops on tools, machining, soldering, circuits, strain gauges, laser cutters, Arduino microcontrollers, LabVIEW, SolidWorks, spatial visualization and more, students become comfortable with the resources that help them do the engineering that impacts everyday life. The multidisciplinary, hands-on ITL Laboratory features two open and interactive laboratory plazas that support inquiry-based experimentation, data acquisition and analysis capability. The laboratory also hosts design studios, team work areas, active learning spaces—all designed to be used by all disciplines of CU engineering students as they do engineering.
The ITL Program's nationally recognized K–12 engineering education program focuses on attracting and preparing more diverse and well-prepared youth to careers in engineering and technology. K–12 audiences may visit the ITL Laboratory to learn how engineering is an essential part of their lives through myriad hands-on science and engineering exhibits. K–12 teachers and students can also access the TeachEngineering digital library, a free online curricular resource supporting educators to bring engineering into their K–12 classrooms through high quality engineering lessons and hands-on activities aligned to science, mathematics and technological educational standards. Accessed by over 1.6 million unique users in the past year, TeachEngineering has become a key resource to the broad national STEM movement and the growing K–12 engineering community.
The ITL program features an innovative interdisciplinary undergraduate curriculum that includes the retention-building First-Year Engineering Projects course that engages student teams to experience the design process in a hands-on way, culminating in an end-of-semester public design expo. The ITL Program also supports the design courses that distinguish the Engineering Plus degree program.
For more information, visit the Integrated Teaching & Learning Laboratory website.
The ProReady initiative is designed to prepare College of Engineering & Applied Science students for career success in their chosen field. The ProReady formula helps students: chart their career path, gain relevant experience and grow their professional networks.
Quadrangle Engineering Living and Learning Community
Adjacent to the Engineering Center, composed of Aden, Brackett, Cockerell and Crosman Halls, the "Quad" provides a supportive living environment for College of Engineering and Applied Science first-year students. Current offerings include a computer lab with engineering software, evening and Sunday drop-in tutoring, and special programs such as hands-on workshops with the Idea Forge, faculty dinners, trips to sporting and cultural events on campus and more. Students in the Quad report that they appreciate the convenient location, the additional academic resources, and always having friends in their hall to study with.