College of Engineering

Suzanna Long, Dean (124 Janssen Engineering Bldg.; 208-885-6596); Patricia Colberg, Associate Dean

The mission of the College of Engineering is to prepare students for global professional practice, for admission to advanced degree programs, for leadership in their public and private lives, and for life-long learning in their chosen professions. We promote discovery, development, and dissemination of knowledge through excellence in research, and provide quality academic courses and continuing education to enhance the capability of practicing professionals. Through our scholarly activity, we have the responsibility to be a major contributor to our state, region, and nation’s economic and technology base, while contributing to the body of knowledge for an array of research topics.

Our vision is to be an engine of innovation that integrates student-centered academics, relevant research, and meaningful outreach that advances Idaho and beyond.

The Engineering Profession

Members of the engineering profession use their knowledge of mathematics and the sciences to create useful and economic devices, structures, and systems for the benefit of the earth and its inhabitants. The engineer's talents are used in many ways: design, construction, and operation of public works and utilities systems; planning, construction, and operation of industrial processes and equipment; application of technical products; and creation of devices and systems needed for the support of all human activity, such as food production, transportation, communication, and enhancement of the environment. Many engineers hold responsible managerial positions; others are key members of the interdisciplinary teams that solve the complex technical, economic, and social problems of the world.

The engineering profession recognizes that social, economic, political, and cultural, as well as technical considerations are involved in most of the works in which the modern engineer is engaged. A part of an engineer's education is devoted to the humanities and the social sciences to help relate the technical preparation received to the world today, and to enhance the engineer's role as an educated, responsible citizen.

To qualify as an engineer, one usually undertakes a four-year college program leading to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in one of the major branches of engineering practice. B.S. graduates may either go directly into engineering employment or proceed to graduate study to pursue a given area of interest in depth. As the technology of engineering includes a wide range of subject matter that can be explored only to a limited extent in undergraduate programs, more and more students undertake graduate study for better preparation in a specific field before seeking employment as practicing engineers.

All states require that engineers engaged in work affecting public health and welfare be licensed or registered. This requires a qualifying examination in the fundamentals of engineering, usually taken during the last year of undergraduate study, and a period of practical experience followed by a second qualifying examination in the practice of engineering. Many industries, while not legally required to use registered engineers, encourage registration as evidence of professional stature of their engineering employees.

The Computer Science Profession

Computer science is a discipline that involves the understanding and design of computers and computational processes. In its most general form, it is concerned with the understanding of information transfer and transformation. Computer science is evolving rapidly and includes theoretical studies, experimental methods, and engineering design all in one discipline. In computer science, there is an inherent intermingling of the theoretical concepts of computability and algorithmic efficiency with the modern practical advancements in electronics that continue to stimulate advances in the discipline. It is this close interaction of the theoretical and design aspects of the field that binds them together into a single discipline.

Because of the rapid evolution, it is difficult to provide a complete list of computer science areas. Yet it is clear that some of the crucial areas are theory, algorithms and data structures, programming methodology and languages, and computer elements and architecture. Other areas include software engineering, artificial intelligence, computer networking and communication, database systems, parallel computation, distributed computation, computer-human interaction, computer graphics, operating systems, numerical and symbolic computation, and computer security.

A professional computer scientist must have a firm foundation in the crucial areas of the field and will most likely have an in-depth knowledge in one or more of the other areas of the discipline, depending on the person's particular area of practice. Thus, a well-educated computer scientist should be able to apply the fundamental concepts and techniques of computation, algorithms, and computer design to a specific design problem. The work includes detailing of specifications, analysis of the problem, and providing a design that functions as desired, is reliable and maintainable, and meets desired cost criteria. Clearly, the computer scientist must not only have sufficient training in the computer science areas to be able to accomplish such tasks, but must also have a firm understanding in areas of mathematics and science, as well as a broad education in liberal studies to provide a basis for understanding the societal implications of the work being performed.

Equal Opportunity

The degree programs of the college and the professions they represent actively seek out women and under-represented minorities. Opportunities are unlimited, and an increasing number are entering the professions.

Preparation and Admission

A statement of undergraduate and graduate admission requirements is included in the admissions portion of this catalog. A student may be admitted with less than the requirements listed, but the deficiency must be made up before they can progress very far in a college engineering course of study.

Students who contemplate entering the College of Engineering with advanced standing from other institutions should complete as many of the freshman and sophomore requirements listed in the curricula as possible. Calculus, chemistry and physics and the various introductory engineering courses are prerequisites to many advanced courses, and their omission may delay graduation.

Students from out-of-state institutions who wish to transfer to a degree program offered by the College of Engineering are invited to apply. Those whose cumulative GPA is below 2.8 for all previous college-level courses, including any courses taken at UI, may be admitted on approval of the College of Engineering Admissions Committee.

Admission to Classes

As a prerequisite to any upper-division course normally taken in the junior or senior year and offered by the College of Engineering, students in the College of Engineering must have completed selected courses from the required courses in chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and physics that are normally to be taken by them during their first two years, and must have attained a grade of C or better in each of those courses.

Scholarships and Awards

Many scholarships and awards are available to College of Engineering students and prospective students. See Student Financial Aid Services for more information.


The faculty is the key to the quality of the engineering program. All faculty members in this college hold advanced engineering degrees and all but four hold Ph.D. degrees. Recognition in such publications as Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the West, Who's Who in Engineering, and American Men and Women of Science is common.

A distinguishing feature of the faculty is a blend of academic and practical experience. Many faculty members have extensive experience in practice that they bring into the classroom, preserving a balance between theoretical and practical aspects of engineering.


The facilities of the College of Engineering are among the finest in the country. Work is centered in the two-block-square engineering complex, which includes the Allen S. Janssen Engineering Classroom Building, the J. E. Buchanan Laboratory, the Gauss-Johnson Engineering Laboratory, McClure Hall, and the Engineering/Physics Building. These facilities are supplemented by biological engineering laboratories at other locations on the campus. In total, more than 250,000 square feet of floor space is used by the College of Engineering. Laboratories include modern equipment for teaching and research in all areas of instruction with recent additions for computerized drafting, CAD/CAM, computerized VLSI design, and robotics. Some of the equipment is of advanced design found in only a few institutional laboratories. Students also have access to over 20 general purpose open-access computer laboratories across the campus, with over 600 computers. There are over 100 software applications available, as well as the web, email, and other network services. An assortment of desk-top minicomputers and engineering work stations are available within the engineering complex. Wireless access is available in all of the engineering buildings.

Standing and Advantages

With a tradition of excellence dating from the founding of the University of Idaho, the College of Engineering has developed and maintained engineering degree programs on the Moscow campus that are noted for quality. For over 40 years, graduate programs in several disciplines have been available at off-campus sites as well. Since 1896, when it granted its first degrees, graduates of the college have spread throughout the world. The large number of firms and agencies throughout the country that send interviewers to the campus each year seeking to hire Idaho engineering graduates attest to the reputation of the university's engineering program.

The size of the college is near the median of engineering colleges in the country. While it is not so large that the importance of the student as an individual is lost, it is large enough to support the faculty and facilities needed for top quality education.

Attention is given to both undergraduate and graduate programs. New concepts and knowledge resulting from the graduate program feed into the undergraduate program to keep it up to date. Undergraduate students have an opportunity to observe and/or contribute effort to graduate research projects to help them determine their interest in graduate work.

Engineering Experiment Station

The function of the Engineering Experiment Station is to encourage and coordinate the College of Engineering's research and extension programs that are integral parts of the college's academic and service efforts.

The research program in engineering is conducted by the faculty, staff, and students of the college. There is neither a separate research facility nor a separate research staff. The College of Engineering requires that any research it undertakes have academic significance. A large part of the college's research program deals with developing new knowledge that is applicable to Idaho's economy or devising new methods or applications for using existing knowledge to the benefit of the state of Idaho. Most of the funds in support of research come from sources other than legislative appropriations. These funds are the result of research contracts and grants with various local, state, and federal agencies and private industry. Information regarding research capabilities is available upon request.

Believing that education is a never-ending need of mankind, the College of Engineering, through the means of short courses, workshops, seminars and forums, and pertinent publications, attempts to ascertain and meet the specific continuing education needs of Idaho's graduate engineers, computer scientists, and the technical community. Staff members also endeavor to provide information to the entire population of Idaho that may contribute to the successful solving of societal problems.

Off-Campus Programs

To fulfill its charge to provide engineering education to the people of Idaho, the College of Engineering provides several degree programs off campus. Graduate degrees in most disciplines are available through the resident instructional centers at Boise, Idaho Falls, and Coeur d'Alene, using a combination of live, web, and distance delivered courses. The Engineering Outreach program uses a variety of technologies to provide graduate and advanced undergraduate course work, including some complete master's degrees, at any location. For more information, see University of Idaho Centers.