What is Engineering?

Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, computers and electronics, and other items. Western breaks its engineering programs into three areas of study: Electrical & Computer Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, and Polymer Materials Engineering.

Engineering Degrees

Electrical and Computer Engineering, BS

Electrical and computer engineers conduct research, and design, develop, test, and oversee the development of electronic systems and the manufacture of electrical and computer equipment and devices. Students may choose a concentration in Electronics, Energy, Wireless Networks and Signal Processing, or Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Contact

Andy Klein, Electrical and Computer Engineering Program Director
kleina5@wwu.edu | 360-650-2709

Lisa Ochs, Program Coordinator & Pre-Major Advisor
Lisa.Ochs@wwu.edu | 360-650-4132

Manufacturing Engineering, BS

Western's Manufacturing Engineering program develops industry proficiencies with the help of intensive laboratory components spread throughout its courses. Through laboratory experiences, students learn to apply theoretical knowledge learned in the classroom to solve practical, application-based problems in manufacturing.

Contact

Lisa Ochs, Program Coordinator & Pre-Major Advisor
Lisa.Ochs@wwu.edu | 360-650-4132

Sura Alqudah, Manufacturing Engineering Program Director
alqudas@wwu.edu | 360-650-7703

Polymer Materials Engineering, BS

Students in Western's Polymer Materials Engineering (PME) program study the relationship between molecular structure, material properties and performance, and the manufacturing of polymers, composites materials, and products. The PME program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Contact

Nicole Larson, Polymer Materials Engineering Program Director
Nicole.Larson@wwu.edu | 360-650-3428

Lisa Ochs, Program Coordinator & Pre-Major Advisor
Lisa.Ochs@wwu.edu | 360-650-4132

Engineering at Western

Western's Engineering programs offer hands-on learning, undergraduate research opportunities, and state of the art equipment in its laboratories.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Students in the Electrical and Computer Engineering degree program work to research, design, develop, test, and oversee the development of electronic systems and the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment and devices. This includes a broad range of applications and specializations that generally involve both hardware and software—areas such as power systems, communications, analog and digital signal processing, embedded systems, and control systems. Products developed by electrical and computer engineers often have significant impacts on society, like portable smart devices, medical instrumentation, electric and smart vehicles, sensor networks, and renewable and smart energy systems.

Concentrations

Electrical and Computer Engineering students may choose a concentration in Electronics, Energy, Wireless Networking and Signal Processing, or Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. All concentrations include a common electrical and computer engineering core which includes courses in digital and analog electronics, embedded microcontrollers, communications, and controls.

Electronics

This concentration focuses on the development, design, and application of circuits, devices, and firmware for embedded systems, and includes advanced digital and analog electronics content.

Energy

This concentration addresses the sources, generation, control, and utilization of electric power, energy conversion and storage, and smart power topics such as system analysis, protection and stability, solid state motor control, and industrial process control systems. Projects are normally interdisciplinary, in collaboration with faculty in the Institute for Energy Studies

Wireless Networking and Signal Processing

This concentration offers courses in digital signal processing, advanced communication systems, and networking technologies, and leads to an understanding of the design of wireless communication systems and networks.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

This concentration focuses on techniques that process and analyze data to enable machines to make predictions and decisions to accomplish complex tasks, and provides an overview of the use of ML and AI in engineering, the fundamental principles and algorithms, and the impact of ML and AI on humans and society.

Manufacturing Engineering

The Manufacturing Engineering curriculum is based on the Society for Manufacturing Engineering's Four Pillars: Materials & Manufacturing Processes; Product, Tooling & Assembly Engineering; Manufacturing Systems & Operations; and Manufacturing Competitiveness. Students in the program choose an emphasis in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) or Robotics, and the subsequent courses are designed through close collaboration with a committee of industry experts, preparing graduates to be professionally competitive upon graduation.

Polymer Materials Engineering

Students working on a degree in Polymer Materials Engineering study the relationship between molecular structure, material properties and performance, and the manufacturing of polymers, composites materials, and products. Polymer materials engineers either make the products you use, make the materials that are turned into those products, or make the machines that help build those products.

Polymer Materials Engineering students gain authentic experiences using commercial plastics and composites processing equipment, use advanced materials characterization instrumentation, conduct applied and interdisciplinary engineering research, model technical processes, apply principles of designed experimentation, and learn and practice high-level technical and professional communication skills. Western’s PME program was named in 2020 one of the best programs of its kind in public higher education.

Student Experiences

Research Opportunities

Engineering students have broad access to participate in the research being done by their faculty, from unlocking the potential of recycling ocean plastics in Alaska to building and designing a more resilient national energy infrastructure. Engineering students complete internships with cutting edge firms in the private sector as well, at companies such as PACCAR, Boeing, Fluke, Blue Seas Systems, Nike, Zodiac, SpaceX, and more.

Western has given me the knowledge to pursue a degree in my major along with countless internship opportunities and experience. In one of my projects, I helped construct the new KWVC station equipment and studio to transmitter link in Bellingham.

Dustin Sjoerdsma
Electrical and Computer Engineering Student

Organizations and Clubs

Mentorship, research, and peer-to-peer interaction opportunities abound at Western through student clubs such as the Materials Science Club, SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science), WWU Racing, the Student Robotics Club, and the National Society for Black Engineers.

If we can figure out new ways to reduce and repurpose existing plastics instead of making new ones, that would be hugely beneficial and a big leap forward.

Molly House
Polymer Materials Engineering student, discussing her research on the re-use of ocean plastics
A student holding out plastic shavings in both hands.

What can you do with an Engineering degree?

The job market for Western's Engineering graduates is very good, and the degree programs are consistently rated among the top programs at Western for both placement and salary. Recent engineering graduates have gone on to start new careers at companies such as PACCAR, Boeing, Fluke, Alpha Technologies, General Motors, Microsoft, Amazon, Hewlett-Packard, Kenworth, and more.

Engineering Careers

  • Supervision and Technical Analysis and Design
  • Design and Development Engineer
  • Embedded Systems
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Modeling & Analysis using CAD/CAM/CAE
  • Design & Fabrication of Products, Tooling, and Equipment
  • Systems Integration
  • Energy market analyst
  • Composite Design Engineer
  • Plastics Engineer
  • Material Scientist