Engineering

  • Degree Type Bachelor of Science
  • Department Physics and Engineering
  • Academic Division The College
  • Offerings Major Integrated Engineering major

Students using instruments to conduct an experiment outside Students using instruments to conduct an experiment outside

Engineering majors at W&L have a distinctive opportunity to study the principles and applications of engineering within a liberal arts environment. Our engineering students develop the ability to think critically and ethically, communicate clearly, appropriately apply engineering principles, and successfully design solutions to real-world problems as they prepare for opportunities after graduation.

Engineering

Washington and Lee offers two engineering majors:

Engineering: A major in engineering allows students to develop breadth and depth in engineering analysis. The requirements offer flexibility, primarily in the junior year, as students focus their coursework in preparation for their capstone design project and future career. The junior year also offers the freedom to study abroad in the fall or winter term, during which time students can leverage the unique strengths of the host university to broaden their engineering background.

Integrated Engineering: The integrated engineering major provides students the opportunity to combine engineering with their interests in one of four tracks: biology, chemistry, computer science, or geology. The addition of a concentrated study of science into the engineering curriculum prepares students for multidisciplinary design challenges. Students can pursue study abroad opportunities to broaden the range of track-specific coursework and take advantage of their unique background when designing collaboratively in the capstone sequence.

The Engineering Program at Washington and Lee University allows students to:

  • Acquire a working knowledge of foundational engineering principles.
  • Apply the foundational principles to engineering problems.
  • Integrate foundational principles to develop innovative solutions to novel, open-ended engineering design projects.
  • Apply an engineering design process to satisfy requirements and specifications of design projects.
  • Understand how engineers operate within the broader context of society.
  • Incorporate cultural, environmental, economical and ethical factors into design decisions.
  • Communicate technical knowledge through written documents, oral presentations, and digital and graphical media.
  • Learn to communicate effectively within a team environment.
  • Gain proficiency with contemporary equipment and software encountered in research environments and professional practice.
  • Prepare to enter a diverse work environment including advanced engineering studies or professional practice.
Accreditation

Throughout the history of our engineering program, we have not sought accreditation through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). This decision is rooted in our desire to provide our students with a broad range of courses in engineering while allowing students the flexibility to focus on their interests. Though our objectives are in harmony with accredited engineering programs, we believe it is our student-centered approach that affords majors the unique foundation upon which they build success after graduation.

Outcomes

Employment: UTC Aerospace Systems, Clark Construction, Raytheon, Turner Construction Company, National Grid, Whiting-Turner Construction Company, Apptech Solutions and Space-X.

Graduate School: Carnegie Mellon, UC Berkeley, University of Virginia, Northwestern University, Columbia University, Georgia Tech, University of Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Vanderbilt University.

Graduate Fellowships: Fulbright Scholarships to Germany and Estonia, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, and a Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange Fellowship.

Opportunities

Faculty-Directed Research: Students gain firsthand experience in engineering research and development during the academic year for credit or over the summer through a paid stipend.

Engineering Community Development (ECD): Originally organized as Engineers Without Borders, ECD allows members to develop solutions for community needs both locally and abroad. Students have recently traveled to Belize and to Fries, Virginia, to support those communities through their work.

Robotics Club: A student club that designs and develops robots to compete at national and international competitions. This group builds on the recent success of an electronics class that focused on robot programming and design.

Capstone Design: Students invest their senior year working in teams to develop a solution to a project of their own choosing. Engineering students collaborate with those in the Entrepreneurship Program to develop business plans and marketing strategies, and consult with law students specializing in intellectual property law to understand how existing copyrights, patents and trademarks impact their work.

Conferences and Publications: Students routinely travel to national and international conferences to present their research or compete in engineering competitions, and they regularly appear as co-authors on faculty publications.

Dan Mazilu

Department Head

Tanya Bennett

Administrative Assistant

News


Mengying Liu

W&L Engineering Professor Publishes Paper in Science Advances

Mengying Liu collaborated with researchers from Texas A&M University on the peer-reviewed article.

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Flying High

Misha Lin ’25 is taking her dance education to the next level this summer with intensive aerial dance training, finishing with a two-week international festival in August.

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W&L’s Hamza Zia ’26 Receives Davis Projects for Peace Grant

Zia plans to continue his work with the PINK Center Project in his home country of Pakistan.

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W&L’s Demetri Patrinos ’25 Awarded Goldwater Scholarship

Patrinos is one of three W&L students selected for the scholarship this spring.

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W&L Student Performs at Havana Jazz Festival

A meeting with a Broadway legend allowed engineering major Zaria Daniels ’26 to take her vocal talents to Cuba.

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W&L’s Jon Erickson Part of Coalition that Receives Major Medical Research Grant

The engineering professor will perform research related to gastrointestinal motility over the next three years in New Zealand.

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Mengying Liu

W&L Professor Receives Grant from the American Association of University Women

Mengying Liu will use the funds to research high-throughput crystallographic mapping in the United Kingdom.

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W&L Engineering Professor Publishes Articles in Two Renowned Journals

Jon Erickson’s papers are part of an ongoing research project studying non-invasive gastric mapping techniques.

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Ehsan ’13 to Give Public Lecture on the Algorithmic Imprint

Washington and Lee’s Philosophy Department will host a talk by Upol Ehsan ’13 on Monday, March 13 from 6-7:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

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CBL’s Faculty Collaborative Creates Connection Across Campus

CBL’s new initiative is an opportunity for faculty development, student collaboration and deepening partnerships with the surrounding community.

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Community-Based Learning’s Fall Term Collaborations

Community-Based Learning’s collaborations this fall offered students an opportunity to deepen community connections.

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Electric Mondays

Students in Jon Erickson's Electrical Circuits course are learning through teaching local elementary school students.

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Sample Courses

At W&L, we believe education and experience go hand-in-hand. You’ll be encouraged to dive in, explore and discover connections that will broaden your perspective.

ENGN 125

Engineering Marvels

An investigation of technical engineering concepts, the evolution of engineering, and the historical and cultural significance of engineering through the study of ancient and modern engineering marvels around the world. More specifically, the course focuses on engineering marvels of England. Based in London, we explore many sites, including bridges along the River Thames, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the London Eye and the London Underground. Day trips to Windsor Castle and Land Rover take us outside of London.

ENGN 207

Electrical Circuits

A detailed study of electrical circuits and the methods used in their analysis. Basic circuit components, as well as devices such as operational amplifiers, are investigated. The laboratory acquaints the student both with fundamental electronic diagnostic equipment and with the design and behavior of useful circuits.

ENGN 240

Thermodynamics

A study of the fundamental concepts of thermodynamics, thermodynamic properties of matter, and applications to engineering processes.

ENGN 260

Materials Science

An introduction to solid state materials. A study of the relation between microstructure and the corresponding physical properties for metals, ceramics, polymers and composites.

ENGN 267

Bioengineering & Bio-Inspired Design

This course integrates biology, physics, engineering and quantitative methods to study how an animal's physiology is optimized to perform a critical function, as well as how these biological systems inspire new technologies. Topics include: long-distance navigation; locomotion; optical, thermal and auditory sensing; bioelectricity; biomaterials; and swarm synchronicity.

ENGN 311

Fluid Mechanics

This course covers a number of topics, including: fluid statics; application of the integral mass, momentum and energy equations using control volume concepts; and introduction to viscous flow, boundary layer theory and differential analysis.

Meet the Faculty

At W&L, students enjoy small classes and close relationships with professors who educate and nurture.

Dan Mazilu
Dan Mazilu

Dan Mazilu

Department Head; Professor of Physics

Mazilu teaches courses in general physics, classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and special topics in contemporary physics. His research interests include experimental and theoretical studies of self-assembled nanoparticle monolayers, as well as interdisciplinary projects in the field of complex systems.

Curriculum Vitae

Jonathan Erickson
Jonathan Erickson

Jonathan Erickson

Professor of Physics and Engineering

Erickson’s courses include Physics and Perception of Music, Electronics, and Bioengineering and Bioinspired Design. His research interests include biomedical signal processing for gastrointestinal electrical activity patterns. In his Bioelectronics Lab, students develop electronics hardware and software algorithms to measure dynamic patterns of electrical activity in the gastrointestinal tract.

Joel Kuehner
Joel Kuehner

Joel Kuehner

Professor of Physics and Engineering

Kuehner teaches courses in entry-level engineering, mechanics, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. His recent research focuses on periodic water flows and oscillatory natural convection to uncover the causes of periodic behavior. In his Fluid Diagnostics Lab, research examines turbulent mixing mechanics. Students acquire flow properties such as temperature or velocity using laser-based methods that do not disturb the flow.

Mengying Liu
Mengying Liu

Mengying Liu

Assistant Professor of Engineering

Mengying Liu teaches courses in materials and mechanics. Her research background is in hydrogen embrittlement behavior of alloy 725, investigating the localized plasticity on the surface of the hydrogen embrittled materials in situ with scanning electron microscope. She received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Irina Mazilu
Irina Mazilu

Irina Mazilu

Parmly Professor of Physics

Irina Mazilu teaches courses in general physics, statistical physics, nuclear physics and computational modeling of physical systems. Her current projects include nanoparticle self-assembly and applications of statistical physics to social sciences.

Curriculum Vitae

Tom McClain
Tom McClain

Tom McClain

Assistant Professor of Physics

Professor McClain teaches General Physics for first-year students. His research interests include quantum theories of gravity, gravitational wave astronomy, philosophy of physics, and mobile and cloud-based physics simulations for education.

Son Nguyen
Son Nguyen

Son Nguyen

Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics

Son Nguyen teaches courses in general physics and quantum mechanics. He is interested in applying effective field theories to nuclear few-body systems. His work involves the search for fundamental symmetry violations, direct detection of dark matter, and properties of cluster-structured atomic nuclei. Recently, he has been exploring new computational methods for studying few-body quantum mechanics using lattice formulations of these effective field theories.

Todd Rutkowski
Todd Rutkowski

Todd Rutkowski

Instructor of Physics and Engineering

Todd Rutkowski teaches courses in general physics. His current focus is on implementing effective physics pedagogies throughout the undergraduate curriculum. His research background is in condensed matter physics, studying magnetic phases of ultracold gases which arise due to strong quantum fluctuations at low temperature. He also studies cultural heritage science, leveraging non-invasive spectroscopic techniques to identify pigments used in historical paintings.

David Sukow
David Sukow

David Sukow

Robert Lee Telford Professor of Physics

Sukow’s courses include Stellar Evolution and Cosmology, Modern Physics, Optics, and Quantum Mechanics. His research involves nonlinear dynamics in semiconductor lasers, and is beginning to include astrophysics.

Jonathan Erickson
Joel Kuehner
Mengying Liu
Irina Mazilu
Tom McClain
Son Nguyen
Todd Rutkowski
David Sukow
Dan Mazilu