Cullen College of Engineering

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University of Houston
Cullen College of Engineering
Type Public
Established 1941
Parent institution
University of Houston
Dean Joseph W. Tedesco
Undergraduates 2,569
Postgraduates 710
Location Houston, Texas
Campus Urban

The Cullen College of Engineering, one of twelve academic colleges at the University of Houston, was established in 1941 and is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. More than 5,000 students are enrolled in engineering courses—3,759 undergraduates, 1,312 master's and doctoral students.[1] The Cullen College offers degree programs in biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, environmental, industrial, mechanical, subsea and petroleum engineering, with specialty programs in materials, and computer and systems engineering. The college's master's program in subsea engineering is the first of its kind in the United States. Its chemical and mechanical engineering programs have ranked among the top programs nationally.

Thirteen faculty members belong to the National Academy of Engineering.[2]


The UH Cullen College of Engineering offers undergraduate and graduate programs through seven academic departments and two major programs:

Department of Biomedical Engineering

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Department of Industrial Engineering

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Department of Petroleum Engineering[3]

Materials Engineering Program

Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture[4]

Subsea Engineering Program[5]

The Cullen College also offers the Honors Engineering Program in association with The Honors College at the University of Houston.


The Cullen College posted research expenditures of approximately $22.6 million in the fiscal year that ended August 2011, up from the previous fiscal year’s expenditures of $18.8 million. The majority of these funds were divided among the college’s four major research thrust areas: biomedical engineering, energy, materials, and sustainability (including infrastructure and the environmental research).

Research Thrust Areas[edit]

Biomedical-related research at the college had expenditures totaling $4.2 million in the 2011 fiscal year. Projects include research into biosensing/bioimaging, molecular recognition, neuroengineering and drug development/delivery.

The college’s research expenditures in the energy arena totaled approximately $4.8 million during 2011 fiscal year. Projects include investigations into superconductivity, lean burn engines, biofuels, offshore wind power, and tight gas deposits.

The materials research thrust, which includes nanomaterials-related research, posted research expenditures of $5.2 million during the 2011 fiscal year. Among these are investigations into nanomagnetic storage, piezoelectrics, and nanopantography.

The college’s sustainability research thrust covers investigations into infrastructure and the environment. It posted research expenditures of $6.7 million in the 2011 fiscal year. These include investigations into diesel vehicle emissions and retrofit testing, urban ground watershed modeling, severe storm management, airborne laser mapping, and concrete structures.

In addition to these thrust areas, the college expended $1.5 million on education-related research in fiscal 2011. These included Research Experience for Teachers and Research Experience for Undergraduates programs, both of which were funded by the National Science Foundation.

Major Research Centers[edit]

The Cullen College has four research centers: the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping, the Texas Center for Clean Engines, Emissions & Fuels, the Energy Devices Fabrication Laboratory, and the University of Houston Nanofabrication Facility.

Texas Center for Clean Engines, Emissions & Fuels[6][edit]

Founded in 2001, the Texas Center for Clean Engines, Emissions & Fuels (TxCEF) conducts comprehensive research, development and testing of advanced powertrain, renewable or alternative fuels and emission control systems for local, state and federal governments as well as the energy, engine and emission control industries.

The center is staffed with engineers and researchers from the Cullen College’s Departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Research projects incorporate involvement of faculty and graduate students from many additional departments within the University of Houston.

The main components of the facility are a 500 hp AC chassis dynamometer test cell, a 600 hp AC engine dynamometer test cell, a portable emissions measurement system, and a comprehensive catalysis research laboratory. The main focus of the testing activities is on emissions control technologies to decrease NOx and particulate matter (PM) emissions from on-road and off-road vehicles and equipment, as well as greenhouse gas reducing technologies. The research activities focus on the reaction engineering of advanced catalytic emission control technologies, synthetic fuels and additives, and alternative fuels in terms of emissions, fuel economy and sustainability.

The center performs several services for outside organizations, including pre-verification testing, technology screening, technology optimization, fundamental and applied research, concept development and technology demonstrations. The Center and its researchers have received financial support from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the City of Houston, Ford Motor Company and Cummins.

Nanofabrication Facility[edit]

Managed by the Cullen College of Engineering, the University of Houston Nanofabrication facility was developed in cooperation with the Alliance for NanoHealth. The facility features a state-of-the-art cleanroom equipped with an extensive toolset of nano/micro device prototyping and characterization. The Nanofabrication Facility consists of 3,000 square feet of class-100 space and 800 square feet of class-10 space.

The facility was constructed by the University with the support of the Alliance for NanoHealth to support research in various high technology areas from integrated circuits to biomedical devices. Businesses and institutions outside of the university can contract to perform research.

Research requiring the use of the facility is inherently multidisciplinary. Faculty, staff, and students access the labs and collaborate on projects originating from Electrical & Computer Engineering, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, University members of the Alliance for NanoHealth and industry.

National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping[edit]

The mission of the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping is to acquire airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) imagery; advance the state of the art in airborne laser mapping; and train and educate graduate students with knowledge of airborne mapping to meet the needs of private industry, government agencies and academic institutions.

The Center is based at the University of Houston and is operated in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley. NCALM is supported by the National Science Foundation and is associated with the multi-disciplinary Geosensing Systems Engineering and Science graduate program at the University of Houston.

Educational Outreach[edit]

The Cullen College operates several educational outreach programs designed to encourage students to study engineering and/or improve the retention and graduation rates of current students.

The Program for the Mastery of Engineering Studies Program, or PROMES Program (pronounced PROMISE) offers specialized freshman and transfer student curricula that emphasizes academic success strategies and personal and professional skills development. PROMES students participate in peer-led collaborative learning workshops supporting math, science, and engineering courses. Upper division students facilitate these workshops and receive stipends in return for their service. These workshops are targeted primarily toward freshman- and sophomore-level courses. As the program’s primary student retention initiative, these workshops are designed to help students grasp difficult concepts early in their engineering studies and allow them to gain confidence and important study skills. The program also provides scholarships, academic advising and other student services.

PROMES also operates Step Forward Camp. The camp is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation and through gifts from ExxonMobil, Shell, United Space Alliance, Hewlett-Packard, BP, and Chevron.

The STEP Forward Camp is a one-week residential engineering introduction program for rising 12th graders. Limited to 50 students, participants stay on the University of Houston campus in a dormitory and UH engineering students serve as camp mentors and counselors. STEP Forward Camp curriculum includes an introduction to the various disciplines of engineering; project-based learning, including hands-on team project competitions involving engineering design; site visits to Houston-area engineering companies; field trips to area engineering work sites; and panel discussions by working engineers and current engineering students.

The Cullen College also operates the Girls Reaching And Demonstrating Excellence Camp. G.R.A.D.E. Camp is a week-long day program designed specifically for entering 8th to 12th grade girls who want to learn about engineering through hands-on experience. G.R.A.D.E. CAMP is sponsored through National Science Foundation’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP); Texas Workforce Development grants; and industry support from ExxonMobil, Jacobs, British Petroleum and Texas Instruments.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Bill Calegari, member of the Texas House of Representatives
  • Rod Canion, co-founder and former president and chief executive officer of Compaq Computers
  • Maurizio Cheli, European Space Agency astronaut
  • Nancy Currie, NASA Astronaut
  • Bonnie Dunbar, NASA astronaut, former president of the Museum of Flight
  • J.D. Kimmel, former professional football player for the Washington Redskins and Green Bay Packers.
  • John D. Olivas, NASA astronaut
  • Hubert Vo, member of the Texas House of Representatives
  • Rex Walheim, NASA astronaut


  1. ^ "Facts". Retrieved 26 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "NAE Members". Retrieved 26 November 2016. 
  3. ^ "THECB Approves Petroleum Engineering Department at UH". Retrieved 26 November 2016. 
  4. ^ "Cullen College Graduate Programs". Retrieved 26 November 2016. 
  5. ^ "UH Subsea Engineering". Retrieved 26 November 2016. 
  6. ^ "Texas Center for Clean Engines, Emissions & Fuels". Retrieved 26 November 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°43′23″N 95°20′28″W / 29.723°N 95.341°W / 29.723; -95.341