Penn State College of Engineering

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Coordinates: 40°48′12″N 77°51′58″W / 40.80345°N 77.86612°W / 40.80345; -77.86612

College of Engineering
Type Public
Established 1896
Dean Justin Schwartz
Location University Park, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Campus Suburban
Penn State College of Engineering logo 2015 version.png

The Penn State College of Engineering is the engineering school of the Pennsylvania State University. It was established in 1896, under the leadership of George W. Atherton. Today, with 13 academic departments,[1] over 10,000 enrolled students,[1] and research expenditures that exceed 100 million dollars annually, the Penn State College of Engineering is one of the leading engineering schools in the United States. It is estimated that at least one out of every fifty engineers in the United States got their bachelor's degree from Penn State.[2]

Academic departments and rankings[edit]

The Penn State College of Engineering was ranked 19th on the list of Best Engineering Undergraduate Schools 2014 and 25th on the list of Best Engineering Graduate Schools in 2011 by U.S. News & World Report.[3] The college has 13 degree granting academic departments,[1] many of which are ranked in top 10 nationally:[3]

Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering[edit]

The Leonhard Building, home of the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Penn State.

Established in 1908, the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania, is the oldest industrial engineering department in the world.[7] According to the most recent U.S. News & World Report university rankings, the undergraduate program is ranked eighth in the United States and the graduate program 8th.[8] The department is headed by Janis P. Terpenny, the Peter and Angela Dal Pezzo Chair, and is housed in the Leonhard Building in the West Campus area of University Park. Named for alumnus Harold Marcus and his wife Inge, the department employs 31 faculty members who serve approximately 200 graduate and 400 undergraduate students.[9]


At the turn of the 20th century, Penn State had developed a national reputation for its engineering curriculum,[7] but industrial engineering was only beginning to emerge as an academic discipline. Noted efficiency expert Frederick Taylor recommended that university president James A. Beaver hire Hugo Diemer, a professor from the University of Kansas, in the hope that Diemer would create an industrial engineering curriculum at Penn State. A two-year option was ready by 1908, and a four-year bachelor's degree program emerged the following year, the first of its kind in the world. At the time, courses consisted of modern industrial engineering fundamentals such as time and motion study, plant layout optimization, and engineering economics, in addition to courses on advertising and sales. The new department also took over the instruction of manual shop skills, including carpentry and metalworking.[7]

At the time, the department did not have its own building, and for many years shared building space with other departments in the university's College of Engineering. In the 1980s, members of the Penn State Board of Trustees began to consider expanding the campus toward the west, and by 1987, initial plans to construct a new engineering building were in place. The board funded the project in 1995 amid concerns of damaging the aesthetics of the previously undeveloped western edge of campus. Some trustees disapproved of the building design, but the board ultimately released $5 million from its fund dedicated to expanding west campus.[10] In 1998, the project received additional funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.[11] The building opened in 2000 and was named after William E. Leonhard, a 1936 Penn State College of Engineering alumnus who, with his wife, has donated in excess of $1 million toward engineering at Penn State.[12] In 1999, the department itself was named after alumnus Harold Marcus and his wife Inge, who donated $5 million to the department.[13][14]

In 2005, the department restructured the undergraduate industrial engineering curriculum for the first time in 21 years. Shifting its focus somewhat from its traditional manufacturing emphasis, the new curriculum introduced several courses related to the service industry. Four key research areas emerged: Human Factors; Manufacturing; Operations Research; and Production, Supply Chain, and Service Engineering.[15]


The 2014 U.S. News & World Report undergraduate program rankings placed the department eighth in the country, and the graduate program was ranked as tenth.[8] Twenty-nine full-time faculty currently serve nearly 200 graduate and 400 undergraduate students.[9]

At the undergraduate level, students can pursue a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in industrial engineering. The first two years of the program consist primarily of general engineering courses, including math and science. Once these introductory courses are complete, students begin taking industrial engineering courses on topics such as engineering economy, manufacturing technology, statistics, work design, and operations research.[16] Undergraduates are also permitted to pursue an approved minor and count three of the credits earned toward their industrial engineering degree.[17]

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree is available through both a traditional thesis track, or a one-year non-thesis track.[18]

At the Ph.D. level, students may pursue an industrial engineering degree, a dual-degree in industrial engineering and operations research, or a degree in industrial engineering with a minor in operations research.[19]

In addition to the study abroad opportunities available to all engineering students at Penn State, the industrial engineering department offers study abroad programs specifically for industrial engineering students.[20]


The computer lab for industrial engineering students located in the Leonhard Building
The FAME lab in the Leonhard Building

The offices of the department are located in the Leonhard Building. The structure encloses 95,200 square feet (8840 m²) on three stories, and its exterior is made of brick, cast stone, and glass.[10] While the building contains some offices for mechanical engineering faculty and hosts a variety of engineering and non-engineering classes, it primarily serves industrial engineering students and faculty. The building contains two lecture halls and multiple classrooms, a 24-hour computer lab, and undergraduate and graduate student lounges.[21]

The building also contains research and instructional laboratories, including: Additive Manufacturing and Reverse Engineering Lab; Benjamin W. Niebel Work Design Lab; Bridging Research in Innovation, Technology, and Engineering Lab; Complex Systems Monitoring, Modeling and Controls Lab; Design Analysis Technology Advancement Lab; Distributed Intelligent Systems and Controls: Research, Education, and Technology Lab; Engineering Statistics and Machine Learning Lab; Human Performance Assessment and Modeling Lab; Human Analytics Lab; Human Subjects Testing Lab; Laboratory for Quality Engineering and Systems Transitions; Optimization Modeling and Application Lab; Process Mechanics/Workholding Research Lab; Service Engineering and Applied Optimization Lab; and Smart Design and Manufacturing Systems Lab.[22]

The department also houses and supports a number of research centers and initiatives including the Center for e-Design, Center for Innovative Materials through Direct Digital Deposition, Center for Integrated Healthcare Delivery Systems, Center for Service Enterprise Engineering, Enterprise Integration Consortium, and the Initiative for Sustainable Electric Power Systems.[23]

Additionally, the building contains a 10,000 square foot (900 m²) high-bay manufacturing lab called the Factory for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME lab). With the goal of reinforcing material taught in the classroom and introducing students to common engineering processes, the department brought together a variety of manufacturing equipment. It partnered with Haas Automation to create the Haas Technical Center, a section of the lab that contains 10 Haas CNC machining centers and turning centers.[24]

Student body[edit]

The College of Engineering student body is relatively large, with 9,736 enrolled students (8,278 undergraduate and 1,458 graduate) in 2009, including 1,480 women and 545 minorities. The first woman engineer to graduate from Penn State was Frances Barbara Hosfeld, who got a degree in Industrial Engineering in 1921.[25]

The average class size for courses within the engineering majors is 25 students. Also, 21% of students in the Schreyer Honors College are from the College of Engineering.[26]

Research centers[edit]

In addition to intradepartmental research, Penn State College of Engineering faculty and students also conduct research through interdisciplinary research centers and institutes:[27]

  • Applied Research Laboratory (ARL)
  • Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence (VLRCOE)
  • Center for Acoustics and Vibration (CAV)
  • Institute for Computational Science
  • Materials Research Institute
  • Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment


The College of Engineering has over 81,000 living engineering alumni.[1] The Penn State Engineering Alumni Society (PSEAS) is the oldest active alumni group at The Pennsylvania State University.[1]

Alumni include:

Former faculty include Amos E. Neyhart, a traffic safety education pioneer and creator of the first driver education classes in the United States in 1933.[30] Inyong Ham, a Penn State professor (1958–95) and an IIE Fellow, was known for his development of group technology and research on the use of computers in manufacturing and process planning.[31]


  • First accredited in 1936, Architectural Engineering program at Penn State is nation's oldest continuously accredited curriculum in this field.
  • In 1923, professor Paul Schweitzer started one of the first systematic research programs in diesel engineering in United States.
  • In 1909, the first Industrial Engineering academic department and baccalaureate program in the nation were established at Penn State.
  • In 1960, Penn State established the first national curriculum in solid-state technology and in 1962 created the interdisciplinary materials research laboratory.
  • In 1965, Penn State Aerospace engineer Barnes W. McCormick led a research team that made the first wake turbulence measurements behind a full-scale airplane.


  1. ^ a b c d e "2009 College of Engineering factsheet" (PDF). PSU. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "College of Engineering". PSU. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Latest Rankings". US News and World Report. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "College of Engineering Rankings". PSU. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c Bezilla, Michael (June 1985) [1986]. "Shaping a Modern College". Penn State: An Illustrated History. Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 0-271-00392-8. Archived from the original on 10 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  8. ^ a b "Rankings". Pennsylvania State University College of Engineering. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  9. ^ a b "About the Department". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 2016-05-10. 
  10. ^ a b Paula Shaki (March 20, 1995). "New West Campus building funded". The Digital Collegian. Pennsylvania State University. Archived from the original on 2001-03-21. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  11. ^ Patricia K. Cole (May 1, 1998). "Ridge releases funds to help construction". The Digital Collegian. Pennsylvania State University. Archived from the original on 1999-10-05. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  12. ^ "Alumnus, wife donate $1 million to college". The Digital Collegian. Pennsylvania State University. August 31, 2000. Archived from the original on 2003-11-18. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  13. ^ Brandt, David. "Engineers who make a difference". Industrial Engineer (September 2006): 30–31. 
  14. ^ Daryl Lang (January 25, 1999). "Engineering department named for benefactors". The Digital Collegian. Pennsylvania State University. Archived from the original on 2001-01-10. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  15. ^ "Penn State Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering: Research". Retrieved 2016-05-10. 
  16. ^ "IE Undergraduate Required Courses". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  17. ^ "Undergraduate Curriculum Plan". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  18. ^ "Graduate Studies". Retrieved 2016-01-20. 
  19. ^ "Graduate Studies". Retrieved 2016-01-20. 
  20. ^ "Study Abroad Programs". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  21. ^ "General Purpose Facilities". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  22. ^ "Penn State Engineering: Facilities and labs". Retrieved 2016-05-10. 
  23. ^ "Penn State Engineering: Research centers and initiatives". Retrieved 2016-05-10. 
  24. ^ "Factory for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) Laboratory". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  25. ^ "PSU First Woman Engineer". New York Times. 12 June 1921. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "College of Engineering Research". PSU. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  28. ^ "Harold Gehman named by Penn State as Distinguished Alumnus". PennState. July 16, 2004. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  29. ^ "Gregory Lucier Named Recipient of Penn State's World-Class Engineer Alumni Award". Pennsylvania State University. April 21, 2006. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  30. ^ Bezilla, Michael (June 1985) [1986]. "The Quest for National Recognition". Penn State: An Illustrated History. Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 0-271-00392-8. Archived from the original on 4 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  31. ^ "Remembering Inyong Ham". Pennsylvania State University. Archived from the original on 2007-03-10. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 

External links[edit]