Volgenau School of Engineering

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Coordinates: 38°49′39″N 77°18′18.7″W / 38.82750°N 77.305194°W / 38.82750; -77.305194 The Volgenau School of Engineering[1] is located in the Fairfax campus of George Mason University in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Volgenau School offers programs at the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. levels.

Established in 1985, the Volgenau School of Engineering was the first engineering school in the United States to focus its scholarship primarily on information technology-based engineering. It was also the first school to offer a doctoral degree in information technology and remains the Commonwealth of Virginia's only school of engineering with its main campus in the National Capital Region.

In conjunction with its 20th anniversary, the school received a $10 million gift from Ernst and Sara Volgenau and was named The Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering in honor of this gift. This gift enabled the school to create new academic and research programs in bioengineering.

In April 2009, the school moved to a new state-of-the-science building. This 185,000 square foot building was the first LEED certified building on campus and affords VSE the opportunity to more comfortably house its academic and research initiatives. A portion of the building is reserved as lease space for companies who want to work closely with faculty and students. During the next decade the school plans to grow and expand—doubling its enrollment, increasing the number of faculty, and research activity.

The Volgenau School of Engineering prepares students to be competitive in their field and achieve academic and career excellence in high-demand positions.

The Long & Kimmy Nguyen Engineering Building, home to the Volgenau School of Engineering.

The Dean of the School is Dr. Kenneth Ball, its Senior Associate Dean is Dr. Steven Nash, and its Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies is Dr. Sharon Caraballo.


The Volgenau School of Engineering is dedicated to formulating innovative solutions and developing useful technology to solve real-world problems. This ongoing and ever-expanding work exemplifies our commitment to generating new knowledge, supporting our community of scholars, and engaging in research of consequence. Some of our recent discoveries include improving wireless communication networks, inventing new ways of imaging with ultrasound devices, and developing robot intelligence and autonomy. Our faculty members and their research teams have also produced promising work for enhancing mental health by combating neurological disorders, improving network security by strengthening IT systems and recovering lost data by using digital laser microscopy. Funding sources include a variety of federal agencies including the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, as well as grants from business and industry. Last year the school's research expenditures totaled almost $20 million.


  • Department of Bioengineering
  • Department of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering
  • Department of Computer Science
  • Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Department of Information Science and Technology
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Department of Statistics
  • Department of Systems Engineering and Operations Research

Undergraduate programs[edit]

The school offers the following undergraduate degree programs:

  • Applied Computer Science
  • Applied Information Technology
  • Bioengineering
  • Civil and Infrastructure Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Cyber Security Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Systems Engineering

Information Technology[edit]

The program is run by the Department of Applied Information Technology (AIT).[1] The BS degree in Information Technology aims to meet the existing and emerging needs of the information technology industry by educating new IT workers in current principles and practices in information technology and its applications. With a strong focus on the application of IT in an increasing number of emerging sub-disciplines including web development, computer graphics, information systems, telecommunications, event-driven programming, network administration, and information security. There are currently five areas of Concentrations within the AIT Department: Information Security, Database Mining and Programming, Networking and Telecommunications, and Web Development and Multimedia.

Postgraduate programs[edit]

The Volgenau School offers 13 MS degree programs,[2] close to thirty focused 15-credit certificates,[3] and six post-master's degree programs including five Ph.D. programs and an Engineer in IT degree program.[4]

Master of Science Programs[edit]

The school offers the following MS degree programs:

  • Applied Information Technology,
  • Biostatistics
  • Civil and Infrastructure Engineering,
  • Computer Science,
  • Computer Engineering,
  • Computer Forensics,
  • Data Analytics Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering,
  • Geotechnical, Construction, and Structural Engineering, MEng,
  • Information Security & Assurance,
  • Information Systems,
  • Management of Secure Information Systems,
  • Operations Research,
  • Software Engineering,
  • Statistical Science,
  • Systems Engineering,
  • Telecommunications.

Doctoral Programs[edit]

The six PhD programs and the Engineer in IT degree programs are briefly described below.

Ph.D in Bioengineering[edit]

The doctoral program in bioengineering is designed to prepare future leaders in bioengineering. The terms bioengineering and biomedical engineering often have been used synonymously, referring to the application of engineering techniques to solve problems in biology and medicine. Rapid advances in understanding the molecular bases of disease have opened up new opportunities to advance human health through research that integrates knowledge in modern biology, engineering,physics, and computer science. The doctoral program will prepare leaders in bioengineering in this broader, integrative sense of the discipline.

Ph.D. in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering[edit]

The Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering (CIE) was created to prepare students for advanced leadership positions in research and development in the public or private sector, academics, or government. Students may elect to study in the areas of: environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, water resources engineering, construction engineering and management, infrastructure systems engineering, structural engineering, or transportation engineering.

Ph.D. in Computer Science[edit]

This nationally ranked program is run by the Computer Science [5] department and offers research opportunities in many different areas including Algorithms and Theory of Computation, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Computer Vision, Computer Science Education, Databases, Data Mining, Graphics and Image Processing, Information Systems, Languages, Parallel and Distributed Computing, Software Engineering, Security, and Systems and Networking.

Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering[edit]

This program is run by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).[6] The goal of the program is to prepare students to perform independent and original research in their areas of interest. There are currently five areas of active research in the ECE Department: communications and computer networks, computer engineering, control systems and robotics, signal processing, and microelectronics.

Ph.D. in Information Technology[edit]

This program is run by the office of the Senior Associate Dean. Students may conduct their doctoral research under the supervision of any eligible faculty member of any of the school's departments. A student may select to obtain this degree without a specific concentration or in one of the following concentrations: Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, Information Security, Information Systems, and Software Engineering. Choosing a concentration may impose additional requirements and may reduce the program flexibility.

Ph.D. in Statistical Science[edit]

This program is run by the Department of Statistics. Research areas of key departmental faculty in the program include statistical signal processing, biostatistics, statistical genetics, statistical graphics, and data exploration. The Department has had a history of producing top quality Ph.D. students from the former Information Technology program; many of them are employed in academia, the federal government, and technology firms. The terminal degree “Ph.D. in Statistical Science” represents the highest academic attainment for a statistician, and as such, requires in-depth knowledge of modern statistical theory and practice.

Ph.D. in Systems Engineering and Operations Research[edit]

This newly approved program is offered by the Department of Systems Engineering and Operations Research. The PhD in SEOR curriculum offers a unique integration of systems engineering and operations research. This integration affords students a strong analytical and computational capability on the one hand and an overarching systems perspective that is well-grounded in application of the other.

Engineer degree in information technology[edit]

This program is run by the office of the Senior Associate Dean. This is not a doctoral degree, but it allows students to combine advanced course work of the Ph.D. degree in Information Technology with an applied project. Students may conduct their project under the supervision of any eligible faculty member of any of the school's departments.


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