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University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering: Shaping the Future of Engineering through Research, Education, and Engagement


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The University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering has been a leading institution in engineering education and research for almost two centuries. With a rich history dating back to the early days of the industrial revolution, the school has played a significant role in shaping our state, country, and world through its innovative processes and designs. Today, the Swanson School continues to produce highly qualified engineers and conduct cutting-edge research that addresses some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

From bioengineering and sustainability to nanotechnology and product innovation, the school is dedicated to developing solutions that create a better future. The faculty and staff at the Swanson School are committed to supporting students by providing excellent educational programs, conducting leading-edge research, and creating innovative industrial partnerships. As such, the Swanson School of Engineering is a place where students can learn, innovate, and make a real impact on the world around them.

Guiding Values and Mission

The Swanson School is guided by a set of core values that reflect its commitment to academic excellence, innovation, and social responsibility. The school’s leaders are dedicated to promoting scholarship and creativity, encouraging open-mindedness and collegiality, and ensuring student satisfaction with their university experience. The school also places a high value on diversity in its staff, faculty, and student body, recognizing the importance of different perspectives in fostering a culture of innovation and excellence.

In addition to these values, the Swanson School holds itself accountable for its performance, striving for quality in both teaching and research. The school recognizes the importance of academic freedom and shared governance, fostering an environment of interdisciplinary collaboration that encourages the exchange of ideas and the pursuit of new knowledge. Together, these values define the Swanson School of Engineering as an institution that is committed to promoting excellence, innovation, and social responsibility and to preparing its students for successful careers as leaders in their fields.

A Diverse Range of Interdisciplinary Programs

The Swanson School offers a diverse range of programs and courses that reflect its commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. The school’s departments include Bioengineering, Chemical and Petroleum, Civil and Environmental, Electrical and Computer, Industrial, and Mechanical and Materials Science, each of which offers a wide range of programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The Bioengineering department, for example, offers programs in biomechanics and biomaterials, bioimaging and bioinformatics, and biotechnology and regenerative medicine, among others. The Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering explores an array of fields from energy and sustainability to computational modeling, pharmaceuticals, and biomaterials. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers programs in civil engineering, environmental engineering, structural engineering, transportation, and infrastructure, among others.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers programs in those areas as well as robotics, power and energy, and, while the Industrial Department offers programs in safety engineering, operations research, machine learning, healthcare optimization, and supply chain management. Finally, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science expertise includes cyber-physical systems, mechatronics, metallurgy, soft matter biomechanics, nuclear engineering, quantum computing, computational fluid dynamics, and much more.

In addition to these departmental programs, the Swanson School offers interdisciplinary programs in areas such as Advanced Manufacturing, Energy, Nanomaterials, and Sustainability. These programs reflect the school’s commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation and provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Individual Attention and Support to Students

The Swanson School is committed to each student’s academic success and support. Firstly, all students are admitted to the First-Year Engineering Program as undecided majors. This allows students to take core classes that are required for all engineering disciplines, form study groups, and learn to work in teams, which are essential skills required in their future majors.

Additionally, first-year engineering students are assigned advisors who are knowledgeable about the curriculum and requirements and are focused on helping the student transition from high school to college and achieve goals that set them on the path of a successful college student. The advisors provide guidance and support to help students make informed decisions about their major, coursework, and career paths.

Furthermore, the Swanson School offers a range of resources to ensure student success, including tutoring services, study groups, academic workshops, and counseling services. These resources are available to all students and the faculty and staff is committed to providing personalized attention to help students overcome academic challenges and achieve their goals.

Creating a Culture of Inclusion

The University’s Office of Inclusion and Belonging (OIB) is dedicated to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, especially those who come from traditionally excluded identities, cultures, and communities. The OIB team works collaboratively to provide holistic student development, programming, and co-curricular engagement and advising to explore and bridge the need for equity in three main areas of the student experience that impact their sense of belonging: student journey, student identity, and student worldview.

Through the OIB, students can find resources and support to help them navigate the challenges of college life, build community, and connect with others who share similar experiences and identities. The OIB also offers opportunities for students to participate in cross-cultural programming and events, engage in meaningful dialogue, and develop intercultural competence.

Additionally, the Swanson School strives to maintain a diverse student body, faculty, and staff and recognizes the importance of creating an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and supported. The school offers various resources and initiatives to support diversity and inclusion, such as diversity scholarships, mentorship programs, and student organizations focused on underrepresented groups in engineering.

Enhancing College Experience through Extracurricular Activities and Resources

Students have many opportunities to participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities and resources for students to enhance their college experience. The Engineering Student Council oversees several student chapters of national engineering organizations, allowing students to network with professionals and develops their skills beyond the classroom. The school also offers Living Learning Communities (LLCs), specialized living environments that connect students inside and outside the classroom experiences, and access to intentional events and programs. In addition, students can participate in research opportunities, internships, and co-op experiences, giving them real-world experience and exposure to potential career paths.

Empowering with Latest Technologies

The Swanson School of Engineering recognizes the importance of leveraging the latest technologies for students’ benefit. Pitt IT provides a wide variety of software titles to students through the university’s agreements with software vendors, ensuring that students have access to the latest tools and technologies to support their learning and research. The institute also provides maker spaces equipped with 3D printers and other tools for design projects, allowing students to experiment and bring their ideas to life.

Additionally, students have access to lab equipment for research, ensuring that they have the necessary resources to conduct cutting-edge research in their respective fields. By providing access to the latest software, equipment, and tools, the institute empowers students to become proficient in the latest technologies, preparing them for successful careers in their chosen fields.

Career Opportunities and Professional Development

The Swanson School of Engineering provides its students with several career opportunities upon graduation. The co-op and internship programs through the Office of Experiential Learning and Professional Engagement are designed to provide students with real-world experience in their respective fields, which often translates to job offers upon graduation. The program helps students gain practical experience and develop their professional skills, making them more marketable to potential employers.

Additionally, student engineering professional chapters organize their own job fairs for students, giving them access to potential employers in their respective fields. The institute also hosts a career fair each year, where students have the opportunity to meet with representatives from various engineering firms and companies. This career fair helps students connect with potential employers, explore career options, and develop a professional network.


ALSO READ: The 10 Elite Engineering Colleges of 2023



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