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The Program

Enriched Instruction

Students have two undergraduate engineering degree options: 1) an ABET-accredited bachelor of science in engineering; and 2) a dual degree program that awards a bachelor of arts degree in applied physics from Whitworth and a bachelor of science degree in a specialized engineering field from one of the university's partner schools, which compete for these top-tier students: Washington University in St. Louis, Columbia University and Washington State University.  

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Foundation in electrical and mechanical engineering


Proficiency in math, physics and computational techniques; enhanced by the liberal arts

Problem-solving Competency

Four-year emphasis on hands-on design culminating in a year-long design project


  • Successfully work with peers from different backgrounds and skill sets
  • Adept at goal setting, planning and execution
  • Skilled in oral and written communication

Ethics and Values

Christian values permeate the curriculum, helping students connect their values and beliefs with their chosen discipline

Senior Capstone Project

Hands-on engineering design experience is a critical part of our curriculum, culminating in a yearlong capstone project from September to May. Once completed, each student team delivers a project report, formal presentation, and a prototype of the design including engineering design documentation.

Design Project for Schweitzer Engineering Labs

As Associate Professor Markus Ong, Ph.D., says, the goal of the newly restructured capstone design course sequence, required of Whitworth's engineering majors, is for students to make something useful that they can be proud of. A team of three students is doing just that by working with client Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) this academic year.

The student team is researching ways that SEL can improve its recloser boxes, which are cabinets that open and close sections of the electrical grid and play a critical role in minimizing power outages. The students are working to address the issue of condensation that can form inside the boxes in certain climates. They plan to deliver to SEL their report and recommendations, which the company may use as part of a larger redesign of the boxes.

Team member and engineering major Luke Knack '23 aspires to work in mechanical product design for outdoors equipment, particularly for rock climbing and mountaineering. He says the skills he has developed through the capstone course, such as project management, file documentation, and the use of finite element analysis software, will be invaluable in his pursuit of this goal.

"I have really appreciated the opportunity to devote a lot of energy toward one large project and produce something excellent, especially as it is in pursuit of meeting the real needs of our sponsor, SEL," Knack says. "This has given me a better picture of what 'real engineering' looks like and has made me even more excited about what lies ahead for me! I believe I am better equipped to be a great engineer because of this class."



Classroom Learning + Engineering Innovation = World-class Program

Whitworth's foundational training "future proofs" graduates for the real-world technical, social and ethical challenges they will encounter as engineers.

WhitSat Nanosatellite Project Provides 'Out of This World' Experience

The WhitSat program is Whitworth's long-term, student-led endeavor to design, build, launch and operate a satellite. It is part of NASA's CubeSat Launch initiative that provides means for small satellite payloads to fly on rockets planned for upcoming launches. Housed in the department of engineering & physics, this interdisciplinary opportunity is available to all STEM students through a faculty-advised club that provides academic credit.

WhitSat leverages existing faculty-student research and the curriculum of the B.S. in engineering major that prepares graduates for emerging technologies and also addresses important problems in physics research. Students are currently designing the program's first satellite, which intends to measure specific forms of radiation in space and transmit the results back for analysis.

Physics and mathematics double major Margaret Fairborn '25 leads WhitSat's Power Group, which is focused on selecting the optimal method for powering the satellite.

"The WhitSat project has provided me with the opportunity to approach an engineering problem in a different way than one typically would in a class or during summer research," Fairborn says. "Working on a self-directed project has challenged me to find solutions to open-ended questions and has provided me with the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of students who are all equally excited to help Whitworth make it to space."

Engineering & Physics Professor Kamesh Sankaran, Ph.D., serves as the club's faculty advisor. He says the WhitSat program provides immense growth opportunities for Whitworth students because of the enormity of the challenge.

"The program requires technical expertise that students don't get in a typical undergraduate curriculum, working with an interdisciplinary team that spans multiple 'generations' of students before and beyond one's time at Whitworth, working with external industrial partners, and ensuring compliance with NASA and rocket launch companies' regulations," Sankaran says. "While there are many programs that claim to offer a 'real world' experience for their students, this gives Whitworth students an 'out of this world' experience that will shape the rest of their lives."

Innovation in Microdevices Lab Opens Opportunities for Students 

In Whitworth's Microdevices Lab, faculty members and students are researching new ways to fabricate, integrate and apply devices with functional elements at the microscale (on the scale of the thickness of a human hair). While microdevice research typically requires a cleanroom, graduate-level researchers, and very expensive instruments, lab leader Philip Measor, Ph.D., assistant professor of engineering & physics, has bypassed these needs by focusing on using a much more accessible piece of equipment – a 3D printer.

Since the lab's inception in 2018, nearly 20 students have had the opportunity to serve as research assistants on innovative projects with applications for human health and more. One such project is a 3D printed COVID-19 PCR microdevice that the lab demonstrated for the first time. Measor and research assistant Kristi Shaka '24, a biochemistry major, presented on this research this year at SPIE Photonics West, a premier international industry conference held in San Francisco.

"In the Microdevices Laboratory, I have learned how to explore scientific questions in a holistic way, intertwining approaches from biochemistry, computer science and engineering," Shaka says. "The Photonics West conference was one of the most transformative learning opportunities I've been offered here at Whitworth University. By seeing how cutting-edge scientific development goes hand in hand with entrepreneurial initiatives, I realized how important it is to not only be a good scientist, but also an effective communicator and innovative thinker."