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Cornell University College of Engineering
Cornell emblem.png
Established 1870
Type Private
Dean Chris Ober, interim
Faculty 236
Undergraduates 3,051
Postgraduates 1,426
Location Ithaca, New York, USA

The College of Engineering is a division of Cornell University that was founded in 1870 as the Sibley College of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanic Arts.

It currently grants bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in a variety of applied fields, and is the third largest undergraduate college at Cornell by student enrollment. The college offers over 450 engineering courses, and has an annual research budget exceeding $112 million.[1] Bill Gates donated $25 million in 2006 for the construction of a new building for Computer Science.



The original layout of the College of Engineering

The College of Engineering was founded in 1870 as the Sibley College of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanic Arts. The program was housed in Sibley Hall on the Arts Quad, both of which are named for Hiram Sibley, the original benefactor whose contributions were used to establish the program. The college took its current name in 1919, when the Sibley College merged with the College of Civil Engineering. It was housed in Sibley, Lincoln, Franklin and Morse Halls. In the 1940s the college moved to the southern end of Cornell's campus.

The college is known for a number of firsts. In 1883, the first course of study in electrical engineering in the world was introduced at Cornell. In 1889, the college took over electrical engineering from the Department of Physics, establishing the first department in this field. The college awarded the nation's first doctorates in both electrical engineering and industrial engineering. The Department of Computer Science, established in 1965 under the College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences, is also one of the oldest in the country.

Cornell Engineering is home to many teams that compete in student design competitions and other engineering competitions. Presently, there are teams that compete in the Automotive X-Prize, UNP Satellite Program[2], DARPA Grand Challenge, AUVSI Underwater Vehicle Competition, Formula SAE, Mini Baja, RoboCup, Solar Decathlon, Genetically Engineered Machines, The Great Moonbuggy Race, and others. Cornell's Formula SAE team has been particularly successful, having won the international event nine times, more than any other team.


Cornell's College of Engineering is very highly regarded in the engineering community, and has been ranked as being one of the top seven engineering programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.[3] The engineering physics program at Cornell was ranked as being #1 by U.S. News and World Report in 2008. Cornell's operations research and industrial engineering program ranked fourth in nation, along with the master's program in financial engineering.[4] Cornell's computer science program ranks among the top five in the world, and it ranks fourth in the quality of the graduate education. [5]

In nanotechnology, the college has developed into a leading institution. In a survery done by a nanotechnology magazine Cornell University was ranked as being the best at nanotechnology commercialization, 2nd best in terms of nanotechnology facilities, the 4th best at nanotechnology research and the 10th best at nanotechnology industrial outreach.[6]

Departments and schools

With about 3,000 undergraduates and 1,300 graduate students, the college is the third-largest undergraduate college at Cornell by student enrollment.[1] It is divided into twelve departments and schools:[7]

  • School of Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering
  • Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • School of Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Department of Computer Science
  • Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
  • School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Department of Materials Science and Engineering
  • Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • School of Operations Research and Information Engineering
  • Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics

The Engineering Quadrangle

Duffield Hall, a nanotechnology center completed in 2004

The Engineering Quad, was designed in the 1940s and 1950s on a site previously occupied by the Old Armory and faculty housing, using a master plan developed by the Perkins and Will firm. It has undergone major changes in recent years, particularly with the completion of Duffield Hall. In 2004, relandscaping with a design inspired by Cascadilla Gorge was completed and its landmark sundial was restored to its rightful place on the quad (after having been stored in Upson Hall during the construction period).[8] Also, modern and open collaborative working spaces were introduced with the construction of a large atrium connecting Duffield, which houses research and teaching facilities for nanoscale science and engineering, with Phillips and Upson (1956)[9] Halls. Connected to Upson Hall, away from the quad, are Grumman Hall (1957)[10] and Frank H.T. Rhodes Hall (1990),[11] which currently houses the Cornell Theory Center. On the southern end of the Quad, next to Upson and near Cascadilla Creek, are Kimball, Thurston[12] and Bard (1963)[13] Halls, all part of a single brick and concrete structure. Thurston is the home to the Theoretical and Applied Mathematics department, and Bard Hall the home of the Material Sciences department. Between Upson and Kimball stands Ward Hall (1963),[12] the soon to be closed down and former building for nuclear sciences. Next to Bard, and across the street from the Cornell Law School, stand Snee Hall (1984)[14] and Hollister Hall (1957).[15] Carpenter Hall (1956),[16] containing the Engineering Library, stands next to Hollister on the northwestern corner. The edge of northern face of the quad, mostly open space, is lined with trees along Campus Road. Across Campus Road is F.W. Olin Hall (1941),[17] the home of the Chemical Engineering department.

Future Developments

The College of Engineering has developed a facilities master plan that will result in one of the world’s finest engineering campuses. Replacement and renovations on the Engineering Quad will complement other new facilities on the Cornell campus, including Weill Hall, slated to open in the summer of 2008, which will house the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and the new physical sciences building, currently under construction and expected to be completed in 2010, that will house the School of Applied and Engineering Physics. Gates Hall, based on a $25 M gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is in the design phase. It will be located on the Engineering Quad overlooking the gorge and will house the Department of Computer Science and the Faculty of Computing and Information Sciences. Design has also been initiated for a new building that will replace Carpenter Hall and the north portion of Hollister Hall, providing new space for the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and for the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.[18]


The Engineering Quad sundial

The College of Engineering offers 13 undergraduate majors, 18 undergraduate minors, 16 MS/Ph.D fields and 15 Master of Engineering fields. The College of Engineering grants degrees in the following programs of study.

B.S. M.Eng. M.S. / Ph.D.
Aerospace Engineering Y Y
Applied and Engineering Physics Y Y Y
Applied Mathematics O
Atmospheric Sciences O
Biological Engineering O O O
Biomedical Engineering O O
Biophysics O
Chemical Engineering O O O
Civil and Environmental Engineering O O O
Computer Science O O O
Electrical and Computer Engineering O O O
Engineering Management O
Geological Sciences O O O
Information Science O O
Materials Science and Engineering O O O
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering O O O
Nuclear Engineering O
Operations Research and Engineering O O O
Statistics O
Systems Engineering O
Theoretical and Applied Mechanics O O


  1. ^ a b "Cornell Engineering: College Facts". College of Engineering, Cornell University. Retrieved 2006-07-06. 
  2. ^ "University Nanosat Program". 
  3. ^ "Cornell University News Service: Cornell ranks fourth in nation according to Washington Monthly, tops in engineering physics according to peers". Cornell University. Retrieved 2006-07-06. 
  4. ^ "Cornell Engineering Information Update". College of Engineering. Retrieved 2006-07-06. 
  5. ^ "Cornell Computer Science Admissions". Cornell University Computer Science. Retrieved 2007-12-25. 
  6. ^ "Small Times: Nanotechnology Rankings". Small Times: Maganize on Nanotechnology. Retrieved 2006-07-06. 
  7. ^ "Cornell Engineering: Departments and Schools". Cornell Engineering. Retrieved 2006-07-06. 
  8. ^ "Duffield Hall, landscaping project to give Engineering Quad new look". Cornell University. Retrieved 2006-07-06. 
  9. ^ 2045-UPSON HALL - Facility Information
  10. ^ 2043-GRUMMAN HALL - Facility Information
  11. ^ 2051-FRANK H T RHODES HALL - Facility Information
  12. ^ a b 2037-KIMBALL / THURSTON COMPLEX - Facility Information
  13. ^ 2070-BARD HALL - Facility Information
  14. ^ 2049-SNEE HALL GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE - Facility Information
  15. ^ 2046-HOLLISTER HALL - Facility Information
  16. ^ 2042-CARPENTER HALL - Facility Information
  17. ^ 2024-OLIN HALL - Facility Information
  18. ^ "Planning for the Best". Cornell Engineering Magazine. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 

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