Visit Clark School Department Sites
For engineering students, faculty and collaborators, exploring the Clark School's departments can be a process of discovery with virtually endless possibilities for learning and cross-disciplinary connection. Browse this page for brief introductions to our departments.
Understanding flight, exploring space and designing components, vehicles and systems are the abiding interests of the faculty and students at the Department of Aerospace Engineering. Whether simulating the environment of space in a neutrally-buoyant underwater environment, studying flight of helicopters and hypersonic planes, or developing advanced structures made of largely unknown composite materials, they are soaring beyond traditional aerospace engineering education and research.
The department has broadened its traditional emphasis on aeronautics to develop additional strengths in astronautics, new technologies and interdisciplinary activities. Distinctive facilities such as the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center, the Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel and the Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility ensure that the educational and research opportunities available in aerospace engineering at the Clark School are unlike those at any other institution in the world.
The Fischell Department of Bioengineering provides exceptional educational and practical experiences for students while having a direct impact on human lives. The department strives to prepare its students to meet the challenges of a rapidly-growing field and the needs of employers in industry, medicine, and the government. The department believes that developments at the intersection of biology and engineering will advance the efficacy of healthcare by developing new paradigms for the diagnosis of disease, and the development and delivery of new therapeutics.
Undergraduate students take engineering foundation courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and math during their first two years of study. In the third and fourth years, the focus shifts to the areas of biomedical imaging, biomechanics, physiological systems, and transport. Capstone courses, taken in year four, feature visiting experts and allow students the opportunity to engage in discussion on current issues in bioengineering such as ethics, clinical trials, regulatory issues, venture capitalism, business principles, and entrepreneurship.
The Graduate Program in Bioengineering offers research and education opportunities leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. It provides a basic understanding of bioengineering at the molecular and cellular level, focusing on biomolecular and cellular rate processes, cellular and tissue biomechanics, the electrophysiology of the cell and cellular and physiological transport phenomena. In addition, the program stresses the application of this fundamental understanding to the development of medical diagnostics systems, bio-devices and vaccines.
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Chemical and biomolecular engineers explore opportunities and challenges that have a direct impact on people's lives, from devising new methods to protect and improve the environment, to creating new biotechnologies that battle disease, to developing new processes to produce advanced materials.
This discipline weds them chemical, physical sciences and life sciences with engineering practice. Faculty members have a variety of strengths, including particle science and nanotechnology, biochemical and biomedical engineering, environmental engineering, transport phenomena and mixing, polymer science and polymerization reaction engineering, process control, systems modeling and thermophysical properties.
Unique opportunities are available for students and faculty to work closely with researchers in the Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility, Institute for Systems Research, Institute for Physical Science and Technology and University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute. Additional research partners include the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the National Institutes of Health, Maryland biotechnology firms and companies such as W. R. Grace, ExxonMobil, and DuPont.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Civil and environmental engineers provide vital infrastructure services for our nation that include clean and safe drinking water, sanitary waste disposal, transportation services and construction management. But the role of the civil engineer has broadened beyond those traditional fields to urban and city planning, hazardous waste disposal and management, pollution control and the planning and building of superhighways, power stations and rapid transit systems.
The department is the Clark School's second oldest, yet it is contemporary in its orientation. Faculty and students are involved in solving some of the most fundamental problems in our society, such as repairing the nation's aging infrastructure and developing new ways to protect the environment from hazardous waste and misuse. The department is committed to research and education programs that focus on analysis and creative thinking, that integrate the latest information technology, and that utilize new technologies such as geographic information systems, intelligent transportation systems, and new materials. Balancing fundamental science, engineering science and design, the department produces highly trained students and new knowledge for the 21st century.
Electrical and Computer Engineering
The fields of electrical and computer engineering have had a profound impact on industry and society throughout the 20th century, and will continue to shape the technologies of the future. Electrical engineering is the discipline that develops the applications of electrical and electronic devices and systems, while computer engineering cultivates computer software, hardware and integrated system design. These disciplines are everywhere: in computers, private and broadcast communications, consumer electronics, medical devices, energy storage and transmission, transportation systems and space technology.
In the Information Age, electrical and computer engineers are playing a leading role, fueling the explosive growth of information technology through the miniaturization of computer circuitry and the proliferation of reliable communication links.
The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering maintains the largest graduate program at the University of Maryland, and is among the nation's leaders in the number of bachelor's degrees awarded. The department administers the joint M.S. in Telecommunications, and the undergraduate Computer Engineering Degree program, in conjunction with the Department of Computer Science.
Fire Protection Engineering
Fire is a complex physical phenomenon. Fire protection engineers integrate the increasingly sophisticated understanding of fire and fire hazards in a complex human and technological environment. Through the use of engineering fundamentals, the fire protection engineer assesses fire and fire-related problems and formulates solutions that are not only functional but also economically and socially feasible.
The Clark School of Engineering is home to the premier fire protection engineering program, offering the only ABET-accredited undergraduate program in the nation. ABET accreditation is assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students. For example, an accredited engineering program must meet the quality standards set by the engineering profession.
Graduates find employment in the public and private sectors and are involved in designing fire protection systems for high-rise buildings and industrial complexes; analyzing fire protection systems in nuclear or conventional power plants, aircraft and aerospace vehicles; and researching fire propagation, detection and suppression. Fire protection engineering alumni have been active in formulating fire-related codes, regulations and standards that have been adopted throughout the nation and the world.
Materials Science and Engineering
The fabrication of novel materials with high performance properties and the construction of systems characterized by reliability, safety and maintainability will be critical to the successful functioning of a modern, technologically oriented society. At the same time, these advanced technological developments must be sustained by environmentally prudent sources of energy. The ability to produce technologically sophisticated goods will also be a major factor in the future prosperity of contemporary societies.
The Department of Materials Science and Engineering is positioned to address these societal needs through its unique combination of educational and research programs in advanced materials, reliability and radiation-nuclear engineering. With emphases on developing new practices for material processing and manufacturing, new approaches toward achieving quality and reliability, the development of smart materials for consumer products and the refined utilization of nuclear engineering to solve national environmental and energy problems, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering is involved in interdisciplinary research and education in gateway technologies-those technologies that open up new ones in other engineering disciplines.
Today's mechanical engineers use cutting-edge computing, smart sensors and electronic technology to design and manufacture automated products for the future. Science and technology will continue to expand, and so will the demand for skilled mechanical engineers.
With research emphases in areas such as smart structures, electronics packaging, energy and environmental engineering and manufacturing, the department has strong links with other engineering departments, centers and institutes. This interdisciplinary focus benefits students, faculty and industry.
The Clark School's mechanical engineering graduates choose from a wide array of career paths, demonstrating that the degree is an excellent stepping stone for a rewarding professional life. Currently mechanical engineering graduates are pursuing divergent careers in medicine, software design and environmental engineering in addition to the traditional mechanical engineering fields such as heat transfer, fluids, manufacturing and fracture mechanics.