A tour of the Valpo Solar Energy Research Facility

Engineering Minors

An engineering minor is beneficial to both engineering students and non-engineering students. For engineering students, a minor within the College of Engineering will further knowledge within other engineering disciplines. For non-engineering majors, a minor in engineering is of particular interest to students pursuing a career in an engineering-related field and to science students who need an approved minor to graduate.


The purpose of the biomedical engineering minor is to expose Valpo students to a broad and exciting field aimed at improving the lives of others. The minor works well with the mechanical engineering curriculum and essentially directs students in their choices of elective courses while working toward graduation. However, the required courses can be completed by any student that has the necessary background and prerequisites in math and physics.

The focus of the biomedical engineering electives will be dictated by the expertise of each individual faculty member. One semester students might learn about the electrical signals the nervous system conveys to various muscles, and the next semester those students might learn about how to design prosthetic limbs and control them with existing anatomical inputs. Students who complete this 18 credit minor will graduate prepared to pursue graduate school or industrial jobs in one of the many applications of biomedical engineering, such as designing implants, medical devices, or prosthetics/orthotics.

Human Movement Research Laboratory

Current research being performed in the Human Movement Research Laboratory in Gellersen falls under three main projects:

  • the analysis of gait while wearing different running shoes (four current engineering students),
  • the design and control of a prosthetic arm (three current engineering students),
  • and the development of a statistical metric that will be used to indicate when an athlete is on the verge of an injury (nine current engineering students and five current kinesiology students).

These studies are supported by state-of-the-art equipment that allows researchers to track people in motion using motion-capture cameras, record muscle activity using electromyogram (EMG) sensors, and study impact loads using in-sole pressure maps. These research projects have helped the College of Engineering send two students to the annual American Society of Biomechanics Conference in 2011, two students to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 2012 Summer Bioengineering Conference, five students to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 2013 Summer Bioengineering Conference, and six students to the World Congress of Biomechanics in 2014.

The humanitarian engineering minor is designed to give students the understanding and the opportunity to apply engineering concepts to improve the welfare of the less advantaged. The 18 credits needed to complete this minor are fulfilled through courses intended to enhance cultural awareness and to help students identify problems that can be solved by the application of engineering principles. One of three GS 180 credits that make up the 18 required credits must include participation in Working Across Vocations Everywhere through Service (WAVES) activities or a similar approved engineering project. Students earning a humanitarian engineering minor will have a unique credentials that will make them attractive to employers and organizations in the nonprofit sector that focus on humanitarian efforts. Hear Rachel’s story.

Engineering students seeking further breadth in their courses of study may wish to earn one or more minors within the College of Engineering. The following minors are available to engineering majors:

  • Civil engineering — a minor in civil engineering is available to students majoring in computer, electrical, or mechanical engineering. A minimum of 18 credit hours in civil engineering, excluding CE 202, is required.
  • Electrical and Computer engineering — A minor in electrical engineering is available for students majoring in civil or mechanical engineering. A minimum of 19 credit hours is required.
  • Mechanical engineering — A minor in mechanical engineering is available for students majoring in civil, computer, or electrical engineering. A minimum of 19 credit hours is required.

This interdisciplinary minor will broaden the experiences of students with traditional majors by exposing them to approaches used by various disciplines and sectors of society that are attempting to solve complex environmental problems. A minimum of 20 credit hours is required to complete this minor.

Mechatronics is an interdisciplinary engineering field that combines mechanical, electrical, electronics, control, and computer engineering. Engineers who work in mechatronics design and work with electro-mechanical systems that include sensors, actuators, programmable logic controllers, microprocessors, software, computers, and mechanical components. An excellent example of a mechatronic system is a robot.  The purpose of the mechatronics minor is to provide students an opportunity to complete relevant coursework in the mechatronic field.

By utilizing required professional and technical electives, bioengineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering students can complete the mechatronics minor with 9 to 12 credits beyond the required major coursework.  Mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering minors can be earned in addition to the mechatronics minor by completing one additional course in the associated discipline.

A student in an engineering-related field may choose to pursue the engineering minor. This minor is particularly helpful to students who start in engineering and choose to change their major to a related field or for those who plan to work closely with engineers.

Engineering Minor — For non-engineering students, this minor offers an introduction to foundational areas of engineering. A minimum of 18 credit hours of engineering courses is required for this minor. Of these, at least nine credits must be from 200-level or higher courses.