Wake Engineering FAQS

If your question is not answered here, please send an email to engineer@wfu.edu

When will the new Engineering program start?

Wake Forest University will enroll students in the new Engineering major starting in the fall of 2017. The first engineering class will be offered in the fall 2017 semester. This means that freshman-level engineering courses will be first offered in the 2017-2018 academic year, sophomore-level courses will be first offered in the 2018-2019 academic year, and so on.  Our inaugural engineering class will be graduating in May 2021. We are making history!

What is the status of ABET accreditation for the new Engineering program?

ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) is the accrediting board for undergraduate engineering programs. No engineering program can apply for ABET accreditation until the program has graduated its first class. Wake Forest Engineering will graduate its inaugural class in May 2021. In July 2021, we will submit our ABET Self-Study to be followed by an ABET visit in the Fall 2021 semester.  The official outcome for accreditation will not be known until July/August 2022, at which time accreditation will be retroactive to the previous year’s class (i.e the inaugural class of 2021). The curriculum is being designed to satisfy all the requirements for ABET accreditation and the faculty in the program have prior experience with ABET accreditation.   at new engineering programs at prior institutions.  For example, Department Chair Olga Pierrakos successfully co-led ABET accreditation efforts at a new engineering program at a prior institution and is also currently a trained ABET Program Evaluator.  

Are all the courses in the Engineering program going to be offered at the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter as part of Wake Downtown?

Although we do not know all the specific logistical details of the program at this time, most of the required Bachelor of Science in Engineering courses are planned to be offered at Wake Downtown. We encourage and want all interested students to come and explore the engineering facilities with us not only during scheduled engineering courses.  

What is the vision for the new Engineering program?

To empower students to become self-directed learners who are fearless in the face of complex problems. Students will understand engineering as a science, as a humanistic experience, as an art, in design thinking and problem solving, as change makers.

Why a B.S. in Engineering?

Our B.S. Engineering program challenges students to apply core engineering fundamentals to a variety of disciplinary contexts and situations, broadening their ability to apply fundamentals to real engineering systems. To give an example, most discipline-specific engineering programs (such as mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering, and aerospace engineering) require students to enroll in fluid mechanics courses, but the fundamental knowledge for such a course is common to all the disciplines. The specific applications can be different.  Our students will learn the fundamental knowledge and apply this knowledge in diverse applications. In other words, our Wake Forest engineering students will learn how fluid mechanics applies to mechanical, chemical, biomedical, and environmental systems. This is depth and breadth!  As our students apply the fundamentals to a variety of discipline-specific situations, they grow into confident and competent engineers that can tackle any engineering problem.  Adaptable and versatile engineers!  

A B.S. Engineering degree also provides more flexibility for students to pursue their passions and interests beyond engineering. We encourage students to pursue their passions and interests, as well as find ways to integrate such interests with their engineering education. Through this integration, students develop into liberal arts engineers.

What is a liberal arts engineer?

A liberal arts engineer is able to incorporate fundamental knowledge and skills from a variety of disciplines, including the arts, humanities, and social sciences, into engineering practice. This breadth and depth of knowledge leads to innovation because the approach to problem finding and problem solving is to integrate diverse knowledge, perspectives, and skills.  The output being more innovative and yielding a more positive impact on humanity.  This is a liberal arts engineer. This is the Wake Engineer.

What does the curriculum look like?

The B.S. Engineering program requires 120 credit hours: 45 in engineering, 30 in mathematics and science, and the remaining comprising a combination of general education requirements and free electives. This curriculum will allow students to create customized pathways to align with personal and professional interests.  Some pathways align with existing institutional strengths (like biomedical engineering, sustainability, entrepreneurship and innovation, business, etc.), while other pathways are under development. We encourage our students to share their interests with us and together we will customize a plan that works for all – assuring our curriculum satisfies ABET accreditation requirements and allows flexibility for our students to embed their passions and interests.   

Our curriculum will balance theory and practice.  Just as important as it is to learn the theories and concepts, it is important to also practice using a minds-on and hands-on approach.  Each semester, our students will take part in projects that allow them to practice the knowledge they are gaining.  Some projects will be team-based, while some will be completed independently.  Some projects will be well-structured, while others will not. We want our curriculum to prepare students for the real-world where most problems engineers face are complex with almost never having one “correct” solution (as is typically taught within traditional, lecture-based engineering classrooms).  Thus, problem solving in the classroom and projects in the classroom at Wake Engineering will navigate our students to deal with complexity and adapt to varying types of problems.

Wake Engineering students will learn engineering fundamentals like statics, dynamics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, materials, circuits, and instrumentation, but also learn about systems thinking and systems analysis, design thinking and design methodology, sustainability and sustainable solutions, ethical decision making, etc. Although through technical knowledge gains our students will be prepared to take and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam –http://ncees.org/engineering/fe/, our curriculum will prepare students for real-world problem finding and solving beyond what is on this FE exam.  Just as important as the technical knowledge and skill gains will be the personal and professional knowledge and skills. After all, a well-rounded engineer is what the workforce demands of our graduates.

Can I specialize in a particular type of engineering?

All students majoring in engineering will graduate with a B.S. in Engineering degree. Specialized educational experiences in a variety of engineering fields will be available through curricular projects, elective coursework, research, independent study, and internships. What is unique about our program is that the faculty represent a variety of engineering disciplines, yet come together to offer one BS engineering degree. This diversity of expertise in the faculty will offer opportunities to students that a traditional discipline-focused engineering department might not.  The founding faculty alone have backgrounds in mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, materials engineering, biomedical engineering, and transportation engineering. The variety of engineering expertise will continue to grow as the engineering faculty grows and students will be exposed to diverse engineering applications.

What are job prospects for students graduating from this program?

Our program is designed to position graduates for success in a wide variety of career paths including industry, government, consulting, entrepreneurship, design, policy, and graduate school. Professional school pursuits such as medical, law, and business school are also possible. Our faculty are committed to working with our students in designing academic pathways to meet student goals, and it is important that students are engaged partners in this process.   Not only are engineering majors some of the most highly sought out graduates, but engineering graduates also fair quite well with starting salaries and job prospects.

What computer should I purchase as an engineering student?

We recommend the Dell XPS 13” based on functionality and software compatibility. We have no specific recommendation in regards to the Non-Touch versus Touch versions. Computer options can be viewed on the WakeWare webpage (https://is.wfu.edu/services/wakeware/).

What if I want to major in Engineering and be PreMed?

Premedicine (PreMed) is not a degree program at Wake Forest. Any student can consider themselves on the PreMed track, it is just a matter of enrolling in the courses required to apply to medical school. There are Wake Forest faculty designated as PreMed advisors. These folks are your best resource for answer PreMed questions. Their website,  http://college.wfu.edu/prehealth/course-planning/medicine/, is a great resource to get you started. If you plan to major in Engineering and complete the PreMed requirements, it is best to consult both a PreMed advisor and an engineering faculty member in planning your courses.

How do I get to Wake Downtown?

Multiple shuttles run back and forth between Benson Circle (Reynolda Campus) and the Vine St. entrance of Wake Downtown. During the academic year the Wake Downtown shuttle runs every 15-minutes on weekdays from 8am-11pm, and every 30-minutes on weekends from 10am-6pm, picking and dropping off on the quarter hour. These shuttles are ADA compliant, and are equipped with bicycle racks, WiFi, and charging ports. The Innovation Quarter/Brookstown shuttle runs between Benson Circle and Wake Downtown in 30 minute intervals; it also stops at Brookstown Inn four times a day. Travel time from Reynolda Campus to Wake Downtown is usually 15 minutes; however, students are asked to leave 30 minutes between classes when travelling from either location to the other.

Wake Forest University students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to download the TransLoc Rider app, which allows users to track shuttles and access on-call shuttle services after business hours.

Additional insights and questions about Wake Downtown might be answered here – http://wakedowntown.wfu.edu/faqs/

What food options exist at Wake Downtown?

Food Dollars can be used with certain vendors within the Innovation Quarter, including Medical Grounds in the BGCME (open weekdays 7:30am-4:30pm) and Cafe Brioche in Biotech Place (open weekdays 7am-3:30pm).  Vending options, including snacks, drinks and coffee, are available on the lower level of Wake Downtown in the Student Commons (room 0904). There are numerous local options within walking distance, such as food trucks at Bailey Park (schedule available here) and Krankies Coffee.