DEGREES & PROGRAMS Engineering
Gain the technical skills and deep understanding needed to address crucial engineering challenges.
Deeply grounded in the liberal arts, our new engineering program blends a mix of courses in engineering, physics, mathematics, and chemistry. We seek to equip our graduates to find innovative solutions to enduring problems by cultivating collaboration, problem-solving and moral discernment. Increasingly, solutions to local and global challenges require insights from engineers, especially when addressing social mobility, caring for the environment, reducing poverty and promoting human welfare. Our graduates will benefit from thorough technical and scientific training and the interdisciplinary sensitivity and moral imagination of the Christian liberal arts. We've embraced the challenge from the National Science Foundation to prepare adaptive engineers committed to blending science, engineering and the arts.
A Message from the Director, Dan Jensen
Westmont Engineering is distinctive in many ways. Our program is built around three pillars:
Excellence in technical engineering training learned in small classes, focused on hands-on active learning, with professors that are very engaged with their students
Integration of Engineering Design and Innovation throughout the curriculum
A solid Christian liberal arts foundation
Westmont Engineering grants a General Engineering degree with an emphasis on Mechanical Engineering. The emphasis on Mechanical Engineering provides the largest set of possibilities for specialization, job opportunities and graduate school options. Our curriculum starts with our Christian liberal arts core and then combines a solid math and science foundation with in-depth content in all the critical technical areas of engineering. Our small class sizes (average engineering class size is about 10 students) are taught by Christian faculty who are experts in their fields. The small class sizes provide great opportunities for “learning by doing”, where we emphasize hands-on, design-oriented experiences that make the technical content come to life. In addition, the small classes allow you to really get to know your professors.
Our focus on engineering design and on innovation also distinguishes our program. Design is what differentiates engineering from other technical disciplines. Engineers create (design) products, processes and services to help people. This fits seamlessly into our Christian distinctiveness as we endeavor to love people by designing to help them live better lives. Westmont engineering has multiple courses where Design Innovation (DI) plays a central role. These courses include the first-year class “Engineering and the Liberal Arts”, the “Junior Design” class which focuses on designing to serve others and the 2-semester Senior Capstone Design courses where we work on industry sponsored projects. In addition, the Westmont Engineering curriculum weaves DI throughout the engineering curriculum by including mini design experiences that use the technical content for that course in a design experience.
The Christian liberal arts foundation of our engineering program provides a wonderful base for our engineering graduates to excel in their careers. While engineering practice requires great technical competence, engineering industry is increasingly demanding the thoughtfulness and skill set that a Christian liberal arts emphasis provides. Skills such as leadership, teamwork, conflict management skills, interpersonal skills, empathy and negotiation, as well as written and oral communication skills are seen as critical for successful engineering work.
Westmont Engineering works to integrate our professional endeavors with our faith experience. This is especially true as we creatively design things that help improve people’s lives. As Christian engineers, this aligns with Christ’s command to “love others as ourselves” (Matt. 22:39). In particular, our junior design course has an emphasis on “designing for service”.
Engineering graduates have tremendous opportunities across a broad range of possibilities. Mechanical Engineers (MEs) have opportunities in industries such as design, energy, sustainability, environmental resources, robotics, automation, vehicle design, aeronautics, space, manufacturing and internet of things (IoT).
International opportunities are available both during the time at Westmont and after graduation. Opportunities for females and ethnic minorities are especially abundant. In addition to all the engineering-specific highlights of the Westmont Engineering program detailed above, our students have the privilege of living in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA. Living just minutes from both the beach and the mountains is quite a thrill! Being just far enough from Los Angeles to avoid the traffic, but close enough to go enjoy the big city when you want to, is also wonderful.
Westmont Magazine Stories
Highlights of Westmont Engineering
Westmont has a stellar reputation for rigorous instruction and high-performing graduates.
Westmont's engineering program features strong technical content.
Westmont engineering classes integrate design focus and innovation/creativity throughout the curriculum.
Westmont engineering students benefit from a Christian liberal arts foundation.
Small class sizes provide opportunities to really get to know your professors.
In our program, a hands-on, active learning emphasis makes engineering fun.
The Westmont engineering program provides students with opportunities to design to make an impact in the world.
Westmont engineering faculty are at the top of their field and work on the cutting edge of research.
Engineering students at Westmont can gain real-world experience through internships that can count for elective credit.
A proposed new Westmont building will provide an incredible maker space and engineering student lounge for the engineering program.
Westmont's location in California means that graduates don't have to look far for remarkable job opportunities, and Santa Barbara is a beautiful place to live, study, and work.
Westmont has submitted plans for a new facility to house the engineering program the college launched in fall 2019. The proposed 5,200-square-foot maker space and engineering student lounge will be located between Physical Plant and the Abbott Tennis Courts. The project will cost less than $2 million, and Westmont hopes to complete it by late 2021. Several generous donors have fully funded the building, including a $475,000 grant from the Fletcher Jones Foundation.
The proposal calls for the ground level of the facility to include a large projects lab, computer-aided design (CAD) area with 3D printers, engineering student lounge, and workshop space for large power tools. The second floor, accessed by a freight elevator, will contain warehouse space for furniture storage and other campus needs. The building will have large, roll-up garage doors that can create a free-flowing space to an outdoor patio for year-round enjoyment of Santa Barbara’s temperate climate.
Engineers trained in mechanical engineering work in wide range of industries on a variety of projects, including new technologies such as automation and robotics. Engineering continues to be one of the most rapidly growing majors in the country, and demand in the job market for engineers is soaring. With many industries employing mechanical engineers in Santa Barbara County, Westmont engineering students will find a rich source of internships during college and jobs when they graduate.
Like all Westmont students, engineering majors will have the opportunity to conduct research with professors or pursue their own projects and ideas. This hands-on experience prepares them for engineering jobs and for graduate school.
Fall (total units 17)
- Engineering and the Liberal Arts (3)
- General Physics I (4)
- General Physics I Lab (1)
- Calculus I (4)
- G.E. Intro to New Testament (4)
- P.E. Fit for Life (1)
Spring (total units 17)
- Statics & Engineering Software (3)
- General Physics II (4)
- General Physics II Lab (1)
- Calculus II (4)
- G.E. Intro to Old Testament (4)
- P.E. (1)
Fall (total units 19)
- General Chemistry + Lab (4)
- Multivariable Calculus (4)
- G.E. Christian Doctrine (4)
- G.E. Writing for the Liberal Arts (4)
- Mechanics of Materials (3)
Spring (total units 16)
- Dynamics (4)
- Circuits + Electronics (4)
- Electronics Lab (0)
- Linear Algebra and Differential Equ. (4)
- G.E. World History (4)
Mayterm (Total Units 6)
- Materials Engineering (3)
- Manufacturing Processes (3)
Fall (total units 15)
- Thermodynamics (4)
- Control Systems (3)
- G.E. Foreign Language (4)
- G.E. Philosophical Reflections (4)
- Optional: Engineering Internship (0-3)
Spring (total units 15)
- Fluid Mechanics (3)
- Junior Design: Interdisciplinary (3)
- G.E. (4)
- G.E. (4)
- P.E. (1)
- Optional: Engineering Internship (0-3)
Fall (total units 16)
- Instruments & Measurements (3)
- Mechanical Design (3)
- Engineering Elective #1 (3)
- G.E. (4)
- Senior Design Capstone I (3)
Spring (Total units 12)
- Senior Design Capstone II (3)
- Engineering Elective #2 (3)
- G.E. (4)
- P.E. (1)
- Engineering Seminar: Faith, Technology, and Christian Responsibility- Writing Intensive (1)
- Preparation for FE Exam (0)
Requirements for a Bachelor of Science in engineering with concentration in mechanical engineering: 52 units of General Education Liberal Arts, 34 units of Core Science/Math and 51 units of Technical Engineering content.
Benefits of an Engineering Degree
An engineering degree opens myriads of opportunities! Engineers are complex problem solvers and critical thinkers. These two skills are the #1 and #2 “top skills” listed in the Future of Jobs Report from the World Economic Forum. In addition, Westmont's engineering program also addresses the third top skill (creativity) by infusing design and innovation experiences across the curriculum. Engineering skills are in high demand and will likely continue that trend for decades.
Mechanical engineers (MEs) have tremendous breadth in what they are qualified to do. MEs have opportunities in industries such as design, energy, sustainability, environmental resources, robotics, automation, vehicle design, aeronautics, space, manufacturing and internet of things (IoT). Many big and small companies are hiring MEs including Northrup, Lockheed, and Dept. of Defense as well as many small startup companies. One estimate projects over 25,000 US job openings in engineering in next decade. There are great overseas opportunities as well. Right now, there are 1,400 entry level job openings for engineers on one of the most prominent job websites (indeed.com). Opportunities for females and ethnic minorities are especially abundant. Starting salaries for MEs average over $70,000 and have great up-side potential.
While job opportunities and financial benefits may be important to our Westmont Engineering students and grads, the role that engineers can play in helping people live better lives is paramount. Engineers design products, processes and services that help people. As Christian engineers, this aligns with Christ’s command to “love others as ourselves” (Matt. 22:39). What a tremendous privilege and responsibility we have as Christian engineers to love people well, and serve them diligently, by creating (designing) things that help them!
The Difficulty and Enjoyment of an Engineering Program
Engineering coursework is difficult. One estimate indicated that approximately 50% of those that begin an engineering degree do not complete it. While Westmont’s small class sizes and committed faculty will create an environment that provides great opportunities for student success, hard work will still be essential for this success. Engineering students must be competent in math and science as a foundation for accomplishing in an engineering degree. Often, incoming 1st year engineering students have taken a calculus or pre-calculus class in high school. Most have scored well on the math part of the SAT or ACT. Some have also taken physics, chemistry or other science classes. Many have AP credits.
While engineering is difficult, it is also lots of fun! Engineers get to work on very interesting projects that help people. This “designing to help people” is a distinctive focus for Westmont Engineering and aligns with our Christian passion to love people. Engineering is almost always done in the context of teamwork. In Westmont Engineering, you will make life-long friends as you design and create together! Westmont Engineering weaves design and innovation into the curriculum across all 4 years. Our students have many opportunities for hands-on learning as they prototype their ideas. This idea of “learning while creating” makes the technical engineering content come to life.
Expertise is in interdisciplinary work that bridges biomechanics, rehabilitation, and mechanical engineering
Expertise is in innovation in the engineering design process
Demonstrates physics by lying on a bed of nails and walking on hot coals
A nuclear physicist who takes astronomical photos