Coe College plans to add engineering degree

Caio Bragatto in ClassCoe College intends to add a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree to its 60+ areas of study beginning in the 2024-25 academic year. The addition is pending Higher Learning Commission approval.

Employment in engineering fields is projected to grow faster than average over the next decade compared to other occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median wage is also expected to continue to exceed national averages as well, by nearly $40,000.

“This is an exciting development for us at Coe, especially considering the confluence of professional demand, interest in engineering displayed by current and future Kohawks and our internationally well-regarded pre-engineering and physics programs,” said Coe College President David Hayes ’93.

Coe’s Physics Department is already one of the largest and most respected programs in the state of Iowa. For years, Coe graduates have become celebrated engineers across a range of fields, having excelled in physics, chemistry, mathematics and computer science at Coe and entering graduate school on full-ride scholarships. 
Since 1979, no Coe physics major accepted into graduate school has had to pay for their advanced degree. They have gone on to graduate programs such as Oxford University, MIT and Northwestern University and conducted research at CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider collaboration. 

The existing expertise, connections and technology within the physics program has created a strong foundation for a dedicated engineering physics major, which has been lauded by local business leaders as well.

"We have incredible businesses in the Cedar Rapids area and surrounding communities. Manufacturing continues to be a critical element of our community’s economic success, and strong engineering programs that attract and retain top talent in our community are a must. We are excited to partner with Coe College on their new engineering program and continue to foster the economic and social development of our students and city," said Rocki Shepard, CEO of New Leader Manufacturing.

When the program is approved, engineering students at Coe will have significant advantages:

  • Individualized instruction from skilled research faculty who are globally recognized for their expertise and are the No. 1 Most Accessible Professors in Iowa (No. 7 in the nation) according to The Princeton Review.
  • Elite internship connections locally and globally. Kohawks have interned with Collins Aerospace, NASA, Corning, Inc. and Google, among others. Coe is also ranked as the No. 1 private school for internships in Iowa (No. 12 in the nation) by The Princeton Review.
  • Established research partnerships. Coe is one of just a few small colleges to host a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates site and has received numerous NSF research grants, totaling nearly $15 million.
  • More than $3 million in physics research equipment inside Peterson Hall, where the engineering program will be housed. 

“Our engineering degree will have a significant experiential and interdisciplinary lean, aligning with the requirements for an engineering program and the liberal arts tradition,” said Assistant Professor of Physics Caio Bragatto. “This adds an even deeper level of learning past the technical aspect of engineering — one that will sharpen each students’ critical thinking, creative problem solving and communication abilities — all in high demand in the market and integral in order to excel in the field.”

Kohawks have benefitted from this approach across all disciplines. All Coe students are guaranteed an internship, research project or off-campus study before graduation and, for the past decade, nearly 100% of reporting Coe graduates have been employed or in grad school within nine months of graduation.

Request for approval to offer this new program is underway with the Higher Learning Commission.

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