University of Florida College of Engineering

Last updated
Herbert Wertheim
College of Engineering
University of Florida Vertical Signature.svg
Type Public engineering school
Parent institution
University of Florida
Endowment Increase2.svg$1.73 billion (2018) [1]
Dean Cammy Abernathy
Academic staff
Undergraduates 5,800
Postgraduates 2,500
Location, ,
United States

29°38′54.3″N82°20′54.5″W / 29.648417°N 82.348472°W / 29.648417; -82.348472 Coordinates: 29°38′54.3″N82°20′54.5″W / 29.648417°N 82.348472°W / 29.648417; -82.348472
New Engineering Building UF NewEngineeringBuilding.jpg
New Engineering Building
Rhines Hall UF RhinesHall.jpg
Rhines Hall

The Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering is the largest professional school, the second largest college, and one of the top three research units at the University of Florida. The college was founded in 1910, and in 2015 was named in honor of Herbert Wertheim – a serial inventor, philanthropist and UF Distinguished Alumnus. Located on the university's Gainesville, Florida campus, the college is composed of nine departments, 15 degree programs, and more than 20 centers and institutes. It produces research and graduates in more than a dozen fields of engineering and science including: aerospace, agricultural, biological, biomedical, chemical, civil, coastal, computer, computer science, digital arts, electrical, environmental, industrial, materials, mechanical, nuclear, and systems.



The College of Engineering was founded in 1910. Dean John R. Benton led five faculty members who taught 48 students a curriculum of civil, mechanical and electrical engineering. The first engineering building, later named Benton Hall, was finished in 1911.

The purpose of the college was to "prepare young men for useful careers by training engineers and technical employees." The college's first graduating class consisted of five men. By 1915, the college had 35 graduates, 23 being employed in engineering, mostly in the state of Florida.

In 1918, most university activities were subordinated to activities supporting the World War I effort. The college was home to U.S. Army training school work and a war-measures school for radio operators. Following the war, enrollment increased. The 1920 freshman class exceeded 300 men — almost twice the size of the previous year, and the university began charging tuition fees. For $245 annually, engineering students could earn a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering or chemical engineering.

In 1941, war again spurred rapid growth in the college's research programs with the establishment of the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station (EIES), which contributed substantial support for World War II efforts. The college had secret contracts with the Office of Scientific Research and Development, the U.S. Signal Corps, the National Bureau of Standards and other agencies totaling more than a half million dollars. After the war, reports revealed that the college's contribution "would make an enviable chapter in the history of any institution." EIES later focused on preserving Florida's natural environment.

Enrollment increased rapidly during the postwar period. In 1950, the Engineering and Industries building (now Weil Hall) was built to accommodate the need for more space. At that time, Weil Hall housed the entire college. In the 1950s, the University of Florida began enrolling women, and in 1955, the first woman graduated from the college with a master's degree in chemical engineering. In 1957, nuclear engineering was established as a department, and in 1959, the university's 10,000-watt nuclear training reactor became Florida's first critical reactor.

Always in need of more space, the college in 1964 began construction on the South Complex, with buildings for electrical, aerospace, chemical and environmental engineering, and the North Complex, with buildings to house mechanical and materials engineering. In 1967, the departments moved into their buildings.

The 1970s were a turbulent time. Due to increased sensitivity about the natural world, many college departments focused research around environmental subjects. Environmental engineering began offering undergraduate degrees; agricultural engineering focused on water conservation and irrigation; coastal engineers were looking to stabilize Florida's coastlines; nuclear engineering was studying the feasibility of offshore power plants; and mechanical engineering became a national leader in solar energy studies.

Former Dean Weil Joseph Weil.jpg
Former Dean Weil

Computers were changing the nature of research within the college. The departments of Industrial & Systems Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer & Information Sciences were doing advanced research in computer-related fields. This shift began with an engineer: UF alumnus John Vincent Atanasoff. In 1973, Atanasoff was credited as the originator of the modern computer. He had created a prototype of the first digital calculator in 1939, and it possessed many features of modern computersa binary system, regenerative memory, logical schemes as elements of software and electronic components for storing data.

Multi-disciplinary biomedical engineering research was also becoming important within the college. University of Florida materials engineers developed and patented Bioglass, the first composite material that would bind securely to bone.

Engineering enrollment tripled during this era under the leadership of Dean Wayne H. Chen, who increased efforts to attract under-represented students. Research funding rose from $4 million to $30 million during his 15-year tenure, which ended in 1988.

Chen also emphasized the need for interdisciplinary research. Several centers and institutes were founded at the University of Florida in the 1980s, including the Center for Microcomputers in Transportation; the Innovative Nuclear Space Power and Propulsion Institute; the Software Engineering Research Center; and the Center for Intelligent Machines and Robotics, the first university robotics laboratory in the United States.

Research expenditures and department growth continued under Dean Win Phillips, who is now UF's vice president for research. By 1990, the College of Engineering ranked 12th in the nation in research expenditures.

Weil Hall Weil hall night.jpg
Weil Hall

Again needing more space, groundbreaking for a $19 million New Engineering Building occurred in early 1995. The 85,000-square-foot (7,900 m2) building now houses parts of the Electrical & Computer Engineering, Environmental Engineering Sciences and Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering departments. The college also won a bid for a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center during the 1994–95 academic year. The Particle Science & Technology Center conducts research in an area that represents $1 trillion to the nation's economy.

A recent research focus has been on new materials, electronics and communications. UF materials engineers created the world's largest diamond at 1,600 carats (0.32 kg). UF engineering experiments in crystal growth also rode to orbit on the space shuttle.

Computer science faculty and their students equipped the Computer Sciences and Engineering building with the first wireless computer network on campus. The college, collaborating with the College of Fine Arts, launched a popular digital arts and sciences program that focuses on defining, creating and advancing digital technology for applications in the entertainment industry, science, medicine, manufacturing and education.

A biomedical engineering degree program was approved in 1997 and quickly won a $1 million grant to support the program, reflecting the National Institute of Health's increase in biomedical engineering research.

By 1998, a third of the college's students were enrolled in computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering majors, reflecting the impact information technology was having on engineering. In fall 2003, total enrollment in the college exceeded 6,000 students. Total research expenditures in the 1999–2000 academic year were more than $61 million and would rise to $90 million in the 2003-2004 fiscal year under the strong leadership of Dean Pramod Khargonekar, who took the helm in 2001 and stepped down in 2009.

Currently led by Dean Cammy Abernathy, the college's first female dean, today the college strongly emphasizes the importance of leadership and innovation in an engineering curriculum.

Schools and departments


The University of Florida College of Engineering was awarded $85 million in annual research expenditures in sponsored research for 2018. [2]

Priority areas

Engineering research priorities listed on the college website:


  • Advanced Manufacturing for Healthcare
  • Engineering the Brain
  • Soft Matter Engineering


  • Energy Systems
  • Resilient Coastal Communities


  • Cybersecurity
  • Autonomous Systems

Enabling technologies

  • Informatics Tools and Techniques
  • Bioinformatics
  • Human Centered Computing

Research facilities

Graduate rankings according to U.S. News & World Report (2020 edition)

Seal for the College Gatorengineering seal.jpg
Seal for the College
Overall College of Engineering 46th overall in the United States
Biological/Agricultural Engineering8th overall

Undergraduate Ranking according to U.S. News & World Report (2021 edition)

Student involvement

The Benton Engineering Council (BEC) was established in 1910 to serve as the executive and legislative coordinating body for the students and organizations in the College of Engineering. There are currently 51 undergraduate and graduate student societies in the council, including many UF chapters of national organizations. [4]

See also

Related Research Articles

Duke University Pratt School of Engineering

The Pratt School of Engineering is located at Duke University in the United States. The school's associated research, education, alumni and service-to-society efforts are collectively known as Duke Engineering.

The College of Engineering is the engineering school of Texas A&M University in College Station and is home to more than 15,000 engineering students in 14 departments.

Cornell University College of Engineering Engineering school

The College of Engineering is a division of Cornell University that was founded in 1870 as the Sibley College of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanic Arts. It is one of four private undergraduate colleges at Cornell that are not statutory colleges.

The Cockrell School of Engineering is one of the eighteen colleges within the University of Texas at Austin. It has more than 8,000 students enrolled in eleven undergraduate and thirteen graduate programs. The college is ranked 10th in the world according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities, 11th nationally for undergraduate programs and 10th nationally for graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report. Nine of the ten undergraduate programs and seven of the eleven graduate programs are ranked in the top ten nationally. Annual research expenditures are over $180 million and the school has the fourth-largest number of faculty in the National Academy of Engineering.

The School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. is a technical school which specializes in engineering, technology, communications, and transportation. The school is located on the main campus of the George Washington University and offers both undergraduate and graduate programs.

Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science

The Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science is the engineering school of Yale University. When the first professor of civil engineering was hired in 1852, a Yale School of Engineering was established within the Yale Scientific School, and in 1932 the engineering faculty organized as a separate, constituent school of the university. The school currently offers undergraduate and graduate classes and degrees in electrical engineering, chemical engineering, computer science, applied physics, environmental engineering, biomedical engineering, and mechanical engineering and materials science.

North Carolina State University's College of Engineering (CoE) is the flagship college of engineering in the state of North Carolina and the largest college at North Carolina State University in terms of enrollment, followed by CHASS, with 9 core departments and 3 affiliated departments offering 18 bachelor's, 17 master's and 13 doctoral degrees. The College is the fourth largest college of engineering in the nation. The college's Engineering Online has one of the largest enrollments of any online engineering program in the U.S. and is consistently listed as a "Best Value" in online engineering education by

FIU College of Engineering and Computing

The Florida International University College of Engineering and Computing, located in Miami, Florida in the United States is one of the university's 26 schools and colleges and was originally established in 1973 as the School of Technology. The College of Engineering and Computing offers bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees within the college's 8 separate schools, departments and institutes. The college offers online and distance learning courses and programs through the Office of Distance Education. This office was previously known as FIU FEEDS, a statewide distance learning initiative adopted by the college in 1985.

The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering is the joint college of engineering of Florida A&M University and Florida State University. The College of Engineering was established as a joint program serving two universities in Tallahassee, Florida: The Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, which received recognition from the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in 2010 for ranking number one as the institution of origin for African Americans earning Doctorates in Natural Science and Engineering; and, Florida State University which has gained worldwide recognition for its extensive graduate and research programs. The college is located less than three miles from either university.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is one of the three faculties that comprise the University of Manchester in northern England. Established in October 2004, the faculty was originally called the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences. It was renamed in 2016, following the abolition of the Faculty of Life Science and the incorporation of some aspects of life sciences into the departments of Chemistry and Earth and Environmental Sciences. It is organised into 2 schools and 9 departments: Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science; Chemistry; Computer Science; Earth and Environmental Sciences; Physics and Astronomy; Electrical & Electronic Engineering; Materials; Mathematics; and Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering.

The Cullen College of Engineering, one of twelve academic colleges at the University of Houston, was established in 1941 and is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. More than 5,000 students are enrolled in engineering courses—3,759 undergraduates, 1,312 master's and doctoral students. The Cullen College offers degree programs in biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, environmental, industrial, mechanical, subsea and petroleum engineering, with specialty programs in materials, and computer and systems engineering. The college's master's program in subsea engineering is the first of its kind in the United States. Its chemical and mechanical engineering programs have ranked among the top programs nationally.

University of Arkansas College of Engineering

The College of Engineering is the University of Arkansas' college for engineering students.

Ohio State University College of Engineering Engineering College of the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, US

The Ohio State University College of Engineering, including the Knowlton School of Architecture is the academic unit that manages engineering research and education at Ohio State. The college can trace its origins to 1870 when the Ohio General Assembly chartered the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. In 1878, the institution's name changed to The Ohio State University.

Henry Samueli School of Engineering

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering (HSSoE) is the academic unit of the University of California, Irvine that oversees academic research and teaching in disciplines of the field of engineering. Established when the campus opened in 1965, the school consists of five departments, each of which is involved in academic research in its specific field, as well as several interdisciplinary fields. The school confers Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

The Irwin and Joan Jacobs School of Engineering is an undergraduate and graduate-level engineering school offering BS, BA, MEng, MS, MAS and PhD degrees at the University of California, San Diego in San Diego, California. The Jacobs School of Engineering is the youngest engineering school of the nation's top ten, the largest by enrollment in the University of California system, as well as the largest engineering school on the West Coast and the ninth-largest in the country. More than thirty faculty have been named members of the National Academies. The current dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering is Albert P. Pisano. The Jacobs School of Engineering sends a monthly news email which anyone can subscribe to.

University of Utah College of Engineering

The College of Engineering at the University of Utah is an academic college of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. The college offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering and computer science.

VCU College of Engineering

The Virginia Commonwealth University College of Engineering is a Richmond-based engineering education institution that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in biomedical engineering, chemical and life science engineering, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical and nuclear engineering. Established as the "School of Engineering" in 1996, its name and status was officially changed to the College of Engineering in April 2018. The college's dean, Barbara D. Boyan, cited doubled faculty numbers and an increase in funding as reasoning for the switch from school to college.

The University of Missouri College of Engineering is one of the 19 academic schools and colleges of the University of Missouri, a public land-grant research university in Columbia, Missouri. The College, also known as Mizzou Engineering, has an enrollment of 3,204 students who are enrolled in 10 bachelor’s programs, nine master’s programs and seven doctorate programs. There are six academic departments within the College: Biomedical, Biological and Chemical Engineering; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering; Information Technology; and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The college traces its beginning to the first engineering courses taught west of the Mississippi River in 1849. The college was ranked 88th nationally by the U.S. News and World Report in 2016.

The University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, or UB Engineering, is the largest public engineering school in the state of New York and is home to eight departments. Established in 1946, UB Engineering is ranked 59th by U.S. News & World Report and has an annual research expenditure of $72 million.

Syracuse University College of Engineering and Computer Science School of engineering and computer science at Syracuse University

The Syracuse University College of Engineering and Computer Science is an undergraduate and graduate college of the Syracuse University.


  1. As of June 30, 2018. "Annual Performance Report". University of Florida Foundation. 2018. Archived from the original on January 17, 2019.
  2. "University of Florida smashes research awards record with $837.6 million in fiscal year 2018". University of Florida. July 31, 2018. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  3. "University of Florida Rankings".
  4. Societies of BEC