James Madison University


The research areas of the Department of Engineering faculty reflect a broad range of expertise that cut across a variety of engineering disciplines (from mechanical engineering to civil/environmental engineering to biomedical engineering to materials engineering, etc.). Most of the areas of research expertise of the faculty center around sustainable development technologies, whether those are energy-related, like fuel cells, renewable energy, alternative fuels, etc. or related to automotive, biomedical, environmental, and materials research problems. A strength and uniqueness to our Department of Engineering is the breadth of research areas that students can get exposed to and these research areas transcend a variety of engineering disciplines but also allow students to work in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research projects, which bring together knowledge from many engineering and scientific disciplines.

Student Projects

Having a curriculum that strongly integrates problem-based learning with an emphasis on balancing theory and practice, our students are exposed to a variety of projects that equip students with real-world practical skills in problem solving, team work, project management, communication skills, etc. Students projects begin from the first engineering course (ENGR 112) and continue every semester till senior year. A unique feature of our program is the six course design sequence, which is the spine of the program (a course every semester) and offers students the opportunity to not only learn and apply engineering design in a variety of contexts, but also provides instruction in sustainable engineering design concepts and practices encompassing the four pillars of sustainability (environmental, social, economic, and technical) as well as creative problem solving, thinking and communication skills, project management, technical writing, decision making, etc.

Capstone Symposium

The Engineering Symposium showcases junior and senior projects from the Department of Engineering capstone experience.  The Department of Engineering capstone experience is a culminating engineering design experience that enables our students to address a real-world need through the application of a design process, design methods, systems thinking, and sustainability perspectives. The experience spans a two-year duration (junior and senior years) with students working in teams of four to six students.  A typical design process involves:

  • planning and information gathering,
  • concept generation, evaluation, and selection,
  • design embodiment and modeling, and
  • testing and refinement.  

In each of the four semesters of the experience, students are required to prepare a formal design report as well as deliver a formal presentation to faculty, student peers, and external constituents (sponsors, industry representatives, collaborators, etc.).