About PBA's New Engineering Program
In fall 2023, Palm Beach Atlantic will launch its Bachelor of Science in Engineering program, reflecting a robust job market for engineers and a growing number of students seeking engineering education within a Christian worldview.
“All the pieces are in place,” said Dr. Fred Browning, professor of physics, who has led the development of the new engineering curriculum. It’s a challenging major of 130 credit hours, offering four concentrations: computer engineering, electrical engineering, engineering physics and general engineering.
Students interested in the program should apply here.
“We’re getting a lot of inquiries and a lot of enthusiasm from prospective engineering students,” said Dr. Robert Lloyd, dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He expects more than 20 students to enroll as freshmen engineering majors in the fall. In preparation, two classrooms are being revamped to become engineering labs.
Prospective students will need strong math skills, as they’ll “start right off with Calculus 1,” said Browning. In their first semester they’ll also take Introduction to Engineering, along with general education classes. The second semester will add a prototyping design class, using computer aided design and 3D printers.
The four-year curriculum will emphasize hands-on work and group projects, Browning said, with a two-semester senior design course as capstone. “Employers are looking for students with that kind of experience,” he said, noting that in recent years Palm Beach County’s booming economy has attracted numerous firms needing graduates from STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs.
PBA’s engineering grads will be well-rounded, Lloyd said, with a program “embedded in a liberal arts university” and taught in small classes by professors integrating their Christian faith into their teaching. One of those classes in particular, Engineering Seminar, will tackle subjects such as ethics and how one’s faith impacts design and purpose.
In the sophomore year, key classes will include physics and chemistry, with the upper-level engineering courses beginning in the junior year. As students work their way up through the curriculum of this new major, the university will expand its faculty with new hires in engineering. In addition, Lloyd and Browning have established a collaborative relationship with nearby Florida Atlantic University, so that PBA students might take some very specialized courses at the FAU campus.
PBA’s program received approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in October 2022. Lloyd credited Browning for his “tenacious and enthusiastic” research and program development leading up to that milestone. “I was just thrilled at how Fred has risen to the occasion on this,” he said, “and I think engineering will be a great success here.”
Photo: Dr. Fred Browning and physics student Allison Cool use an air track to study momentum transfer when the two red objects collide. Browning led the development of PBA’s new engineering curriculum.