Engineering Topics graphic

Are you interested in a specific topic but having a tough time declaring your major? Explore our topics and find out what we have to offer you.

  • acoustics Acoustics

    Acoustics is the study of mechanical wave propagation in fluids (such as air and water) as well as in solid material. The Mechanical Engineering department offers a graduate program in acoustics.

  • aerospace Aerospace engineering

    Aerospace engineering is the development of aircraft and spacement. The Mechanical Engineering program offers an undergraduate concentration in Aerospace Engineering, with coursework in aerodynamics, structural mechanics, power and propulsion, and vehicle dynamics including stability and control.

  • artificial intelligence Artificial intelligence

    Artificial intelligence is the development of machines that respond to input from the surrounding environment in ways that have traditionally been associated with human intelligence, i.e., machines that solve problems, learn from experience, and interpret and process complex information such as human speech, visual information, etc. The department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science offers coursework and a graduate program of study in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.

  • biomaterials Biomaterials

    Biomaterials possess engineered physical, mechanical, microstructural, and interfacial properties that interact with human tissues to serve a useful purpose. At Catholic University, biomaterials research advances cutting-edge applications including development of scaffolds for bone tissue formation, microfluidic membrane arrays for biofluid analyte sorting, and magnetically micro-actuated systems for dynamic force loading of cells and tissues. This research supports the drive to create better implantable constructs to repair tissue, to design microliter, point-of-care diagnostic devices, and to better understand the role of micro-scale forces in diseases such as cancer. Biomaterials are the subject of research in the Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering programs.

  • biomechanics Biomechanics

    Biomechanics is the study of internal forces in the human body and external forces applied to the body during everyday activities. For example, researchers in Biomedical Engineering are using advanced motion capture methods and sensors to study the abnormal movements of patients after neurologic injuries, such as stroke. These studies provide insights into the mechanisms that underlie the abnormal movements and guide the development of new treatment approaches.

  • composites Composites

    Composites or composite materials represent a class of engineered materials that exhibit very high specific stiffness and strength and are easily tailorable. Composites are used in many applications in Mechanical Engineering are studied extensively in Materials Science and Engineering.

  • computer graphics Computer Graphics and Visualization

    Computer-generated imagery has application in a wide variety of fields, including science , medicine, and entertainment. The Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science offers coursework and a graduate program of study in Visualization and Computer Graphics, including medical image processing and analysis, minimally invasive image-guided system, image registration, and bioinformatics.

  • construction management Construction Management

    Construction sites, for example for buildings, bridges, roads, and tunnels, are complex endeavors. Managing them means providing professional input during their design, planning, execution, and operation. This is to ensure that the product - here a built facility - will progress on time and within budget, will reach the desired quality, and of course, be done safely. Construction managers must understand both the administrative side as well as technical means and methods, especially resources like heavy equipment and how they operate. Are you interested in learning how to apply management techniques to construction? Our Civil Engineering program offers a concentration in Construction Management.

  • electromagnetics Electromagnetics

    Electromagnetic waves are used in a wide variety of engineering different applications, such as wireless communications, satellite communications, and military platforms. The department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science offers coursework and a graduate program of study that covers creating and using antenna design tools for different antennas such as reflectors and phased arrays, implications of antenna performance on communication systems, and characteristics of wave propagation through different media.

  • energy Energy

    Engineers design systems that generate energy, from sources that include combustion of fossil fuels or biofuels, nuclear power, hydroelectric generation from rivers, power from wind, ocean currents and tides, photovoltaics, etc. Transmission and storage of energy are also important areas of engineering research. The Mechanical Engineering program also offers an undergraduate concentration in Energy and the Environment and graduate coursework in a variety of topics related to energy generation. The Electrical Engineering program also offers study in alternative energy sources and systems.

  • engineering management Engineering Management

    Be prepared to manage and lead engineering and technical organizations. The Engineering Management Program endeavors "to provide excellence in engineering management education for graduate students to enhance their careers and to accelerate their learning as they leverage new engineering and technological advances while leading, managing, and serving a diverse workforce within their respective organizations". Courses are taught by seasoned professionals who have the education and experience to provide students with an understanding of engineering management practices and the underlining theory. Want options? The Engineering Management Program has three Degree tracks (Master of Science in Engineering degree) and four Certificate options available based on student needs (Professional Certificates in- Engineering Management, Program Management, Systems Engineering, or Management of Information Technology). Close academic alignment and collaboration is also maintained with the Construction Management program in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.

  • environment Environment

    Many aspects of engineering relate to the environment, including pollution control, environmentally-sustainable construction and manufacturing practices, and environmentally-friendly generation, transportation, and storage of power. Providing clean water, managing stormwater, and treating wastewater, clean-up of contaminated sites, handling solid and hazardous waste, and controlling air pollution are among the areas that fall under environmental engineering. Power generation technologies include photovoltaics, wind- and hydro-power, and next-generation fossil-fuel power with reduced pollutant emissions, while storage and transmission topics include batteries, fuel cells, and smart grid infrastructure.

    The Civil and Environmental Engineering department offers an bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in Environmental Engineering, as well as concentration in Environmental Engineering and Water Resources in its Civil Engineering degrees. The Mechanical Engineering program also offers an undergraduate concentration in Energy and the Environment, while Electrical Engineering offers study in alternative energy sources and systems.

  • research Experimental Mechanics

    Experimental mechanics is the laboratory study of the properties of materials, structures, and mechanical systems. Mechanical Engineering faculty members and students conducting experimental mechanics research.

  • fluid mechanics Fluid Mechanics

    Fluid Mechanics is the science of understanding, predicting and applying the factors affecting motion and forces on fluids including liquids and gases. Gas dynamics, hydrodynamics, computational fluid mechanics, and environmental fluid mechanics are among the branches of fluid mechanics. Fluid mechanics has applications in Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.

  • geotechnical engineering Geotechnical Engineering

    Geotechnical engineering is the branch of Civil Engineering focused on the engineering behavior of earth materials including soils and rocks. Geotechnical engineering uses principles of soil mechanics and rock mechanics to investigate to evaluate stability of natural slopes and man-made soil deposits, assess risks posed by site conditions, and design earthworks and structure foundations.

  • glasses ceramics metalurgy Glasses, Ceramics and Metallurgy

    Metals and ceramics are commonly used materials in many fields of engineering. Glasses are a particular type of ceramic and could also refer to polymeric materials in their glassy state. Glasses, Ceramics, and Metallurgy is one of the areas of specialization in the Materials Science and Engineering master’s degree program.

  • heat transfer Heat Transfer

    Engineers study the transfer of thermal energy via conduction, convection, radiation, and the motion of hot or cold matter from one location to another, as well as material phase changes, and design devices and systems that provide heat where it is needed, remove heat where to prevent damage or discomfort, and insulate to minimize the flow of heat. The Mechanical Engineering department provides coursework in heat transfer and research and graduate study in areas such as multiphase flow, electronic packaging and thermal management, HVAC and refrigeration, combustion, and others.

  • high speed communications High-Speed Communications

    The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department provides coursework and research opportunities in a variety of areas related to high-speed communications, including broadband networks, optical transport networks, wireless networks, iterative (turbo) processing techniques, network security, etc.

  • homecare and tele rehabilitation Homecare and Tele-rehabilitation

    The Biomedical Engineering department has coursework and research opportunities in development of devices for providing in-home medical care, including tele-rehabilitation.

  • hvac and refrigeration HVAC and Refrigeration

    Heat, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) are critical components of building design typically handled by mechanical engineers. The related field of refrigeration involves the design of devices for consumer, commercial, or scientific use. The Mechanical Engineering department offers coursework and research opportunities in HVAC and refrigeration.

  • informatics Informatics

    Informatics is the study of the information processing, including creation, storage, transmission, and manipulation of data. The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department offers a graduate program of study that deals with statistical and visual data analysis, decision theory, dimensionality reduction; feature extraction and selection, and database design, with applications including image analysis, dynamic computing environments, quality assurance in software, and bioinformatics. The Civil and Environmental Engineering department also offers coursework in civil engineering informatics in its Transportation and Infrastructure Systems Engineering program.

  • microelectromechanical system Microelectromechanical Systems

    Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) are devices below one millimeter in size, typically with moving parts and coupled mechanical and electrical behavior. MEMS devices have applications as sensors, signal processing, fabrication and printing, displays and optical switches, and energy harvesting. Both the Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science departments provide coursework and research opportunities in microelectromechanical systems.

  • mechatronics Mechatronics

    Mechatronics is a combination of the works “mechanics” and “electronics” and deals with design of devices that combine mechanical and electronic components. The Mechanical Engineering program offers undergraduate and graduate coursework in mechatronics.

  • nanotechnology Nanotechnology

    Nanotechnology is the science and technology of objects at the 1-100 nm (nanometer) level, and spans several fields including chemistry, physics, and biology. Faculty in the Mechanical Engineering department conduct research on the mechanical behavior of nanoscale devices.

  • network security Network Security

    Apply such tools as cryptography and statistics to solve security and privacy issues in wireless networks, and also to enhance network security, system and web security, networking and network management. The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department offers coursework and research opportunities in network security.

  • neuromechanics Neuromechanics and Neuromotor Control

    Human movement is a balance between how the central and peripheral nervous systems work, and how the body interacts with its environment. The brain, with approximately 100 billion neurons making roughly 100 trillion synapses, is exceptionally complex and allows well-coordinated, smooth movements. At the same time, it is highly adaptable, and can be trained through exposure to novel environments and practice. Faculty in the Biomedical Engineering department study how the nervous system controls movement and reacts to its environment using techniques like EEG, EMG, kinematics, and dynamics. We also study the ways in which brain injury, including cerebral palsy and stroke, can alter neural control of movement.

  • optics Optics

    Advances in optical instrumentation and theory drive interdisciplinary research in engineering.

    In Biomedical Engineering, advanced optics have fundamentally transformed how we understand cells and tissues. For example super-resolution microscopes allow direct visualization of cell components on the scale of nanometers, and depth-resolved laser-scanning techniques image biology rapidly, automatically, and in 3D. Optics research at Catholic University has several biomedical approaches. Researchers are developing quantitative polarized reflectance techniques to assess cartilage microstructure, thus aiding surgical planning during arthroscopic joint surgery. Several fiberoptic probes have been designed for non-invasive tissue characterization using spectroscopy and endogenous optical signals. Laser-based techniques, including nanoparticle tracking and digital holography, rapidly assess nanoparticle and cell dynamics using side-scattering and phase signatures, respectively.

    Electrical Engineering researchers study acousto-optics, optical information processing, hyperspectral imaging, molecular information storage, bio-electronics, bio-optics, and computational and molecular imaging.

    Mechanical Engineering researchers are studying optical methods and computer vision, laser-based measurements such as laser Doppler interferometry and holography, and thermal imaging using optical systems.

  • pattern recognition Pattern Recognition

    Pattern recognition is the study of systems for recognizing patterns in data sets, and is a field of active research in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department.

  • polymers Polymers

    Polymers are lightweight materials obtained from oil or other natural precursors and used in an ever-growing number of engineering applications. The Materials Science and Engineering master’s degree program includes study of properties of polymers and other materials.

  • project management Project Management

    Thinking of important initiatives as projects helps with understanding and managing them. Projects are any creations for a specific purpose that consume resources and that have a limited timeframe. The toolkit of project managers includes many aspects, e.g. providing leadership in organizations, analyzing and minimizing risk, making decisions based on quantifiable information, understanding the economic interactions of cost and time, and applying modern hardware and software that is appropriate for the job. Both our Civil Engineering program and our Engineering Management graduate program offer instruction in Project Management.

  • rehabilitation Rehabilitation

    Several faculty members in Biomedical Engineering focus on neurorehabilitation of sensorimotor impairments following neurologic injuries, such as stroke or cerebral palsy. These injuries often leave patients unable to use their arms and legs to accomplish daily tasks. Working with physicians and therapists, engineering approaches are used to develop devices, technologies or analysis methods that improve our understanding of the injury or directly treat the impairments. Examples include robotics, exoskeletons, EMG and EEG analysis.

  • remote sensing Remote Sensing

    Remote sensing is measurement without physical contact, typically by satellite or aircraft, and with applications for in a wide variety of disciplines and fields. The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department offers coursework and research opportunities in technologies for remote sensing and imaging.

  • robotics Robotics

    A variety of engineering disciplines use employ robotics for a wide variety of purposes, with industrial, commercial, military, scientific, and consumer applications. Robotics is an interdisciplinary field with contributions from mechanical engineering (hardware), electrical engineering (communications and sensing), and computer science (information processing and behavior planning and control).

    Researchers in Biomedical Engineering are building robotic exoskeletons that assist recovery from movement after debilitating injuries, such as stroke. The robots assist patients in moving their arms and hands, with the ultimate goal of helping patients to relearn to control their limbs independently. Wearable robots are a particular focus, so that patients can use them at home or in the community.

    Researchers in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science are studying robotics with goals of enhancing automation in motion planning and providing assistance in human-machine cooperative tasks in complex domains such as robotic-assisted surgery, robot manipulation, mobile robotics, and air-traffic control.

    The Mechanical Engineering department offers coursework and research opportunities in robotics from a hardware perspective, including kinematics and mechanism design, sensor integration, structural design, etc. Mechanical Engineering researchers also employ robotic systems for positioning sensors and controlling experiments.

  • sensor Sensors

    Sensors are used in all fields of engineering to obtain information of all kinds. Researchers in Civil and Environmental Engineering use sensors to monitor the condition of infrastructure and the environment. Researchers in the Biomedical Engineering department are active in sensors research, especially aimed at acquisition and interpretation of biosignals, which are any signals derived from the human organism, tissue, or cells, with projects aiming to promote human health through improved and more sensitive diagnostic capabilities. Mechanical Engineering researchers are developing sensors for characterizing systems and their constituent materials, including sensors for acoustics and vibrations, thermal sensors, fluid-flow sensors, and non-contacting sensors for experimental mechanics. Electrical Engineering researchers study a variety of sensors for electromagnetics, optics and imaging, etc.

  • signal processing Signal Processing

    Signal Processing is the manipulation and analysis of measurements, typically signals that contain useful information but also extraneous information and noise, and the extraction of useful information from such signals. It is an important aspect of most engineering fields. The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department offers a graduate program of study focusing on signal and image processing, including detection and estimation theory, radar tracking, chemical agent detection and classification, image sequence restoration, image motion detection and estimation.

  • smart materials Smart Materials

    Smart materials are materials that have one or more properties that can be significantly altered in a controlled fashion by external stimuli, such as stress, strain, temperature, moisture, light, electric or magnetic fields, etc. Smart materials are used in applications in Mechanical Engineering and are studied in the Materials Science and Engineering program.

  • software development Software Development

    The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department offers research opportunities and programs of study in software development, including bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in computer science.

  • structural mecahnics Structural Mechanics

    Structural mechanics focuses on analyzing and designing structures with the aim of making sure they withstand the external forces that they experience including live and dead loads, earthquake, wind, snow, hydrodynamic forces. Structural Engineers design Civil Engineering structures such as buildings, bridges, dams, offshore oil platforms, jetties, industrial structures such as the ones used in power plants, communication towers, among others, and well as design and analyze the structure of components of Mechanical Engineering systems, include vehicles of all types, industrial machinery, household tools and appliances, and any other type of machinery.

  • systems engineering Systems Engineering

    Systems are all around us - they are groups of elements that interact based on rules and constraints. Systems can be physical and large-scale like manufacturing plants or public transit networks, or small-scale like computer circuits and the programming modules that control them, while others mostly consist of persons who communicate with each other, such as in companies. To design or improve systems, they are typically converted into models, which are often created in computers. This allows systems engineers to systematically and repeatedly experiment with the system in a controlled environment. The graduate program in our Civil and Environmental Engineering department includes a specialization in Systems Engineering with an emphasis on transportation and infrastructure.

  • technology management Technology Management

    The Engineering Management program’s technology management track was developed to provide a graduate level foundation for the practice of managing technology development, implementation, or sustainment activities. It is appropriate for those who will assume leadership positions in technology development or sustainment organizations.

  • tissue engineering Tissue Engineering

    Tissue engineering holds the promise of replacing deficient and failing tissues, resolving the human donor shortage crisis. To be truly competitive with auto- and allografts, engineered tissue constructs must meet stringent mechanical and biological requirements, fundamental challenges which are areas of ongoing research. Researchers also use tissue engineering as an efficient and ethical way to accelerate drug discovery. For example, researchers in the Biomedical Engineering department place cancer cells in tissue constructs that mimic the tumor microenvironment, to discover mechanisms of cancer cell growth and spread, and to uncover potential diagnostic and therapeutic targets. Other projects include bone tissue engineering and development of tissues-on-a-chip for biomaterial cytotoxicity testing and as platforms for studying pathological tissue remodeling and repair.

  • transportation engineering Transportation Engineering

    Transportation Engineering at Catholic University focuses on airports, highways, railroads, and transit. The research components include design and operations, traffic flow and control, demand analysis and planning, and other interdisciplinary areas related to economics, finance, and policy. The Civil and Environmental Engineering department offers undergraduate and graduate concentrations in Transportation Engineering.

  • vibration Vibration

    Vibration is repetitive or random motion about an equilibrium configuration. Unintended vibration can be caused by imbalances in mechanical systems or imperfect match between moving parts such as gear teeth, and can lead to wasted energy, noise, and/or damage or shortened lifespan of parts. Vibration can also be desirable in some situations, such as the production of sound or characterization of system properties by measuring vibration response. Vibration and acoustics are closely related fields, since sound is generated by vibration of structures, and in turn can be a cause of vibration. The Mechanical Engineering department offers coursework and research opportunities in vibration.

  • water resources Water Resources

    Water Resources Engineering is an area of Civil and Environmental Engineering focused on managing water resources, controlling water excess, water distribution, management of wastewater and stormwater, and drought management.


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