Composite Engineering Education

As a representative of the SPE Composites division, I was recently asked if we would participate in the development of a curriculum for an engineering school to offer a major in Composite Engineering.  My first question is: Where are the educational centers for composites today?

Here are a few that I know of:

  1. Winona State
  2. University of Delaware
  3. Virginia Tech
  4. UMass Lowell
  5. Michigan State

I believe we should start by looking at the existing programs, then develop an idea for how the SPE can help start new programs, and/or certify existing ones.  I believe most of the programs out there actually reside within a larger Materials Engineering department, but are not separate Composite Engineering degree programs.  I believe MIT, Tufts, CalTech, and many others do something like that.

This blog is the perfect place to get started on such a discussion.  I think we should open it up to a much wider group to get the greatest possible inputs.

I started thinking about labs, and projects that could be done to teach composites, software that would be relevant, math courses that would be useful.  But then, I kept coming back to the initial question of what has already been done?  I think we should start with a survey of existing programs.

Beginning with Vocational/ Technical school level courses, there are several places to get technician training.  These are usually short courses, of between 3 days and 2 weeks, and not a full semester, or a full year.  They usually cover specific areas, like tool making, or repair.

At the college level, there are many programs in Materials, Plastics, Processing, Testing, Nanomaterials, etc., but I am not aware of any institution that offers Composite Engineering as Major or concentration.  I recently asked a professor at UMass Lowell about this, and she said she didn’t know if there was enough demand for the specialty – is there?

Andy Rich, Chairman Composites Division SPE


3 thoughts on “Composite Engineering Education

  1. A quick Google search finds:

    – Georgia Tech ( – a Bachelor’s program
    – Univeristy of Washington ( – a Master’s program
    – Washington State (
    – Southern Mississippi ( – a Master’s program
    – Wichita State ( – a graduate program
    – University of Dayton (

    There are a lot of composites research centers, but not many academic degrees specifically for composites especially undergraduate.

  2. Great! keep up the comments, I love to be corrected in this case. I will be participating in a discussion this week with some people from Eastern Michigan and ORNL to discuss their new program, and the more information we can get, the better. Thanks again!

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