Welcome to ESM, one of the few departments of its kind in the US. Our unique department has a distinguished history. We have almost thirty faculty members who are well known for their commitment to teaching strong fundamentals and conducting outstanding research.
The ESM program is well suited to address the critical need for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary education and research. For instance, we have faculty members who have backgrounds in engineering mechanics (the principles on which most areas of mechanical, aerospace, ocean, civil, materials, and perhaps even chemical and mining, engineering are based on) and engineering science (applied mathematicians and physicists). Some also have interests in aspects of electrical and computer engineering, computer science, and the life sciences. The National Academy of Engineering has issued a document that states that our society needs exactly these kinds of engineers.
Engineering science is a broad term that encompasses many aspects of engineering, and science. Virginia Tech emphasizes the mechanical sciences aspect of engineering science in its curriculum in ESM. Thus, a graduate of ESM will have a strong background in the mechanical sciences. Depending upon the curricular options taken, this graduate should be able to pursue careers, among others, that are open to engineers from other disciplinary streams, such as mechanical engineers, aerospace engineers, materials engineers, materials scientists, biomedical engineers, and even chemical and civil engineers.
Engineering physics is a physics-based curriculum that applies physics to engineering problems. At Virginia Tech, its content is similar to the engineering science and mechanics curriculum but with additions that allow a student to better consider electron and molecular effects. This is useful for a graduate interested in fields such as nanotechnology, engineering facets of particle physics, and various aspects of the development of advanced materials.
I invite you to view the faculty and alumni profiles for ESM from the links in our website. You will realize from their stellar accomplishments that the reputation of Virginia Tech and its College of Engineering in many ways is derived from their noteworthy achievements. You'll be able to clearly see by perusing these pages the kinds of scientists and engineers we value and where we think the future lies.
Ishwar K. Puri, N. Waldo Harrison Professor & Department Head