Villanova University's second degree-granting unit was the College of Engineering, which began in 1905 under the name of the School of Technology. It was the fourth engineering program to be established at a Catholic school of higher education in the United States (after The Catholic University of America, 1896; Manhattan College, 1896; the University of Notre Dame, 1897). Dr. A. B. Carpenter, a graduate of Lehigh University, was hired in 1904 to organize and direct the school. He was ably assisted by Father James J. Dean, a young faculty member in the sciences. Together they developed curricula, hired faculty, and planned facilities. Programs in Civil and Electrical Engineering were the first to be initiated, with a total of twelve students. In 1908 an undergraduate program in Mechanical Engineering was established, and in 1909 the first engineering bachelor's degrees were awarded. The Chemical Engineering program started in 1919. Following the Second World War, the College began offering master's degrees in each department. A fifth program in Computer Engineering was added in 1993.The undergraduate programs of Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering (all of the undergraduate programs at Villanova) are accredited by the AEC Accreditation Commission of ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).
Since the 1990s, research has been increasingly important, complementing undergraduate education. Internationally recognized faculty experts partner with large and small businesses as well as government agencies on a variety of research projects in areas such as nanomaterials, autonomous systems, thermal management, RFID, through-wall radar imaging, and sustainable engineering. This growing research strength has allowed the College to begin a doctorate program, which graduated its first PhD student in 2007. This high-quality, well-balanced program enables full-time students and working professionals to obtain a doctorate.
The College of Engineering's dedication to teaching is affirmed by its consistently being ranked among the top 10 undergraduate engineering schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Villanova is one of the few top 10 schools to also have a rigorous graduate and research program available for undergraduate students to pursue.
To enable the College to continue to excel, a recent strategic planning process outlined a vision for the future and developed the following mission statement: "The College of Engineering is committed to an educational program that emphasizes technical excellence and a liberal education within the framework of the University's Augustinian and Catholic traditions. As a community of scholars, we seek to educate students to pursue both knowledge and wisdom, and to aspire to ethical and moral leadership within their chosen careers, their community, and the world. We value a spirit of community among all members of the college that respects academic freedom and inquiry, the discovery and cultivation of new knowledge, and continued innovation in all that we do."