Central College president Mark Putnam poses for a photo with Central's first women engineering graduates.

Design a Future You’ll Love

Central College engineers success for tomorrow's leaders.

Today’s engineering careers demand technical knowledge, creativity, versatility and excellent communication skills. Central College’s Bachelor of Science engineering degree is designed to be completed in four years and readies students for a rewarding career at the interface of mechanical and electrical engineering.

Central has partnerships with three large, international companies headquartered a short distance from campus, including two Fortune 500 companies. The engineering curriculum at Central includes a senior-level engineering course led by a practicing engineer, often from one of these companies. These capstone projects have found students designing and building a solar-powered snow blower, a remote-controlled double-hung window, a hand-cycle for people with disabilities, an idler roll condition monitoring system and a water quality testing buoy. Studying engineering at Central opens doors to ample opportunities for students to apply for internships and jobs.

Central’s Bachelor of Science in engineering was launched in 2015 and is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, a nonprofit, nongovernmental agency that accredits programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. ABET accreditation is designed to assure students, employers and society that the program meets the quality standards that produce graduates prepared to enter a global workforce.

The amount of material on the Fundamentals of Engineering exam Central engineering students cover (compared to 80-85% covered on average by non-integrated programs)
of Central STEM grads are employed, in grad school or completing a year of service one year after graduation
Central's electrical and mechanical engineering grads have nearly 100% employment

The Central Difference

Learn in Nationally Recognized Facilities

The Vermeer Science Center classrooms and laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation and advanced technological equipment to support coursework, augment independent studies and elevate research projects. Additional mechanical and electrical engineering laboratories with cutting-edge equipment and a design studio are available in Peace Hall.

Back to the Lab Again

Professor of Physics Viktor Martisovits does his homework to make learning fun for students.

Benefit from Rare Research Opportunities

Begin building your résumé by working alongside professors as a student instructor and/or teaching assistant. Funding for student research in engineering is made possible through the Arthur J. Bosch Endowment for Student Research, which supports collaborative research projects with faculty and alumni.

At Central, you’ll find a wide variety of research and professional development opportunities to choose from, including an X-ray diffractometer and a high-vacuum system with a mass spectrometer to conduct additional research projects. The on-campus observatory with an 11-inch reflector telescope allows you to observe planets, stars and other celestial objects.

Central’s physics department is licensed by the state of Iowa to own and use a plutonium-beryllium neutron source and a cesium gamma-ray source for experiments in atomic and nuclear physics.

Off-Campus Experiences

Central students can study off-campus — both internationally or domestically in the United States. These opportunities give students the chance to prepare to be global citizens, equipped to compete in the global job market. Students can check out experiences led by Central faculty or attend select academic programs across the world that provide opportunities for study, service, internships and other types of experiential learning. Options include experiences in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Central America, Ghana, England, the Scottish Highlands and more.

Engineering majors will coordinate with their academic advisor to determine if study off-campus is available.

Career Counseling

Central’s career development staff can provide guidance to help students identify career options in the engineering field.

Central offers assistance with finding and applying for internships and summer opportunities, including specific internship programs in Chicago and Washington, D.C., help with graduate school essays and related application materials and career mentoring through the use of a database of Central alumni in a wide variety of engineering careers and an annual graduate school conference with representatives from regional universities and presentations about success in graduate school. Find out what it means to be Forever Dutch®.

Central College student

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

Central College graduates have found successful careers in engineering careers.

  • Tom Adolph ’23, Mechanical Design Engineer, Winnebago Industries  
  • Abigail Lowry ’22, Electrical Engineer, Pella Corporation
  • Erik Murphy ’22, Design Engineer, Ring-O-Matic Manufacturing
  • Christopher Hensley ’21, Project Engineer, Musco Lighting
  • Shawn Vande Kieft ’21, Product Engineer 1, Pella Corporation
  • Nathan Fitzgerald ’20, Electrical Engineer, Vermeer Corporation
  • John Polk ’20, Electrical Engineer, Dexter Laundry, Inc.
  • Logan Hoefer ’19, Design Engineer, Sachs Electrical Company
  • Tanner Gilliland ’19, Process Engineer, Red Boot Distillery
  • Patrick Gray ’19, Experimental Aerodynamics Researcher, University of Notre Dame
  • Cory McCleary ’18, Field Engineer, Kiewit

Central Engineering Student Chosen for Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship

Katherine Stroh ’24 is completing a U.S. Department of Energy undergraduate research internship for the summer at the Ames National Laboratory.

Graduate School Placement

  • Iowa State University, mechanical engineering; materials science and engineering
  • Oregon State University, electrical engineering
  • University of Colorado – Boulder, aerospace engineering
  • University of Iowa, civil engineering
  • University of Notre Dame, aerospace engineering
  • University of Oklahoma, structural engineering
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, chemical engineering

Internships/Research Opportunities

  • Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station, Fort Calhoun, Nebraska
  • JFSCO Engineering, Red Oak, Iowa
  • Mechanical engineering department, Iowa State University
  • Civil and environmental engineering department, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington
  • The HON Company, Muscatine, Iowa
  • PPI, Pella, Iowa
  • Pella Corporation, Pella, Iowa
  • Musco Sports Lighting, Oskaloosa, Iowa

Pathway to Success

An articulation agreement between Pella Community High School, Des Moines Area Community College and Central College has been finalized to provide a clear pathway for Pella High School students to begin their engineering studies in high school, move to DMACC for one year and then transfer to Central to complete the Bachelor of Science in Engineering in an additional three years.

Central College student

Courses & Faculty

The engineering major includes coursework in materials, electronics, thermodynamics, dynamic systems, physics and mathematics. The major culminates with a two-semester Capstone Design course. Students can complete the degree in four years (eight semesters) and gain practical experience through summer internships.

Graduates will have a strong foundation in physics and the basic sciences which, coupled with the Central College core curriculum, will prepare students broadly for careers or graduate school and long-term success in mechanical and electrical engineering.

Engineering students are strongly encouraged and supported to complete internships and/or co-ops in engineering at local, national and international locations. Students interested in off-campus experiences can complete international internships during a semester or summer around the globe. Internships, co-ops and off-campus experiences open the door to lifelong connections.

Learn more about this discipline in the course catalog.

Meet the Faculty

Major Tools and Equipment

Central engineering students use computers extensively in labs and classes. Windows-based computers are preferred in the engineering world. Central faculty do not require students to have a laptop or computer for classes. All the specialized software is freely available for students to use in the college’s computer labs.

Some students may prefer to download the software, SOLIDWORKS used in engineering, on their personal laptop or computer. This software is not available for Macintosh computers.

Please review the system requirements for SOLIDWORKS. Central uses the latest version of this software each academic year. Please note the processor and RAM requirements, especially the graphics card requirements displayed by clicking “certified cards and drivers.”

Sample Coursework

Students majoring in engineering should be ready for Calculus I fall semester their first year. Pre-calculus concepts should be covered prior to enrolling.

First Year

  • Engineering Graphics
  • General Physics I + lab
  • General Physics II + lab
  • General Chemistry + lab
  • Calculus I
  • Calculus II

Sophomore Year

  • Statics
  • Dynamics
  • Strength of Materials
  • Electric Circuits
  • Electronic Devices + lab
  • Modern Physics I
  • Waves
  • Theoretical and Experimental Methods
  • Multivariable Calculus
  • Differential Equations
  • Matlab for Engineers

Junior Year

  • Thermodynamics
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Engineering Materials + lab
  • Electromagnetism
  • Theory of Machines
  • Heat Transfer + lab
  • Signals and Systems + lab

Senior Year

  • Dynamic Systems and Control + lab
  • Digital Control Systems
  • Capstone Design I
  • Capstone Design II
  • Engineering elective
  • Engineering elective
  • Physics elective


Learn More

Want to find out more about Engineering at Central? Contact us to learn more about this discipline and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.


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