History and Quick Facts

History of the department

The Department of Mechanical Engineering enrolled its first class of undergraduate students in the fall of 1996 and moved into what is now Engineering West Hall in 1998. Two years later, in May 2000, M.S. and Ph.D. graduate degree programs in engineering were established and the first graduate students joined the department.

VCU responded to the industry demand for qualified nuclear professionals in Virginia by establishing the VCU nuclear engineering program. In 2007, the department initiated a new M.S. degree program in mechanical and nuclear engineering and in 2009 began offering an undergraduate major concentration in nuclear engineering. Simultaneously, a new nuclear engineering track was developed for those seeking a Ph.D. in Engineering.

The mechanical engineering department relocated to Engineering East Hall in January 2008 and in the fall of 2010 officially changed its name to the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering.

The Department Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering is the largest in the VCU School of Engineering, currently enrolling more than 580 undergraduate students and more than 70 M.S. and Ph.D. students. The department has 23 full-time faculty members who teach and perform research in cutting-edge areas such as smart materials, drug delivery systems, nanoscale materials, biomedical devices, robotics, energy conversion systems, nuclear engineering, surface science and air filtration.

Brief History

1996– First class of students enrolls at the VCU School of Engineering

1996– Initiation of Mechanical Engineering Program

2000– ABET Accreditation of B.S. in Mechanical Engineering

2007– Initiation of M.S. Track in Nuclear Engineering

2008– Establishment of M.S. in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering (including online option)

2009– Initiation of B.S. Major Concentration in Nuclear Engineering

2010– Department name changed to Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

2012– ABET Accreditation of B.S. Major Concentration in Nuclear Engineering

2012– Establishment of Ph.D. in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

Degrees Offered

Degrees Granted

  • Spring 2016: 69 B.S., 17 B.S.N.E., 7 M.S., 6 Ph.D.
  • Fall 2015: 17 B.S., 6 B.S.N.E., 11 M.S.


  • 540 Undergaduate Students total
    • 90 Undergraduate Students in the Nuclear Engineering Major Concentration
  • 70 Graduate Students


  • 22 Full Time Faculty
    • 13 Assistant Professors, 5 Associate Professors, 4 Full Professors
    • 11 new faculty hired since 2013
  • 3 Adjunct Faculty

Graduate Student Support

  • 54 Graduate Fellowships
    • Sources include: Department of Energy, Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Research Funding

  • Over $2.5 million
  • Provided by: Department of Energy, Department of Defense, National Institute of Health, National Nuclear Security Administration, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, National Science Foundation and industry.

Major Partnerships

  • Commonwealth Center for Advance Manufacturing (CCAM)
  • Dominion
  • Newport News Shipbuilding
  • Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility
  • Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium (VNEC)