The Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering is at the core of MSU’s land- grant mission, providing an inclusive, hands-on learning environment that supports academic excellence, strives for innovation in research and serves the community in Montana and beyond.
Greetings from the Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering at Montana State University.
I am thrilled to share with you the phenomenal opportunities available to our students and faculty. In the pages that follow, you’ll find them pushing the limits of what is considered possible, making exciting discoveries and building impressive technologies. And you’ll find them giving back, whether it’s our students creating access to clean water in Kenya through Engineers Without Borders or our college’s namesake and mechanical engineering alumnus making possible the construction of the soon-to-open Norm Asbjornson Hall through a generous gift of $50 million.
I invite you to explore the opportunities that await you at MSU and to consider how you can be a part of our legacy of excellence and service.
- Brett Gunnink, Ph.D., P.E. M.Eng. Dean
Facts and Stats
- Number of faculty: 76 tenure-track, 45 non-tenure-track (AY 2020).
- Research expenditures: $20 million (FY 2020).
- Top producer of Goldwater Scholars: 78 total Goldwater Scholarship winners as of 2020.
The Goldwater Scholarship is a competitive national award given to math, science and engineering students. MSU ranked 10th among U.S. institutions for Goldwater Scholars in 2020.
- Mechanical and Industrial Engineering: 38% (1,371)
- Civil Engineering: 20% (722)
- Computer Science: 14% (516)
- Chemical and Biological Engineering: 14% (496)
- Electrical and Computer Engineering: 11% (384)
- General: 3% (99)
Norm Asbjornson Hall will house parts of the College of Engineering and Honors College with nine classrooms, 17 laboratories, maker spaces and an Innovation Hall where students can display their completed projects. The building has been thoughtfully designed to promote interdisciplinary engagement and meaningful student-faculty interaction.
Cutting-edge building technologies helped Norm Asbjornson Hall become one of only 10 buildings in Montana to be certified as LEED Platinum, the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest certification.
Named for a generous donor and 1959 MSU electrical engineering alumnus, the Bill Wurst Makerspace will include specialty tools such as 3-D printers for students and faculty to build, test and prototype their big ideas.
Our faculty and students are developing creative solutions, making groundbreaking discoveries and earning national recognition for academic and research excellence.
MSU received a nearly $600,000 grant from the Kern Family Foundation to advance its goal of graduating engineers equipped not only with technical skills but also an entrepreneurial, can-do approach to their profession.
The Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering is committed to ensuring the success of undergraduate and graduate students through academic support, networking opportunities and individual empowerment.
Student Close Up
Going into her junior year, computer science major Payton Harrison was considering a part-time job to help her pay school expenses. “It was going to be difficult to balance with my upper-level classes,” she said. A scholarship from local software company Oracle took the pressure off, allowing her to focus on her studies. It also gave her flexibilityto accept a summer position with the National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program, where she is helping to develop new software-debugging methods. Harrison is also active in the Association for Computing Machinery and the Association for Women in Computing. “It’s nice to feel like I’m supported by the department and achieving something here,” she said.
Supporting Student Success
- One-on-one faculty advising is available to all of our students.
- ePALs student mentoring program: Freshman and sophomores are paired with juniors and seniors who provide guidance about classes, activities, internships and more.
Walk-in tutoring is available at the Engineering Mechanics Help Center and the Computer Science Success Center.
An Inclusive College
We remain committed to providing a place for a place for all to realize their potential in engineering and computer science.
- Housed within the engineering college, Empower promotes the success of underrepresented minorities and women in STEM fields through scholarships, tutoring and more.
- The Women in Engineering program offers professional development and networking opportunities to create a community of successful women engineers and computer scientists.
Facts and Stats:
- Women faculty on tenure track are 24% of total faculty (Fall 2020).
- The number of women students in the college has increased 235% in the past 10 years (Fall 2020).
Employment Data For Grads
Engineering and computer science students are among the most sought-after by employers at the Biannual Career Fairs.
Facts and Stats:
- 175+ companies and organization recruit our students from MSU career fairs.
- Average salary:
- $62,000 bachelor's
- $65,000 master's
- $104,000 doctorate
- Major employers hiring MSU graduates:
AdvR · Barnard Construction · Billings Clinic · Boeing · BP · Fluke · Great West Engineering · Los Alamos National Lab · Micron · Oracle · Raytheon Technologies · Spark R&D · State of Montana · U.S. Forest Service · U.S. Forest Service · Workiva
Choose from 38 student clubs and organizations, including:
- Engineers Without Borders: MSU students have completed more than 30 projects in the Khwisero region of Kenya, including 14 water well projects, 15 sanitation projects, a water pipeline and two rainwater catchment systems.
- Senior Capstone Projects: As a requirement of graduation, seniors complete year-long, hands-on projects and present them to the public during the biannual Design Fair. In many cases, students design and build practical solutions for businesses, MSU researchers or government labs.
- Design Unit: MSU civil engineering undergraduates work alongside Montana Department of Transportation staff to get hands-on experience helping to design roads and other infrastructure. More than 60 program alumni have joined MDT for their first job after college.
2020 Student Achievements
In 2019-2020, four engineering majors — Ellen Brooks, Carter McIver, Brenden Pelkie, Mikayla Wood — were awarded prestigiousGoldwater scholarships, the nation’s top scholarship for undergraduate majoring in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics. Since the scholarship’s inception in 1989, 78 MSU students have won the award. MSU has consistently been one of the top institutions in the country in the number of scholarships awarded, ahead of schools like Johns Hopkins, Yale and Cornell.
In 2019-2020, four engineering students or recent MSU graduates — Patrick Fischer, Alexis Ostwalt, Cara Robertus, Abigale Snortland — won National Science Foundation Graduate Research fellowships, which come with nearly $50,000 to cover graduate research.
Joaquin Monterrosa, a double-major in business and computer science, was selected for a NASA internship that will involve programming launch control software at the Kennedy Space Center.
Taylor Blossom was awarded a Schwarzman Scholarship in 2020.
MSU faculty and staff enjoy professional development, extensive support and recognition programing and cross-discipline collaboration in the heart of the beautiful Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
- Guided by faculty interests and goals, and the values of innovation, collaboration, and partnerships, the Center for Faculty Excellence develops and provides experiences, opportunities, and resources that support the growth of faculty across all career stages in achieving excellence in teaching, including academic advising, research/ scholarship and service.
- MSU’s Research Cyberinfrastructure program aims to provide researchers with the cyber-infrastructure and support they need to remain on the cutting edge of their fields. Computing resources include the NSF-funded Bridger High Performance Research Network and the 22-teraflop Hyalite Research Computing Cluster, which is the largest super computer in Montana.
- TheOffice of Sponsored Programshelps faculty connect with state, federal and private funding sources for research, and also provides general research guidance through principal investigator trainings and more.
- MSU’sAcademic Technology and Outreach helps faculty access online teaching tools and other educational technologies, supports outreach activities such as MSU Family Science Day and provides opportunities for faculty to teach outside of the university.
- The annualProvost’s Distinguished Lecturer Seriesrecognizes outstanding MSU faculty for their scholarship and leadership. Faculty reflect on the inspirations for their work in lectures attended by the MSU community and the public.
- At a ceremony each spring, the Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering honors exceptional faculty and staff for their contributions in research, teaching, mentorship, outreach and more.
- The Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering supports faculty research and teaching with two grant programs.
- The Thorson Excellence in Engineering Research program, made possible by a $2.7 million endowment, awards multiple grants each year up to $25,000. The Bryan Innovation Instructional Grant program provides up to $9,500 for curriculum development.
- Our college has a culture ofwork-life balance in which faculty are supported while pursuing both their academic and personal goals.
Centers, Labs and other Affiliated Entities
Center for Biofilm Engineering
A world leader in microbial biofilm research since 1990. Multidisciplinary teams develop uses for biofilms and find solutions to industrially relevant biofilm problems, with applications in medicine, food safety, energy and more.Matthew Fields, Co-director,406-994-4770, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Magnetic Resonance Laboratory
Offers a variety of tools for researching biofilms, gels, ice and more using MRI.Sarah Codd, Director
Montana Engineering Education Research Center
Positions Montana as a national leader in engineering education research and transforming engineering education through collaborative, empirical research.Brock LaMeres, Director, 406-994-2505, email@example.com.
Subzero Research Laboratory
A unique, internationally recognized, state-of-the-art suite of laboratories used to study snow, ice and the effects of the cold on projects across a range of scientific disciplines.Kevin Hammonds, Director,406-994-2167 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Western Transportation Institute
A national leader in rural transportation research, the institute houses eight research centers with specialties in wildlife passage, infrastructure sustainability, public lands and more. Steve Albert, Director, 406-994-6114 email@example.com.
Energy Research Institute
Enables the advancement of biofuels, wind energy, carbon sequestration, fuel cells and other energy technologies.Lee Spangler, Director, 406-994-1658, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Montana Nanotechnology Facility
One of only 16 centers that are part of the NSF’s National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure framework providing access to nanotech research facilities and expertise. David Dickensheets, Director, 406-994-7874 email@example.com.
Optical Technology Center
A multidisciplinary center offering opportunities to find practical solutions to optics-related problems and discover new applications for optical technology.Joseph Shaw, Director, 406-994-7261, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thermal Biology Institute
Conducts and promotes research and education focused on the biology and interrelated physical and chemical processes of geothermal environments in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Brent Peyton, Director, email@example.com, 406-994-7419.
Montana Manufacturing Extension Center
Provides state-wide outreach and assistance to Montana’s manufacturers, helping their businesses grow and innovate. Paddy Fleming, Director, 406-994-3812,firstname.lastname@example.org.