Frequently Asked Questions

Herff College of Engineering Student Ambassadors answered commonly asked questions to help potential and incoming students get answers that they need before coming to campus. Student ambassadors are the voice and face of Herff in the community, at industry/alumni events and while interacting with prospective students. 

What about class size at a large university like the University of Memphis?

In the Herff College of Engineering, class sizes average about 20 students. The largest sections may have as many as 35 students but that is the exception rather than the rule. Class sizes like this allow for personal interaction between the instructor and students and provide an outstanding learning environment.

Will graduate students teach my classes?

With nearly 60 faculty members, the College of Engineering doesn't need to use graduate students to teach classes. However, sometimes graduate students serve as lab assistants, but even in those cases there is a faculty member who oversees and is responsible for the lab.

Who teaches the classes?

The College of Engineering has a diverse faculty with outstanding academic and professional credentials. 100 percent of the engineering faculty hold a doctorate (many from prestigious schools such as MIT, Rice, Vanderbilt, Cal Tech, Illinois, Northwestern and Georgia Tech), over 40 percent are licensed as professional engineers (some in several states), and over 80 percent have industrial and professional experience. All faculty members are involved in professional development activities and are committed to providing a quality engineering education.

Which is more important at the College of Engineering-- research or teaching?

Faculty members typically have three responsibilities, teaching, research or scholarship and service to the community and the engineering profession. In the College of Engineering, their first and foremost responsibility is providing quality instruction to our undergraduate and graduate students. As a part of their scholarship, some of our faculty write the textbooks used by our students and by students at other universities. Our students benefit when our faculty bring their experiences with current engineering research and practice to the classroom. Frequently, undergraduates are involved in our cutting-edge research activities that are supported by a variety of State and Federal organizations and many private-sector companies.

What about facilities?

The College of Engineering has nearly 20,000 square feet of classroom space and nearly 50,000 square feet of laboratory space devoted to instruction at the undergraduate and graduate levels. A continual process of laboratory improvement maintains the quality of the laboratory experiences. The computational environment is state-of-the-art and contains both wired and wireless access to a campus-wide network, including Internet II. Extensive packages of both general-purpose and discipline-specific software and hardware are available to support your engineering studies.

Does Herff ever get too intense?

Herff is a rigorous choice to make in college. So what happens if a course or particular area of study gets too intense? Herff has your back. If you ever hit a hurdle academically, not only will your mentors and faculty members go above and beyond to help you, but we have a built-in safety net with a free tutoring center. Even some of our strongest students can have weak spots, but Herff will support you all the way—unleashing the engineer that you were meant to be.

Do you live on campus?

Every year, students compete for spots in Herff's Engineering Living Learning Communities—one section for men, another for women. What's cool about these residence halls is that you live in close-knit, caring communities with other engineering majors, with dedicated computer facilities, public spaces and study lounges just for you. Comfortable common areas can be used for seminars or other learning and professional development events that engineering majors won't want to miss. And you will be living right in the middle of it. Research shows that grouping students together like this builds a natural support system that pays off in higher GPAs and higher graduation levels. That's powerful stuff. We're supporting you in every way possible to be the best you.

What programs may I study?

The Herff College of Engineering offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering

What kind of salary can I expect to earn?

Graduates with a bachelor's degree in engineering may expect to earn an average starting salary from $40,000-$60,000 in the Mid-South with higher salaries paid in other parts of the country, depending on the degree earned and current economic conditions.

What about research and on-the-job opportunities?

While studying in Memphis, the "Distribution Capital of the World" and an emerging biotechnology center, you will have the chance to work with faculty on world-class research for global companies such as FedEx, for governmental organizations such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or for other premier organizations, such as St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. These opportunities are available to undergraduates as well as graduate students.

In addition, we have a strong co-op program. More than 200 companies have hired our students under this program, and most of the students who participate are hired by those companies after graduation.

Who are some of the co-op/internship employers?

The Herff College of Engineering cultivates ongoing relationships with many Memphis-area companies. This list provides a snapshot of a few of them.

Barnhart Crane
International Paper
Memphis Airport Authority
Memphis Light Gas & Water (MLGW)
Ring Container Technologies
Smith & Nephew
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Surface Dynamics
Thomas & Betts
Wright Medical Technology

What's the University of Memphis environment like?

At the Herff College of Engineering, you will have the best of both worlds: You'll be part of a small college of about 1,000 students within a large, metropolitan research university of more than 20,000 students. NCAA Division I sports, cultural activities, social organizations and more abound -- all within the context of a multicultural student body with students from 83 foreign countries. Nearly 60 faculty members with outstanding academic and professional credentials provide excellent classroom instruction for our students as well as providing them with opportunities to participate in research at the frontiers of modern day technology.

The average engineering class size is approximately 20 students. This promotes more interaction with faculty and your peers. You may participate in the Honors Program, and there are numerous engineering societies that are ready to welcome you.

What is accreditation, and why does it matter?

A degree from an accredited engineering program is important to job placement after graduation. It enhances your ability to be highly competitive for the best engineering jobs available in the market place and puts you on the first step to registration as a licensed professional engineer. All undergraduate programs in the Herff College, except for Biomedical Engineering, are accredited by ABET, Inc., the accreditation board for engineering, applied science, computer science, and technology programs. The newest undergraduate program in the college, Biomedical Engineering, will undergo an accreditation visit after the appropriate numbers of students have graduated, a requirement of ABET. Accreditation means we have met a set of standards that ensure that our graduates are well prepared for professional practice.

Can I make it in engineering?

Because engineering is a challenging program, the Herff College will provide you with tools to ensure your success, such as:

  • Engineering Preparation Class for Entering Freshmen
  • In-College Tutors
  • Academic Living Learning Community
  • Technical Writing Workshop
  • State-of-the-Art Labs and Equipment


I still have more questions...

You may have questions that aren't addressed here. If so, the best way to get the answers is to visit the College of Engineering, find out about our degree programs and meet our dedicated faculty and staff. To set up a visit, call Isaiah Surbrook - Director of Engineering Student Services at 901-678-4557.