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School of Engineering and Applied Science

The School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) at The George Washington University was organized on October 1, 1884, as the Corcoran Scientific School of Columbian University, located in the University Building at 15th and H Streets, N.W. The School was named for William W. Corcoran, Trustee and President of the Corporation (as the Board of Trustees was called at the time) from 1869-1888. Day and evening courses in science and technology were offered, which led to the degrees of Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, and Mining Engineer. Although the school lacked the national distinction that was to come, it was among the first to accept women for degree candidacy in engineering.

In 1903 a single Department of Arts and Sciences was authorized to offer graduate engineering degrees. Administrative changes led to the 1905 creation of the Washington College of Engineering as one of the several semi-independent undergraduate colleges of the University.

Name Changes

In 1909, the name of the College was changed to the College of Engineering and Mechanic Arts, and its curricula were revised to give a through understanding of the theory underlying engineering practice. Courses emphasized the development of a knowledge of scientific principles upon which students could build and by which they might solve new problems encountered in practice.

The name of the School was changed in 1914 to the College of Engineering, and later to the School of Engineering. Architecture was dropped from the curriculum and degrees were limited to the field of engineering. However, the primary emphasis upon principles rather than technology that had characterized the School since 1903 was continued, and it remains one of the important distinguishing features of the School to this day.

The School of Engineering and Applied Science’s history has been marked by distinguished service to the nation. In 1940, with the nation on the edge of war, the school created seven special courses to prepare the country for the stresses that war would put on America’s productive capacity. Topics included concrete testing and mapmaking. By 1944, these courses had evolved into 15-week war-training courses covering such topics as the elements of interior ballistics.

In 1962, the name of the School became the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Through its five departments - Civil and Environmental Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Engineering Management and Systems Engineering; and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering - the School of Engineering and Applied Science offers undergraduate study leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Science (with majors in biomedical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and systems engineering), and Bachelor of Arts (with majors in applied science and technology and in computer science). Five-year bachelor’s/master’s degree programs are available for selected majors.

Degrees with other Departments

In cooperation with the Law School, an integrated engineering and law program option leads to the degrees of Bachelor of Science or Arts and Juris Doctor. An integrated engineering and medicine program leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Science or Arts and Doctor of Medicine is offered in cooperation with the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The School offers graduate study leading to the degrees of Master of Science, Master of Engineering Management, and Doctor of Science and to the professional degrees of Engineer and Applied Scientist. The Dean of the School reports to the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

From 1942-1971 and 1980-1991, the School published the journal Mecheleciv, and since the early 1960s it has sponsored the annual Frank Howard lecture given by the alumni association.


Prior to 1906 there were no Deans

1906-1923: Howard Lincoln Hodgkins 

1923-1927: Hugh Miller 

1927-1940: John Raymond Lapham 

1940-1952: Frederick Morris Feiker 

1952-1968: Martin Alexander Mason 

1968-1991: Harold Liebowitz 

1991-1992: Donald Gross (Acting) 

1992-1993: Charles M. Gilmore (Acting) 

1993-1996: Gideon Frieder 

1996-2000: Thomas A Mazzuchi (Interim) 

2000-2008: Timothy Tong 

2008-2018: David Dolling 

2019-Present: John Lach