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Manufacturing Engineering

An image of students in the manufacturing Engineering program.

Create innovations of the future. Bring products to life from start to finish. Explore new possibilities in prototyping, 3D printing, and robotics. Pursue your passion in any number of industries across Kentucky and beyond.

Manufacturing Engineering at EKU

EKU is the only public university in the Commonwealth graduating manufacturing engineers.

The Bachelor of Science degree in Manufacturing Engineering (MFE) at Eastern Kentucky University is designed to prepare graduates to become practicing manufacturing engineers. The program provides students with the skills to design, analyze, and modify the processes and systems used to make products in the most time-efficient, cost-effective way possible while maintaining safety and product quality in environmentally friendly ways.

Students will gain expertise and practical knowledge in the major areas of manufacturing materials and processes; design for manufacturability; lean manufacturing; quality and process control; safety; automation; and robotics. Graduates will be able to employ a strong base of fundamental engineering and management skills to effectively integrate people, technology, machines, and capital to create positive change as they are involved in the manufacturing process from design to production to finished product.

The program offers a variety of concentrations to choose from:

  • Quality and Lean Manufacturing
    Quality and Lean Manufacturing prepares students for careers as quality engineers, automation engineers, controls engineers and engineering managers.
  • Advanced Manufacturing
    Advanced Manufacturing prepares students for careers as manufacturing systems design engineers, robotics engineers, additive manufacturing engineers and automation engineers.
  • Industrial Health and Safety
    Industrial Health and Safety prepares students for careers as safety engineers, facility design engineers, communication engineers and engineering managers.

Who Would be Interested in Manufacturing Engineering?

Manufacturing engineering focuses on the design, development, and optimization of production systems and manufacturing processes. It involves the application of principles of engineering and the use of technology such as advanced materials, robotics, automation, and computer-controlled systems to improve manufacturing processes.

Students who would be interested in Manufacturing Engineering as a career include those who:

  • are interested in an exciting, rewarding, and in-demand career.
  • want to solve important problems that make people’s lives better.
  • like to apply math, science, and creative problem solving to make the products that we all rely on.

Why Manufacturing Engineering?

Manufacturing engineering plays a crucial role in the production of goods and products that are used by people around the world. The B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering degree leads to a career with great return on investment, career satisfaction, and graduates are in demand.

Learn from the Best

  • Faculty are experienced as both engineers and educators.
  • Faculty are committed to and invested in student success.
  • Small class size and excellent faculty ensure a supportive and effective learning environment.

Internships and Co-Op Opportunities

  • The Manufacturing Engineering program has significant involvement with local and regional industries in support of the classroom curriculum.
  • Internships are required, which students routinely keep as part-time positions throughout their education.

Internships greatly increase your chances of having a rewarding and high-paying job waiting for you upon graduation.

What Are the Requirements to be Admitted to the Program?

  • Students may select Manufacturing Engineering upon applying to the university.
  • Students with a minimum of 27 on the Math subsection of the ACT exam (650 Math SAT) can place directly into calculus. Placement exams and resources are available and encouraged for students not meeting these criteria.

How Do I Get More Information?

Judy Jenkins, Ph.D.
SCIBD 5139, 2234

Are There Scholarship Opportunities?

In addition to university scholarships, four department or program-specific scholarship opportunities are available.

These include:
Ed Swinford Scholarship
Paul A. Laslo Family Scholarship
Ralph W. Whalin Scholarship
William Sexton Scholarship

Rewarding Careers in Manufacturing Engineering

Graduates of the Manufacturing Engineering program are prepared for professional careers in numerous local, regional, and world industries. These include automotive, aerospace, medical, and technology. Engineering graduates are valued in many other areas as well, due to the emphasis on math, science, and problem solving.

The average salary for manufacturing engineers in Kentucky is $81,400 per year with starting salaries for new manufacturing engineers in the range of $50,000 to $60,000.

Moreover, the job outlook is promising for graduates of EKU’s manufacturing engineering program. With a solid manufacturing base, the state of Kentucky has manufacturing companies in every county. The manufacturing sector is growing rapidly in Kentucky, with new manufacturing plants being built. For example, the new Ford EV battery plant in Hardin County will employ more than 5,000 technical and engineering professionals.

Employment demand for manufacturing engineers has been very strong. In a recent three-year period, there were 423 posted job openings for manufacturing engineers in Kentucky and 8,618 job postings nationally. Moreover, EKU is the only destination in the Commonwealth to offer this unique program.

Manufacturing job growth, both in Kentucky and nationally, will be significant in the next 10 years, with an annual growth of 4.12% in the number of jobs, and an anticipated increase of 32,400 new jobs nationally by 2029. Manufacturing sectors in Kentucky, like motor vehicle seating manufacturing, are projected to grow by 38%, and aerospace manufacturing anticipates a 21% increase over the coming decade.

With a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in manufacturing engineering from EKU, pursue a career in Kentucky or anywhere else in the nation and the world. Upon graduation, you’ll be ready to follow a career path in jobs such as:

  • Process Engineer
  • Quality Engineer
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Production Supervisor
  • Robotics Engineer
  • Industrial Safety Engineer
  • Manufacturing Supply Chain Engineer

Department Facilities and Faculty

The department is located in the Ralph W. Whalin Technology Complex, which includes approximately 100,000 square feet of classroom and laboratory space. Laboratories housed in the Whalin Complex include aviation, automation, electronics, computer aided drafting (CAD), 3D printing, quality assurance and metrology, materials and metallic processes, construction estimating, fluid power and computer applications.

The facilities are located in a central area of campus and close to the library, classroom buildings and residence halls. Faculty in the department have diversified backgrounds in academics and professional experience. They are knowledgeable, enthusiastic and devoted to providing students with the skills necessary to succeed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is manufacturing engineering?
A: Manufacturing engineering is a branch of engineering focused on the design, development and operation of integrated systems for the production of high-quality products used in everyday life. Manufacturing engineers must advise on the best technologies and processes to manufacture a particular product and design the environment where it will be produced. While other engineering disciplines (e.g., electrical, chemical, mechanical) are involved in aspects of manufacturing, manufacturing engineering is the discipline that designs and operates the overall systems of manufacturing.

Q: What is a manufacturing engineer?
A: The short answer is manufacturing engineers are professional problem-solvers. They use math and science, along with skills in critical thinking, to find practical solutions to design and/or improve products and processes.

Manufacturing engineers DO things: they design, develop, prototype, fabricate, improve, invent and make everyday products. These products range from daily items used in the home or office from autos and trucks to aerospace products and aircraft. Kentucky has an extensive network of manufacturing companies, with manufacturing companies in virtually every county, all needing manufacturing engineers. Automotive and aerospace are the top two exports.

Q: What qualifications do you need to be a manufacturing engineer?
A: To become a manufacturing engineer, you will need a bachelor’s degree. You can also earn additional certifications during or after you complete your degree. If you choose, you can also obtain a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering or other engineering-related fields.

Q: As a manufacturing engineer, what skills will I need?
Manufacturing engineers are very versatile and require a diverse skill set that includes analytical, technical, communication and organizational skills. This combination of skills will help prepare you to lead employees, improve operational efficiency and solve problems on the spot.

Q: What jobs are available for manufacturing engineers?
A: Manufacturing engineering jobs are not restricted to the automotive industry—they are available in any field that produces a product. Along with automotive and aerospace, jobs in manufacturing engineering include agriculture equipment, pharmaceutical and medical devices, plastics, food industry, marine and other products that people use every day. As a manufacturing engineer, you can work in any manufacturing setting or focus your interests on a specific sector.

Q: What do I need to take in high school to prepare to be an engineer?
A: Engineering is a challenging field that requires an aptitude for mathematics and science. In high school, you should take as many upper-level math and science courses as possible. These courses include math through algebra I and II, geometry and trigonometry, physics and chemistry. In addition, practical, hands-on courses in pre-engineering and at least one year of hands-on computer experience is strongly recommended.

Q: Can incoming freshmen declare this major?
A: Yes. To apply for admission, follow these steps.

Q: Can current students declare this major?
A: Yes. To change your program of study, follow these steps.

Q: Can transfer students declare this major?
A: Yes. Transfer students can declare the manufacturing engineering major. Request an appointment with an advisor today.

Q: How will credits transfer?
A: Eastern Kentucky University works closely with transfer students to ensure courses that are not already in the transfer portal are evaluated quickly and applied where appropriate.

Q: What degree programs offer a natural transfer to the new program?
A: Associate degrees or applied associate degrees with a mathematics and physics background.

Q: Is the manufacturing engineering program ABET accredited?
A: The program is seeking ABET accreditation as soon as eligibility requirements have been met. Accreditation is retroactive and will extend to prior graduates.

Q: Doesn’t EKU already have an engineering degree? What makes this unique?
A: EKU will continue to offer the Engineering Technology Management degree that prepares graduates with the skills and knowledge required for professional management-oriented positions. Technology programs designate the course of study as a technology program, not an engineering program; engineering programs provide students with a different level of expertise and function in the workforce upon graduation. The manufacturing engineering program is a bona fide engineering program that prepares graduates to enter the workforce as engineers.

School of Engineering, Aviation, Construction, and Technology


521 Lancaster Avenue
Whalin Technology Complex
Richmond, KY 40475
Phone: (859) 622-3232
Fax: (859) 622-2357


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