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About the Hajim School

The Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is one of the nation’s top engineering schools housed in a first-rate research university. Learning from and working alongside award-winning faculty, our students use state-of-the-art technology and facilities to support their unique and self-driven education.

The Hajim School comprises a variety of programs, departments, and institutes, including:

  • Audio and music engineering
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Chemical engineering
  • Computer science
  • Electrical and computer engineering
  • Institute of Optics
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Laboratory for Laser Energetics

From alternative energy to technical entrepreneurship, we continually expand our program offerings to reflect current and future opportunities for research, development, and application. Most recently, the Hajim School and the University are at the forefront of data science education with the Institute for Data Science, a $100-million project currently underway.

Enrollment also continues to increase at the Hajim School. We have doubled our number of undergraduate students since 2008. Our students conduct undergraduate research, study abroad, pursue multidisciplinary majors, and streamline their paths to graduate schools and careers. Meanwhile, our graduate programs are nationally ranked and recognized by U.S. News and World Report and the American Society for Engineering Education.

In short, the Hajim School’s students, alumni, faculty, staff, and supporters work together to make the world ever better.

Timeline of Engineering at Rochester

1908—The University of Rochester offers its first courses in applied science (engineering), with an emphasis on mechanical engineering.

1915—First chemical engineering courses offered.

1929—The Institute of Applied Optics is established.

1930—Men’s classes move from Prince Street to the River Campus. Chemical and mechanical engineering occupy a new three-floor Engineering Building (later renamed Gavett Hall). The Institute of Optics occupies the fourth floor of the Bausch and Lomb building.

1956—Electrical engineering, previously offered in 1947, then dropped in 1950, is permanently resurrected.

1958—Engineering becomes a separate College of Engineering and Applied Science, with three departments: mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and chemical engineering.

1961—The Institute of Optics is absorbed into the College of Engineering.

1962—Cornerstone set for Hopeman Hall, the new home for mechanical and electrical engineering.

1970—Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) is established.

1976—Institute of Optics will move from the Bausch and Lomb Building to the Space Science Center (later renamed Wilmot Hall).

1976—Groundbreaking for new LLE facility to house the OMEGA laser.

1987—New Computer Studies Building includes offices and labs for electrical engineering.

1995—Colleges of Engineering and of Arts and Science are combined. The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences becomes part of the resultant College, which is later designated Arts, Sciences and Engineering.

1998—Department of Electrical Engineering renamed Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

2000—Department of Biomedical Engineering is established.

2007—Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics opens.

2008—Edmund Hajim bequeaths $30 million, the largest gift in the University’s history, to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

2009—School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is named after Edmund Hajim. The Department of Computer Science becomes part of the Hajim School.

2016 — Wendi Heinzelman becomes the first woman to serve as Dean of the Hajim School.

University of Rochester's Deans of Engineering


Deans of engineering at the University of Rochester have included, from left to right, Brian Thompson, Robert Clark, Kevin Parker,Wendi Heinzelman (current dean), and Duncan Moore.

John W. Graham Jr. 1959 to 1966

Robert G. Loewy 1967 to 1974

Brian J. Thompson  1975 to 1984

Bruce W. Arden 1986 to 1994

Duncan T. Moore 1995 to 1997

Kevin J. Parker 1998 to 2008

Robert L. Clark 2008-2016

Wendi Heinzelman 2016 - present

Edmund Hajim’s $30 million gift commitment to the school in 2008 was the largest in the University’s history.

The University of Rochester first offered engineering courses in 1908. The emphasis was on mechanical engineering.

Eastman Kodak Co. and Bausch and Lomb Optical were instrumental in providing the funds to establish The Institute of Optics in 1929. The Institute has awarded nearly half of all U.S. optics degrees.

Computer Science is now the Hajim School department with the largest undergraduate enrollment. Its graduating class in May 2017 will be about 34 percent female, double the national average.

Two of the school’s six department chairs are women – Diane Dalecki in biomedical engineering and Sandhya Dwarkadas in computer science. So is the school’s dean – Wendi Heinzelman.

19 Hajim School faculty members are also scientists at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics.

15 have received prestigious NSF CAREER awards.

Goergen Hall is 981 feet from the Medical Center – less than a five-minute walk – facilitating research and educational collaborations.

The measurement was taken by Greg Gdowski, director of the Medical Technology and Innovation master’s program, whose students take advantage of that proximity to design and build medical devices after immersing themselves in clinical settings.

In its first year of full implementation, the Hajim School STEM-Gems program increased the first-year retention rate of low-income, first generation and underrepresented racial minority students in engineering to 88 percent, compared to an average of 57 percent the prior five years.

More than 70 senior capstone projects were on display during Hajim Design Day in 2016. Twenty-nine were sponsored by outside companies or agencies, another 10 by Medical Center faculty and one by a University of Ghana faculty member.

Spain was the country most often picked by Hajim School students studying abroad during the 2015-16 school year.