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Experiential Learning

While it is coursework that ultimately defines an Engineering degree, there are number of opportunities to gain experience by putting the theory learned into practice. This may be as straightforward as the lab component of a course. However, there are numerous activities in which students can apply their coursework through projects, clubs, competitions, work and research experiences. Many of these different forms of experiential learning in Engineering, which are both fun and rewarding, are highlighted here:

Child with prosthetic hand holding a basketball surrounded by students

Assistive Technology

The Assistive Technology Program provides engineering students with interesting and challenging problems from our community partners and allows students to solve them through the development of appropriate technologies.

 Timothy Roberts, Natalie Melconian, Rebecca Gonsalves-Lamontagne, and Zachary Morris paddle UMass Lowell's concrete canoe during the 2014 regional competition.

Clubs, Societies and Teams

Nearly every major or discipline has an associated club or society which meets on a regular basis for professional development or social affairs. A number of teams that compete annually include:

  • Concrete Canoe Team: Design, build and race a concrete canoe against other schools in the Northeast.
  • Design-Build-Fly Team: Design and build a remote-controlled plane according and put it through a series of competitive tests against schools across the globe.
  • eNABLE Lowell: UMass Lowell students join together across majors to design, build and donate prosthetic devices to children. You can nearly always find a team member working in our Lin Makerspace.
  • River Hawk Racing: The student SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) team builds and races a Formula One style car each year.
Three UMass Lowell students taking part in the Steel Bridge Competition.
  • Rocketry Club: Build and fly rockets, usually in nearby Amesbury, Massachusetts.
  • Steel Bridge: Design and build a steel bridge within prescribed parameters to take the maximum load and compete against other schools in the Northeast.
Nonspec arm


This campus-wide program engages students in creative problem solving, innovation and entrepreneurship. Seminars and workshops are held throughout the year, culminating in the Idea Challenge, which gives out $50,000 for category winners to further their ideas into products and even companies. Previous winners include prosthetic developers Nonspec and eNable Lowell.

InvisaWear jewelry, like this necklace, is designed to be discreet but effective in alerting loved ones and police is there's a problem. Photo by InvisaWear

InvisaWear jewelry, like this necklace, is designed to be discreet but effective in alerting loved ones and police is there's a problem.

Engineering Prototyping Competition:

Have a product idea? Build a prototype and compete for prize money to further develop your product. Over 25 teams are competing in this year’s event which will shell-out $7000 in prize money. Previous winners include companies such as Invisawear and TopaCan.

Entrepreneurial Senior Design:

Every engineering student is required to complete a culminating senior design project. In this version, engineering and business students form teams to chase an entrepreneurial idea. In addition to the design and prototyping, the team works on a business and marketing plan.

Industrial Senior Design:

In this senior design course industry partners provide a problem which a team of students solve over the course of their senior year. In addition to putting their studies to practice, the students develop communication skills and learn about the workings of industry. Sponsors have included Analog Devices, BAE Systems, New Balance, Raytheon, and UTC Aerospace Systems, among other companies.

First-year students studying in the Women In Science and Engineering--W.I.S.E.--living-learning community at UMass Lowell. Photo by David Benavides

Living Learning Communities:

By living and participating in an LLC, students are provided with meaningful opportunities to link academic and co-curricular components of their college experience. The College sponsors the Developing Leaders in Engineering (DLE) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) LLCs, but there are a number of options available for all interests.


Professional Co-op:

Students in any major may apply to the professional co-op program which prepares students for 6-month (and summer) work experiences in a variety of companies.

Two UMass Lowell mechanical engineering students at HDSC, Sean Hayes and Michael Stockwell, working with there prototype biomass shredder.

Mechanical Engineering students working with their prototype biomass shredder in Haiti.

Research Experiences:

Undergraduates interested in pursuing research are encouraged to consult faculty, often affiliated with Centers, Laboratories or Institutes, for potential opportunities.


SLICE (Service Learning in the College of Engineering) engages our students and faculty with the community.

Activities include performing service projects with community partners, from Lowell to Haiti, and developing STEM learning modules which are delivered in local schools.


This program prepares science and engineering undergraduate students to become licensed middle school or high school teachers. The goal is to attract a wide range of bright science and engineering undergraduate students to the STEM teaching minor to give them the experience and mentoring needed to become confident, effective, and engaging educators. Students spend time teaching in the classroom from the very first class.

On Monday, January 8, 2018 UMass Lowwell study abroad students celebrated culture day by dressing in traditional Indian clothes and showing up to class. Photo by Nana Younge

Study Abroad:

UMass Lowell provides literally hundreds of options to study abroad. Engineering students can find tailored programs in the Czech Republic, Germany, India and Taiwan.

Hear From Our Students, Alumni & More

  • Jack Goutier
    Electrical Engineering

    For electrical engineering major Jack Goutier of Attleboro, failure was part of the job during his six-month product safety co-op at Bose Corp.

  • Jyotik Savaj
    Energy Engineering/Solar

    Jyotik Savaj, who is enrolled in the Master of Science in Energy Engineering/Solar Program, aims to help fulfill the need for solar power and has a paid co-op job at Exyte, an engineering and project management company specializing in high-tech facilities.

  • Matthew Clancy
    Mechanical Engineering

    As a sophomore, Matthew Clancy designed a small satellite with a vital mission: getting children and teens excited about their STEM studies and aerospace careers. Now he’s developing his LEARNsat for NASA launch.

  • Yehya Merhi
    Mechanical Engineering

    Mechanical engineering major Yehya Merhi discovered his passion as a co-op for medical tech company Atrium Medical. Now the Lebanon native wants to make it a career.

  • Mark Saab
    Plastics Engineering

    Alumni donor Mark Saab's UMass Lowell education provided the foundation for a successful career. His gratitude to the plastics engineering program is expressed through the generous donations he's bestowed upon the University.

  • Alexander Rick
    Plastics Engineering

    For plastics engineering major Alexander Rick, a co-op position at Burton Snowboards was a dream job, a perfect alignment of his personal passion and professional goals.