College of Science and Engineering Catalog
The purpose of the Houston Christian University College of Science and Engineering is to build engineers and scientists for tomorrow, who employ biblical principles for solving problems, discovering truth in the created world, and serving God and Man.
Undergraduate Degrees Offered
Bachelor of Science in:
- Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- Computer Science
- Cyber Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Information Systems
- Science Studies
Graduate Degrees Offered
- Master of Science in Cybersecurity, Information Technology
The programs in the College of Science Engineering are distinguished by the following major features, providing unique and significant advantages to students, graduates, and employers.
Christian Principles and Foundation
The Christian mission of the HCU COSE is important to the faculty, administration, and the students. It is also important to the healthcare industry, allied health professions, information security, and other executives who need professionals that are ethical, consistent, and principled.
Engineering-based Cyber Programs
The programs at HCU provide the only cyber-focused B.S. degrees in any university in the Houston metro area. Cybersecurity is an area of emphasis in all engineering and computing programs at HCU.
Health Professions Advising
The College offers specialized advising for students planning to continue their education by attending medical, dental, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, or graduate engineering school. The advising program is open to all HCU students interested in a medical or health professions career. Activities in the program include membership and participation in the appropriate pre-professional student organization, trips to medical and dental schools, and workshops offered by the Health Professions Office.
Many industrial partners and individuals support the College by providing learning and work experiences (e.g. internships), assisting with lab development, sponsoring projects, providing guest and adjunct instructors, employing interns and graduates, and advising on curriculum design and improvement.
Engineering and computer science students learn to address cyber related issues (e.g., security, internet of things, embedded systems, software protection, network defense) from the beginning of the freshman year. The first-year curriculum utilizes a versatile hardware platform (mobile electronics and computing kit) to provide students with hands-on projects in an immersive learning environment.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Students in all programs are encouraged to work with faculty at HCU and with collaborators at regional medical schools and universities to design and conduct experiments leading to new discoveries and results.
Department of Biology, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology
Major in Biology
The Biology Department at Houston Christian University emphasizes the biomedical/biotechnology area of biology. HCU Biology is especially strong in Cell and Molecular Biology, Microbiology, and Animal Systems. The program, taught by faculty with earned Doctorates (e.g., from Yale, UCLA, University of Houston, Texas A&M University), prepares students for a wide variety of careers including health professions, graduate school, nursing, education, and industry.
Graduates of HCU Biology have become PhDs, physicians, dentists, bio technicians, researchers, teachers, and other interesting professionals. They work in the fields of allied health, quality control, ecology, animal and plant science, consulting, lab management, forensics, and related sales areas.
HCU Biology prepares students for their careers by offering biology courses with an academically rigorous, contemporary curriculum. HCU Biology faculty serve as mentors to enable students to develop professional attitudes required for success and service.
HCU Biology provides mentoring and experiences that enable students to grow in a Christian environment that integrates the principles of biological sciences with their faith.
Departmental honors are available in Biology
Major in Biochemistry-Molecular Biology
The College of Science and Engineering provides the interdisciplinary training necessary to prepare students for success in careers in the biological and biochemical sciences. HCU faculty from Biology, Chemistry, Math and Physics teach and mentor in this major. The Biochemistry-Molecular Biology (BCMB) major incorporates the training needed for students to compete for spaces in medical school, dental school and graduate programs in the biological and biochemical sciences, in addition to entry-level employment in biomedical research at academic institutions and in the biotechnology industry. Departmental honors are available in BCMB. The BCMB program is accredited by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Department of Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics
Major in Chemistry
The chemistry major includes courses in general, bio, inorganic, organic, analytical, and physical chemistry. Calculus I and II and two courses in calculus-based physics are also required. The curriculum provides laboratory experiences and includes a senior research project. Internships and additional undergraduate research opportunities, outside of course requirements, are available to qualified chemistry majors. Chemistry graduates commonly pursue graduate school, industrial employment, and further study in various health professions.
Major in Mathematics
The mathematics major combines coursework in both pure and applied mathematics with computer applications. It is designed to prepare students for graduate study or for careers in business, government, and industry. Mathematics courses are also offered to support other programs, including business, chemistry, education, engineering, the health professions, and physics.
Mathematics graduates often find employment with companies in technological fields such as computer science, engineering, statistics, and actuarial science and are also highly valued by employers in non-technological fields because of their proven problem-solving abilities. A mathematics degree also provides a solid foundation for students who wish to pursue further studies.
Departmental honors are available in Mathematics.
Major in Science Studies
The Science Studies major provides a broad-based scientific foundation for students interested in pursuing entry-level positions and/or graduate-level education in research, technical health, teaching, nursing, law, data analytics, and natural history. Courses include lower-level selections in biology, chemistry, and computer science and upper-level opportunities in biology, chemistry, and the social sciences. HCU Science Studies faculty serve as mentors to enable students to develop professional attitudes required for success and service.
Teacher Certification (See College of Education and Behavioral Sciences)
All science and engineering majors are encouraged to pursue teaching careers. The demand for, and the impact of, such careers in STEM teaching are significant. The Colleges of Science and Engineering and Education and Behavioral Sciences cooperatively offer teacher certification in the following areas:
- 7-12 Science
- 7-12 Mathematics
The College of Science and Engineering also offers (in addition to advising for HCU degree requirements) specialized advising for students planning to continue their education after obtaining a degree from HCU by attending medical, dental, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, or an engineering graduate school. The requirements as listed below are frequently updated by maintaining close contact with all professional schools. However, professional schools are continually modifying their curriculum, so students should consult with the health professions director for the most current requirements for a post-baccalaureate program.
Pre-Health Post Baccalaureate Coursework
HCU’s Pre-Health Post-Baccalaureate coursework will academically prepare students with a bachelor’s degree for a health profession school (i.e. Medical, Physician Associate, Dental, Pharmacy, or Graduate School in the Biological or Chemical Sciences). In addition to academic preparation with graduate-level courses, students will be guided through the application and admission process for health profession schools with application workshops and mock admission interviews. The HCU Pre-Health Post-Baccalaureate coursework is designed to give students an opportunity to further their educational journey toward a Health Profession or Graduate school by offering pre-requisite and recommended courses with a faith-centered curriculum.
Pre-Medical / Pre-Dental Program
The pre-medical/pre-dental program is open to all HCU students interested in a career in medicine or dentistry. The program is not a major; rather it is a series of classes and activities designed to prepare students for entry into these schools. Activities in the program include membership and participation in the appropriate pre-professional student organization (Alpha Epsilon Delta, the Pre-Professional Honor Society and the Pre-Dental Society), trips to medical and dental schools, and workshops offered by the Health Professions Office. Students are also encouraged to seek shadowing opportunities with area health care professionals and to perform community service as individuals or in conjunction with one of the student organizations.
Entry into a health professions school is a competitive process. Application to medical and dental schools may occur early in the summer after a student’s junior year if prerequisite courses are complete and a student has a competitive GPA and MCAT/DAT score. If these conditions are not met, it may be in the student’s best interest to delay application until they obtain a competitive GPA and admissions test score. Texas medical and dental schools require evaluation letters. They may be submitted in one of two forms. 1). A Composite Letter of Evaluation from their Health Professions Office 2.) Three individual letters of evaluation. The HCU Health Profession Office provides a Composite Letter of Evaluation for qualified students.
The Composite Letter of Evaluation Package is preferred by the professional schools. This package contains comments by the science faculty, advisors, and evaluations performed by the Applicant Evaluation Committee. Requirements for students to receive a Composite Letter are available in the Health Professions Office.
Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental prerequisite courses may change at any time without notice to Houston Christian University. A current list of requirements for admission is maintained in the Health Professions Office of the College of Science and Engineering.
Pre-Chiropractic Program, Texas Chiropractic College, and Parker Chiropractic College
A current list of requirements for admission to these chiropractic colleges is maintained in the Health Professions Office of the College of Science and Engineering. It is the student’s responsibility to check often with Texas Chiropractic College for any updates as these requirements may change without notice to HCU.
A current list of requirements for admission is maintained in the Health Professions Office of the College of Science and Engineering. Pre-optometry prerequisite courses may change at any time without notice to Houston Christian University. It is the student’s responsibility to check often with the professional school for any updates. Students are encouraged to participate in the activities of our HCU Pre-Optometry Professional Society (HCU POPS).
Students who plan to enter the field of pharmacy may complete the prerequisite courses at Houston Christian University before applying for admission to a school of pharmacy. A current list of requirements for admission is maintained in the Health Professions Office of the College of Science and Engineering. Pre-Pharmacy prerequisite courses may change at any time without notice to Houston Christian University. It is the student’s responsibility to check often with the professional school for any updates.
Pre-Physical Therapy Program
A current list of requirements for admission is maintained in the Health Professions Office of the College of Science and Engineering. Pre-Physical Therapy prerequisite courses may change at any time without notice to Houston Christian University. It is the student’s responsibility to check often with the professional school for any updates. Since programs vary in entrance requirements, students should confirm the specific admission requirements for each school.
Pre-Physician Assistant Program
Students who plan to enter the field of Physician Assistant may complete the prerequisite courses at Houston Christian University before applying for admission to a Physician Assistant program. A current list of requirements for admission is maintained in the Health Professions Office of the College of Science and Engineering. Pre-Physician Assistant prerequisite courses may change at any time without notice to Houston Christian University. It is the student’s responsibility to check often with the professional school for any updates.
Department of Engineering
The College of Science and Engineering at Houston Christian University offers B.S. degrees in Cyber Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science. These degrees produce graduates in high demand in many of our nation’s critical infrastructure industries. Cybersecurity is an area of special emphasis in these degrees at HCU, threaded throughout each curriculum from the first year to the senior year. Please see the information available on these programs on the HCU website, or elsewhere in the catalog.
Learning by Doing
Engineering students learn to address cyber related issues (e.g., security, internet of things, embedded systems, software protection, network defense, programming, mobility, and cloud computing) from the beginning of the freshman year. The first-year projects curriculum utilizes a unique mobile technology platform (electronics and computing kit) to provide students with hands-on projects. Students learn the intricacies of engineering and computing in an immersive learning environment. This curriculum cultivates problem solving and critical thinking skills. Students look at problems (typically in the cyberspace domain), design algorithms and propose them as solutions, and analyze the effectiveness of their implementation.
Professional Learning Experiences
All students in the Engineering program complete a year-long senior project directed by faculty but sponsored by industrial partners. HCU staff assist students in identifying internship opportunities. By interacting directly with engineers working in industry, students gain practical and real-world problem-solving experience to enhance their learning.
Major in Cyber Engineering
The Cyber Engineering Program (CYEN) is a four-year undergraduate degree best described as the intersection of Computer Science (CS) and Electrical Engineering (EE) applied to the cyberspace domain. Cyber engineers incorporate electrical engineering and computer science to understand cyberspace and use skills developed in digital forensics, security policy, and network defense to perform cybersecurity tasks, as well as work on engineering hardware and software. Cyber engineers design secure systems at the interface of operational technology (sensors and things that move) and information technology (the digital world).
The CYEN program is designed to prepare students to embark on a variety of opportunities in cyber- related fields; its core consists of a series of cyber courses. These courses are designed to motivate the application of theoretical concepts learned in other courses and to promote discovery of the underpinnings of EE and CS. Combining intense coursework and open-ended problems, the projects-based cyber courses provide students with an immersion in Cyber Engineering.
Major in Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity has become a subject that touches virtually every aspect of industry and personal safety. Knowing about cybersecurity and how to prevent attacks is vital in today’s world. The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity (BSCYSC) is a degree designed to introduce different aspects of cybersecurity and educate students about how to keep systems secure for the future. Students enrolled in the BSCYSC program will develop the skills needed to identify and detect vulnerabilities experienced by organizations or the public. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to use these tools and skills in real-world projects and apply this knowledge to help mitigate and recover from attacks.
Major in Electrical Engineering
The Electrical Engineering curriculum is designed to meet the challenges of expanding professional opportunities. From foundations in the basic sciences of mathematics, physics, and chemistry, the program progresses through the engineering sciences to emphasize the roles of electrical theory in the analysis, synthesis, design, and operation of electronic devices and systems. A coordinated laboratory program and series of projects supplement classroom instruction, stimulate creativity, and develop professional competence.
Major in Computer Science
The computer science curriculum is designed to provide students with a foundational education in mathematics, science, and the humanities; an in-depth study of computing, including the practical and theoretical aspects of both hardware and software; and an opportunity for graduate study or a challenging position in industry. Because of the rapid pace of change in the field, the program places primary emphasis on fundamental computing concepts including multi-disciplinary applications.
Major in Information Systems
An Information Systems degree prepares students to analyze computing problems and design, implement, and evaluate solutions for technology in a business or commercial setting. Students will learn computing theory, programming, computer architecture, as well as accounting, predictive analytics, and management principles for information systems management.
Accreditation of engineering and computer science undergraduate degree programs is provided by ABET (previously called the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). ABET guidelines require that the initial application for accreditation include information from the first class of graduates, which HCU anticipates in Spring of 2022. As is common for new engineering programs, the College of Science and Engineering will request that our accreditation be made retroactive so that it applies to the original, charter class of graduates. The College leadership has extensive experience in evaluating engineering programs for ABET accreditation and in leading successful accreditation reports and results. The degree programs at HCU have been designed with ABET accreditation as a key feature. Curriculum, courses, educational objectives, and student outcomes for these programs meet the definitions and criteria for accreditation. Assessment processes have been designed to enable sufficient data for evaluation and continuous improvement.
For those students who wish to pursue a major in a field of engineering not offered by HCU, the pre-engineering program is designed to prepare students to complete an engineering degree after two years of full-time study at HCU followed by two to three years of full-time study at a university that offers alternate engineering programs. The exact time required will depend on the university and the field of engineering chosen. The pre-engineering program allows students to take many of their engineering, math, and science courses and some of their general elective courses at HCU before transferring.
The Dean of the College will provide students with advice and assistance in selecting courses to prepare them to transfer. The Dean will work with the student and the university that the student plans to attend after leaving HCU to verify that the courses taken at HCU will satisfy that school’s requirements.
To be recommended for admission to an engineering school, students must complete all required courses with a grade of a “C” or higher and maintain a cumulative Quality Point Average of at least 2.5.
Advantages and Opportunities of Pre-Engineering
For students who wish to begin their studies at HCU and later transfer to an engineering college that offers alternate fields of engineering, HCU offers an excellent starting place. While at HCU, students benefit from the University’s quality academic programs based on strong Christian values, small classes with easily accessible faculty, and many opportunities to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities, including student chapters of professional organizations, music, sports, student government, and fraternities and sororities. The College provides many opportunities for all students, including first and second-year students (and pre-engineering students), to interact with industry professionals and work on realistic projects while learning fundamentals.
Master of Science in Cybersecurity, Information Technology
Every industry and organization connecting to the Internet is at risk of a cyber-attack. The Master of Science in Cybersecurity (MSCYSC) is a specialized online master’s program designed to expand student knowledge and give a more in-depth understanding in cybersecurity. Students enrolled in the MSCYSC program will develop the skills needed to identify and detect vulnerabilities experienced by organizations or the public. Additionally, students may have opportunities to experience and apply the tools necessary to protect against a cybercrime as well as respond and recover from a cyber-attack.