New Engineering Minor Builds Excitement at AMU!

Ave Maria University is launching a new engineering minor, which aims to lead students into the field of automation and robotics.

“The addition of the engineering minor provides our students with an opportunity to enter into professions where they can apply practical engineering skills,” said Dr. Stephen Thong, chair of the chemistry and physics department. “Students in the program will be trained in robotics, control systems, and automation — highly desirable skills.”

“Exposure to engineering is important for students in light of the prevalence and advancement of technology,” associate professor of physics for Ave Maria University Dr. Alex Tsai said.

“It’s important that engineers have a good foundation in the Catholic faith,” Dr. Tsai continued. “Catholic engineers contribute to society in a healthy way which glorifies God, by developing ethical and moral solutions to the world’s problems.”

The new minor includes six courses with an emphasis on robotics, including an introduction to robotics, mechatronics, electronics, and automation and controls, as well as calculus and an introduction to computer programming.

Over the four years of the program, students will learn the practical implementation of actuators and sensors through microcontroller programming, which will then lead to robotic design of static and dynamic systems. From there, students will delve into the in-depth study of electronic components and circuitry, utilizing Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software, and conclude with automatic control theory of dynamic systems.

“This minor gives students the option to partake in a profession that is shaping society. What better place than Ave Maria University, a beacon of truth, to learn about this influential and relevant field! Students interested in engineering now have a sound Catholic option,” Dr. Tsai said.

“As a complement to Ave Maria University majors of computer science, math and physics, or any other major, the engineering minor shows Ave Maria University’s continued commitment to STEM majors to ensure that our well-formed student is equipped to meet the technology challenges of the future,” Dr. Thong said.

In addition to providing an additional track in an excellent academic curriculum, the new minor also contains a spiritual element. “Engineers really model St. Joseph in his work,” Dr. Tsai added. “I see a connection between the new minor and St. Joseph’s vocation in life. He is the model of workers, the pillar of families. Engineers work to build and shape the infrastructures of society, of families.”

The engineering minor will launch in the fall 2024 semester. To learn more about course content, email Dr. Tsai at For details on registration, speak with an admissions counselor at 239-280-2556.