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Engineering History: The 19th Century

By: Chris Curran
Photos: Courtesy of University Archives and UC College of Engineering

The University of Cincinnati began awarding engineering degrees back in the 1870s. In its early years as a university, UC only graduated a handful of engineers each. The first degrees were in civil engineering, a fitting foundation for the growth that followed.

Centennial graphic

This lab was in the original McMicken Hall used in 1892 as part of a three-room suite of labs and lecture hall for science and engineering.

By 1889, 20 percent of the students at UC were engineering majors. But they spent most of their time studying liberal arts, not technical subjects. The 1890s brought the first major change in curriculum. Engineering became a five-year program with a basic education followed by a fifth year in advanced studies on the "practical design of structures."

Engineering was listed as an official program of study for the first time in 1892. The Centennial Celebration dates to the first official listing of the College of Engineering in the 1900-01 academic year/

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