The Pack is Back and Smarter Than Ever

More than 7,000 students have arrived on Michigan Tech’s campus to start the fall semester, including the second-largest class of incoming first-year Huskies since 1984.

Following last year’s record-breaking enrollment, Michigan Technological University welcomed 7,073 students to campus this fall, including 1,388 incoming first-year students. John Lehman, vice president for university relations and enrollment, said last year’s class of new first-year students and this year’s class represent the two largest since 1984. He also noted that the average GPA of 3.83 for this year’s incoming class is a new University record. Overall enrollment grew 1%.

“We’re so pleased to welcome another talented group of students to Michigan Tech,” said Lehman. “Over the course of the day first-year students move in, I ask them and their parents, ‘Why Tech?’ I heard it’s the quality of faculty and the opportunity to work closely with them from day one. I heard they want the rigorous academic challenge and the preparation that experience provides. And of course I heard they want the high salary offers that our degrees command in the employment marketplace.”

More than 2,100 of Michigan Tech’s current students are women, continuing a decade of steady increase in the number of women choosing Tech. Women will make up nearly 30% of the student body — the University’s highest percentage ever. 

And for the third straight year, the proportion of students from domestic underrepresented minority groups grew and now make up over 11.5% of the student body.

To Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Wallace Southerland III, these numbers suggest encouraging trends. “Once again, Tech’s enrollment numbers reveal what we already know to be true — that Michigan Tech is a flagship technological university where students of all backgrounds want to be. We offer exceptional academic programs taught by superior faculty and we offer extraordinarily excellent student development experiences at a reasonable cost for families.”

“The quality of the academics we offer and the unique life experience that Huskies get while they’re at Tech continue to attract a student body that is exceptionally smart and increasingly diverse.”

Wallace Southerland III, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Since 2014, enrollment in programs now within the College of Computing has nearly doubled, averaging more than 11% year-over-year growth. [Enrollment in current College of Computing programs is shown in gold. The secondary axis (black) plots relative growth since 2014.]

Of the University’s five colleges, none is growing faster than the College of Computing. “The demand for computing talent in the tech industry has never been stronger,” said Dennis Livesay, dean of the College of Computing. “Our college’s growth reflects that demand. We’re thrilled to be offering the quality of education that our students need for success in the 21st century workforce.” 

The College of Engineering has been Michigan Tech’s most prominent college for many generations, and its reputation for producing some of the world’s most successful engineers continues to thrive. Programs seeing increases in enrollment this year include geological engineering, geospatial engineering and mechanical engineering technology. Enrollment in robotics engineering has more than doubled, and the master’s program in mechanical engineering has also seen significant growth. Biomedical engineering continues its growth in the number of women enrolled — nearly two-thirds of the incoming class of biomedical engineers are women.

Janet Callahan, dean of the College of Engineering, believes the same things that have always made Tech’s engineering programs exceptional are lining up with what students want in a college education. “Engineering at Michigan Tech is unique because our students get rigorous academics in classrooms designed for experiential, hands-on learning,” she said. “From their first year onward, our students work closely with faculty, doing everything from building autonomous vehicles and vessels for unstructured environments to devising technology to support life on the moon.” 

“Our alumni know the value of the real-world education we offer our students, and so do employers. That’s why our graduates have exciting, well-paying jobs waiting for them on the day they get their diplomas.”

Janet Callahan, Dean of the College of Engineering

Today’s students want their money’s worth from college, and Michigan Tech continues to be an excellent value. The median MTU graduate earns $73,500 early in their working life — a number that ranks Tech in the top 20 public institutions nationwide for return on investment. 

After receiving a record number of applications from prospective graduate students, Michigan Tech’s graduate school will welcome its largest incoming class since 2018. Associate provost and dean of the graduate school Will Cantrell says that overall graduate school enrollment is up more than 10% from last year. With more than 100 programs offered, the graduate school saw an increase in interest from students across the geographic spectrum, including Michigan residents, non-residents and international students. Cantrell was especially encouraged by the significant surge in interest this year from students from countries in central and western Africa, especially Ghana and Nigeria. 

“Students are coming to Michigan Tech, to Houghton, from all over the world,” said Cantrell. “And many of them are surmounting significant obstacles to get here because they recognize the value of a Michigan Tech graduate degree. I know that sounds like a platitude, but it’s the truth. When we pitch our programs to prospective students, we have a pretty easy job, because they know a grad degree from Michigan Tech means so much.”

While many graduate programs have seen increases in enrollment, none has seen more year-over-year percentage growth than the health informatics program. Housed in the College of Computing’s Department of Applied Computing, health informatics grew from nine students enrolled in fall 2021 to 36 students this fall, a four-fold increase. Program director Guy Hembroff said the need for advanced data science methods to accurately predict and help solve global biomedical issues has made the field of health informatics both attractive and increasingly important.

“Our program has recently seen an increase in students — many of whom are international students — who have clinical training and work experience as medical doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses or physical therapists,” said Hembroff. “They come to Michigan Tech seeking health informatics expertise that will improve both their clinical decision-making and outcomes for their patients.”

“Our graduates are trained problem-solvers ready to meet the healthcare industry’s need for experts in data analytics, cybersecurity, public health, remote patient monitoring and artificial intelligence.”

Guy Hembroff, Associate Professor and Director of the Health Informatics Program

With health-related STEM fields on campus attracting more students than ever, Michigan Tech is preparing to meet the demand. In April, the University broke ground on the new H-STEM Engineering and Health Technologies Complex, or H-STEM Complex. Scheduled for completion in fall 2024, the H-STEM Complex will be the hub of health-related research and education on campus, where multidisciplinary teams will collaborate in shared, flexible lab spaces on work to improve human health and quality of life.

“The new H-STEM building will be an essential addition to health-related research and education here at Michigan Tech, and an invaluable resource for the Upper Peninsula, for Michigan and for the country,” said MTU President Rick Koubek. “Given that more than 50 of our faculty do research related to human health, the positive impacts the H-STEM Complex will have on our campus and community cannot be overstated.”Play H-STEM Engineering and Health Sciences Complex video

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, the University offers more than 125 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.