Transmission and Distribution Program

Director: TBD
Assistant Director: Jilliene McKinstry

Master of Engineering - Transmission & Distribution Engineering

Gonzaga University's School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) offers an on-line Master of Engineering degree and a Graduate Certificate in Transmission and Distribution (T&D) Engineering for the electric power industry. All courses are offered on-line over an eight week period by power industry experts and Gonzaga University faculty. Students may register and take courses from anywhere in the world and have immediate access to high quality instruction from industry leaders.


Admission to the program will be administered by faculty and staff of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. For the M.E. degree, an undergraduate degree in engineering, two letters of recommendation (preferably from immediate managers/supervisors in a power-related industry), and a letter of intent expressing the student's qualifications, professional goals, and employment experience will be required to enter the program. Preferred consideration for admission will be given to applications with industry experience that have completed the T&D Certificate Program.

Admission Checklist:

  • Letter of intent
  • Transcripts of all relevant university coursework. Only degrees and courses from a regionally accredited institution will be accepted.
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Application form submitted
  • Application fee
  • Professional Resume


B.S. Degree in Civil, Mechanical, Electrical or other engineering field. Employment in electric utility or related industry recommended.

Course Requirements:

Thirty-six (36) credits total:

  • 33 in T&D courses, Students may substitute six credits from pre-approved graduate courses.
  • TADP 556 Capstone - 3 credits.

Degree Requirements:

The Master of Engineering in T&D Engineering is a 36-credit hour degree program. Students are required to complete a total of 36 credits- three from the TADP 556 capstone course and at least 27 credits from other T&D courses. The final six credits may be from the T&D program, approved courses from GU’s Business or Organizational Leadership programs, or approved graduate courses from other universities. Once admitted to the T&D degree program students will be given six years to complete their degree.

To receive an M.E. Degree in T&D Engineering the student must have an average cumulative grade point of 3.0 or better in the T&D program. Prior to being awarded their degree, each student is encouraged to participate in the campus visit associated with the Engineering Leadership capstone course.

Basic requirements for completion and award of the degree are 36 credits of graduate coursework including:

  • A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 in the program 
  • TADP 556 Engineering Leadership Capstone course
  • At least 27 credits of T&D coursework
  • Six credits of electives from either T&D coursework or other pre-approved graduate courses

*Prerequisite TADP 540
**Prerequisite TADP 641 or Program Director permission

Graduate Certificate in T&D Engineering:

The 15 credit T&D Engineering certificate program consists of any five (3 credit) Gonzaga T&D graduate courses. Each course may be taken individually, or students may take any sequence of five (3-credit) courses that fit their professional needs to obtain the graduate level certificate in T&D Engineering. A cumulative GPA of 3.00 from the T&D Program and good standing with the University will be required for the award of the certificate. Admission is administered through the T&D program with director approval needed for registration in TADP 545 and TADP 640.


These courses are an ideal fit for engineers looking for utility related professional development opportunities at the graduate level. The courses also offer engineers the technical insight they will need to be successful in the utility field. Course topics include transmission line design and construction, project management and construction methods, power system analysis, protective relaying, distribution system design, and power system design (including regional and national power infrastructure and regulations). The program offers multi-disciplinary courses for a variety of engineers working in power. 

Each course has been split into modules with a different industry expert assigned to develop and teach each module. Students, therefore, receive instruction from multiple industry experts and have access to course material which is directly focused on electric utility design practice and procedures. In addition, the online format allows students to attend "class" each week whenever it is convenient to their work schedules without the need to travel to campus or be online at specific times.

For more information about this program and current courses offerings, please visit our website at:

TADP 521 Utility Communications
3.00 credits
This course is an introduction into the world of communications, with an emphasis on applications in the electrical utility space. The course is intended for those whose specialty is not communications engineering but need an overview of the evolving communications technology as a pre-requisite for the future Smart Grid; this includes power-track engineers, project managers, etc.
TADP 540 Intro Transmission Line Design
3.00 credits
Introduction to structures, conductors, insulation, survey techniques, terrain modeling, computer-aided design, NESC code requirements. Each major step in an overhead line design process will be analyzed and discussed using data from a recently constructed line. Advantages and disadvantages of some modern design tools will be established.
TADP 541 Elec Distribution Sys Design
3.00 credits
Network planning, protection/fusing, conductor sizing, transformer specification & connections, arrestors, reactive compensation, underground cabling, substation overview. Students will learn the characteristics of distribution devices and how to select devices which contribute to the desired system performance. The course will cover the requirements of acceptable power quality and how to identify the different types of loads and their requirements for service.
TADP 542 Substation Design
3.00 credits
System overview, design principles, types of substations, components, utilization, reliability, metering, voltage, protection, project plan, site, scheduling, major equipment, control houses, communication, SCADA, foundations, structural design, grounding.
TADP 543 Electrical Grid Operations
3.00 credits
NERC/WECC reliability standards, control area operation, outage coordination planning, switch theory and devices, reactive load balancing, generation load balancing, economic dispatch, transmission marketing (OASIS), seasonal ratings. The student will acquire the expertise needed for the inner-workings of a large, interconnected utility system. In addition, the students will develop a skill set that includes knowledge of how electricity is generated, transmitted, and consumed, as well as the ability to analyze complex transmission operational situations and make qualified judgments and recommendations to mitigate transmission related problems.
TADP 544 Proj Dev & Construction Method
3.00 credits
System planning and project development, project proposals to management, project initiation, scheduling, cost management, resource management, permitting authority, land rights acquisition, overview of contracts, contractor selection, Gantt tracking. Students will study conductor types and uses, and learn strategies for developing and describing competing transmission projects. Given a specific transmission line project, the students will be able to develop a detailed project description in the form of a project plan.
TADP 545 System Protection
3.00 credits
General concepts, symmetrical faults, asymmetrical faults, voltage and current transformers for protection, classification and functionality of relays, overcurrent protection, distribution feeder protection, transmission line protection with communications independent distance relaying, introduction to differential protection, and disturbance analysis.
TADP 547 Underground System Design
3.00 credits
Introduction to cable systems: history of cables, solid dielectrics, comparison of overhead vs underground. Types of cable systems, cable manufacturing, accessories, basic cable design. Installation practice: pulling tensions, side wall pressures, t-line installation, distribution installation, tunnel installation, directional boring. Application considerations: hydraulic pressures/volumes, commissioning, operation and maintenance practice, industry guides/specifications, IEEE standards. Case studies and special topics.
TADP 548 T-Line Design - Elect Aspects
3.00 credits
This course covers the electrical aspects of transmission line design which ensure acceptable reliability, safety and code compliance for transmission facilities. Topics include an introduction to the electrical aspects of a transmission line design, rules and requirements, design criteria and voltage levels, conductor selection and ratings, required clearances, REA manual, insulation, voltage flashover, EMF fields, corona, induction coordination, grounding requirements, pole grounding, guy wire grounding, and grounding measurements.
TADP 549 TLD: Structures & Foundations
3.00 credits
The course covers in-depth design of steel poles, concrete poles, and associated foundations. The major topics include: review of steel pole specifications, development of loading trees, design of steel poles including arms, attachment details, base plate,. anchor bolts and connections, manufacturing process, inspections of weld details, testing of steel poles, review of concrete pole specifications, design of concrete poles, comparison of steel vs. concrete poles, associated industry national standards, direct embedment and pier foundations, foundation optimization, and anchor foundations.
TADP 553 System Automation
3.00 credits
Students will learn economic benefits of Smart Grids, network load flow analysis, radial load flow analysis, optimal topology, sectionalizing switches, fault location/isolation, microgrid techology, renewable technology, integrating renewable energy, system restoration, voltage/VAR control.
TADP 556 Engineering Leadership
3.00 credits
Four broad areas of leadership will be covered: leadership roles and responsibilities (sponsor appreciation); communication; systems thinking and breakthrough leadership; leadership, change and ethics.
TADP 640 Adv Transmission Line Design
3.00 credits
The course further develops strategies covered in T-Line course and introduces advanced concepts for designing overhead transmission lines.
TADP 641 Power System Analysis
3.00 credits
This course will begin with a review of basic concepts of power systems, their components and how they are inter-related. An overview of the topology and members of the North American power grid will then be covered. The main portion of the course will refer to modeling of power systems, short circuit calculations, and load flow algorithms and methods. Students will learn how to apply the algorithms and methods using case studies in topics such as voltage regulation, VAR control, and relay setting and coordination. The course will wrap up with a brief segment on harmonic analysis and filter design.
TADP 680 Special Topics
.00- 4.00 credits
Topic to be determined by instructor.

In addition to their major and minor areas of study, all undergraduate students follow a common program designed to complete their education in those areas that the University considers essential for a Catholic, Jesuit, liberal, and humanistic education. The University Core Curriculum consists of forty-five credits of course work, with additional designation requirements that can be met through core, major, or elective courses.

The University Core Curriculum is a four-year program, organized around one overarching question, which is progressively addressed through yearly themes and questions. Hence, core courses are best taken within the year for which they are designated. First year core courses encourage intellectual engagement and provide a broad foundation of fundamental skills. Second and third year courses examine central issues and questions in philosophy and religious studies. The fourth year course, the Core Integration Seminar, offers a culminating core experience. Taken at any time throughout the four years, broadening courses intersect with the core themes and extend students’ appreciation for the humanities, arts, and social and behavioral sciences. Finally, the designation requirements (writing enriched, global studies, and social justice) reflect important values and reinforce students’ knowledge and competencies.

Overarching Core Question: As students of a Catholic, Jesuit, and Humanistic University, how do we educate ourselves to become women and men for a more just and humane global community?
Year 1 Theme and Question: Understanding and Creating: How do we pursue knowledge and cultivate understanding?

  • The First-Year Seminar (DEPT 193, 3 credits): The First-Year Seminar (FYS), taken in the fall or spring of the first year, is designed to promote an intellectual shift in students as they transition to college academic life. Each small seminar is organized around an engaging topic, which students explore from multiple perspectives. The FYS is offered by many departments across the University (click here [PDF] for list of FYS courses).  
  • Writing (ENGL 101, 3 credits) and Reasoning (PHIL 101, 3 credits): The Writing and Reasoning courses are designed to help students develop the foundational skills of critical reading, thinking, analysis, and writing. They may be taken as linked sections. Writing (ENGL 101) carries one of the three required writing-enriched designations (see below).
  • Communication & Speech (COMM 100, 3 credits): This course introduces students to interpersonal and small group communication and requires the application of critical thinking, reasoning, and research skills necessary to organize, write, and present several speeches.
  • Scientific Inquiry (BIOL 104/104L, CHEM 104/104L, or PHYS 104/104L, 3 credits): This course explores the scientific process in the natural world through evidence-based logic and includes significant laboratory experience. Students pursuing majors that require science courses will satisfy this requirement through their major.
  • Mathematics (above Math 100, 3 credits): Mathematics courses promote thinking according to the modes of the discipline—abstractly, symbolically, logically, and computationally. One course in mathematics, above Math 100, including any math course required for a major or minor, will fulfill this requirement. MATH 100 (College Algebra) and courses without the MATH prefix do not fulfill this requirement.

Year 2 Theme and Question: Being and Becoming: Who are we and what does it mean to be human?

  • Philosophy of Human Nature (PHIL 201, 3 credits): This course provides students with a philosophical study of key figures, theories, and intellectual traditions that contribute to understanding the human condition; the meaning and dignity of human life; and the human relationship to ultimate reality.
  • Christianity and Catholic Traditions (RELI, 3 credits). Religious Studies core courses approved for this requirement explore diverse topics including Christian scriptures, history, theology, and practices as well as major contributions from the Catholic intellectual and theological traditions (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses) .

Year 3 Theme and Question: Caring and Doing: What principles characterize a well lived life?

  • Ethics (PHIL 301 or RELI, 3 credits): The Ethics courses are designed to help students develop their moral imagination by exploring and explaining the reasons humans should care about the needs and interests of others. This requirement is satisfied by an approved ethics course in either Philosophy (PHIL 301) or Religious Studies (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
  • World/Comparative Religion (RELI, 3 credits): Religious Studies courses approved for this core requirement draw attention to the diversity that exists within and among traditions and encourage students to bring critical, analytical thinking to bear on the traditions and questions considered. These courses carries one of the required two global-studies designations (see below) (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).

Year 4 Theme and Question: Imagining the Possible: What is our role in the world?” 

  • Core Integration Seminar (DEPT 432, 3 credits). The Core Integration Seminar (CIS) offers students a culminating core experience in which they integrate the principles of Jesuit education, prior components of the core, and their disciplinary expertise. Some CIS courses may also count toward a student’s major or minor. The CIS is offered by several departments across the University (click here [PDF] for list of CIS courses).

The Broadening Courses

  • Fine Arts & Design (VART, MUSC, THEA, 3 credits): Arts courses explore multiple ways the human experience can be expressed through creativity, including across different cultures and societies. One approved course in fine arts, music, theatre, or dance will fulfill this requirement (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
  • History (HIST, 3 credits): History courses are intended to develop students’ awareness of the historical context of both the individual and the collective human experience. One course in History (HIST 101, HIST 102, HIST 112, HIST 201, HIST 202) will fulfill this requirement.
  • Literature (3 credits): Literature courses foster reflection on how literature engages with a range of human experience. One approved course in Literature (offered by English, Classics, or Modern Languages) will fulfill this requirement (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences (3 credits): Courses in the social and behavioral sciences engage students in studying human behavior, social systems, and social issues. One approved course offered by Criminal Justice, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, or Women and Gender Studies will fulfill this requirement (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).

The Designations
Designations are embedded within already existing core, major, minor, and elective courses. Students are encouraged to meet designation requirements within elective courses as their schedule allows; however, with careful planning students should be able to complete most of the designation requirements within other core, major, or minor courses.

  • Writing Enriched (WE; 3 courses meeting this designation): Courses carrying the WE designation are designed to promote the humanistic and Jesuit pedagogical ideal of clear, effective communication. In addition to the required core course, Writing (ENGL 101), which carries one of the WE designations, students must take two other WE-designated courses (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
  • Global-Studies (GS; 2 courses meeting this designation): Courses carrying the GS designation are designed to challenge students to perceive and understand human diversity by exploring diversity within a context of constantly changing global systems. In addition to the required core course, World/Comparative Religion (RELI 300-level), which carries one of the GS designations, students must take one other GS-designated course (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
  • Social-Justice (SJ; 1 course meeting this designation): Courses carrying the SJ designation are designed to introduce students to one or more social justice concerns. Students must take one course that meets the SJ designation (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).

Major-specific adaptations to the University Core Curriculum

All Gonzaga students, regardless of their major, will complete the University Core Curriculum requirements. However some Gonzaga students will satisfy certain core requirements through major-specific programs or courses. Any major-specific adaptations to the core are described with the requirements for the majors to which they apply.