The word engine appeared in the 2nd century to refer to machines or devices, and the people handling them were popularly known as engineers. One of their duties was the creation of means and instruments to make human work easier.
The first nation in the world to organize Schools of Engineering was France. In the 18th century, while in England all efforts were devoted to technical invention and commercial and business promotion, France, a more centralized nation, organized engineers in rigidly structured bodies. Those bodies would be the basis for the first schools.
In Spain, the origin of academic training in Industrial Engineering can be traced back to the Royal Conservatory of Arts (Real Conservatorio de las Artes), founded in Madrid in 1824, which taught Mechanics, Chemistry and Draftsmanship.
In Vigo, the School of Arts and Industries (Escuela de Artes e Industrias) was created by a Royal Decree signed by Queen Regent María Cristina on 25 January 1901. The first instance of industrial studies in Vigo, however, dates back to 1886, when the School of Arts and Crafts (Escuela de Artes y Oficios) was founded.
The city’s desire to make its teaching institutions meet the demands of its industrial development led to the so-called “Plan for the Industrial University of Vigo” (“Proyecto De Universidad Industrial de Vigo”). It was drawn up in 1930 to erect the building in Torrecedeira Street, in the modernist style, according to a design by the architect D. Jenaro de la Fuente. The building works were commissioned in June 1931 and began in August. However, the Spanish Civil War kept the School closed from 1936 to 1939, and it wasn’t until the academic year 1943/1944, after some changes to the initial design, when it was finally set up in the current building of the City Facilities.
It became part of the University of Santiago in 1972, under the name of University School of Industrial Technical Egineering (Escuela Universitaria de Ingeniería Técnica Industrial, E.U.I.T.I.). The oldest teaching institution of its kind in Galicia, it was a pioneer in and a driving force behind Technical Education.
The Degree in Industrial Engineering took off in 1976 in some prefabricated buildings located on the grounds of the E.U.I.T.I. Starting in the 1983/1984 academic year, classes began to be taught in the new building of the old Higher Technical School of Industrial Engineers (Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales, E.T.S.I.I.), built by the Pedro Barrié de la Maza Foundation.
On 28 March 2001, the E.U.I.T.I. received the City of Vigo Gold Medal Award and on 25 July of the same year, the Galicia Silver Medal Award, to mark its centenary. In 2006, the E.T.S.I.I. was honored by the Vigo City Council with the “Distinguished Institution Award” (Viguesa Distinguida).
On 1 October 2009 (EUETI) and 14 October 2009 (ETSEI), both Schools passed in their respective permanent committees a proposal to study the process of convergence into a single institution, in order to improve and integrate the management of teaching activities in the Degrees that would be introduced in the 2010-2011 academic year. The merger culminated on 14 February 2011 with the publication in the official government gazette (Diario Oficial de Galicia) of a decree signed by the president of the regional government of Galicia (Xunta de Galicia) creating the present-day School of Industrial Engineering of the University of Vigo (Escuela de Ingeniería Industrial de la Universidad de Vigo).
The structure of the branch of Industrial Engineering before Bologna was composed of the degrees in Industrial Technical Engineering and Industrial Engineering. The Industrial Technical Engineering Degree consisted of three academic years plus the Final Year Project and its aim was to produce a fully qualified technician in one of the branches of knowledge (Automation and Electronics, Mechanics, Electricity or Industrial Chemistry). On the other hand, Industrial Engineering consisted of five academic years plus the Final Year Project. After an initial period of basic scientific and technical training, students did a second specialization period, whose aim was to produce qualified technicians in all the branches of Engineering, capable of innovating, developing new products and doing research.
In order to adapt to the European Higher Education Area, the structure of all higher education degrees was reviewed in depth and a single European model was adopted, consisting in a Bachelor’s Degree (240 ECTS credits) and a Master’s Degree (from 60 to 120 ECTS credits). As a result of this new structure, the Bachelor’s Degree now comprises 4 academic years (including the Final Degree Project) and aims to produce qualified professionals in their branch of knowledge and, in the case of the branches mentioned above, with the professional attributes of an Industrial Technical Engineer. All graduates within the branch of Industrial Engineering also have the apportunity to access the Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering, which will serve to complete their training and provide them with full professional attributions in all branches (equivalent to Industrial Engineering).