Whereas pure scientists seek to understand phenomena and to gain
new insights, practicing engineers devise solutions to real-world
problems within an array of constraints, ranging from laws and ethics
to costs and environmental impacts. As indicated by the etymology
of engineer, engineers need to be ingenious in their design of solutions.
The 3-2 Engineering Program is designed to develop within students
not just the requisite grounding in science and mathematics, but
also the creativity, effectiveness in communication, and sensitivity
to real-world problems that are hallmarks of successful engineers.
In the program, students pursue studies in the liberal arts, including
mathematics and sciences, during three years at Oberlin and then
complete an accredited schedule of engineering courses during two
years at an affiliated engineering school. At the end of five years,
students receive two degrees: a Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin and
a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the engineering school.
The latter degree allows recipients to sit for the professional licensing
examination for engineers. Oberlin's partners for the 3-2 program
are Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland), the California Institute
of Technology (Caltech; Pasadena, California), and Washington University
(St. Louis); a partnership with Columbia University (New York) is
To ensure fulfillment of entry requirements at partner engineering
schools, students are encouraged to discuss their interest in the
program as early as possible with Oberlin's engineering advisor,
Taylor Allen (Biology Department), who is trained as a biomedical
engineer (specialization in chemical engineering).
Advanced Placement. AP credit for the courses listed under
Major, below, may be granted by the individual departments. See relevant
departments in this catalog.
Entry-Level Course Sequence Suggestions. It is suggested that
first-year students interested in engineering take a mathematics
course (MATH 133, 134, 231, or 234), as well as either chemistry
or physics during their first year at Oberlin.
Major. A student may declare 3-2 Engineering as her or his
major at Oberlin and take a schedule including the courses listed
below. To be accepted by the engineering school, a student normally
must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or greater. If a student
does not proceed to an engineering school, she or he must satisfy
the requirements for some other major at Oberlin.
The recommendations of the partner engineering schools differ slightly;
however, it is generally required that a 3-2 engineering student
take the following courses at Oberlin:
101 Structure and Reactivity
102 Chemical Principles
For qualified students, the above two courses may be replaced by:
103 Topics in General Chemistry
Computer Science (CSCI)
150 Principles of Computer Science
133 Calculus I
134 Calculus II
231 Multivariable Calculus
234 Differential Equations
Physics and Astronomy (PHYS) (ASTR)
110 Mechanics and Relativity
111 Electricity, Magnetism, and Thermodynamics
212 Modern Physics
Additional courses are recommended and should be selected in consultation
with the engineering advisor, Professor Allen.
Minor. There is no minor in engineering.
Graduation Requirements. Graduation Requirements. Because
students in this program spend only three years at Oberlin, they
must satisfy modified general requirements for the Oberlin degree:
1. -At least 84 credit hours, no more than 63 hours of which may
be in a single division and no more than 42 hours of which may be
in a single department or program.
2. Two Winter Term credits.
3. -At least four semesters in residence at Oberlin or on Oberlin
College programs, completing not less than 56 hours of College work.
Ordinarily, the last 12 Oberlin credit hours must be taken while
4. -The following general requirements are more completely specified
in the section "Requirements for Graduation" in this
a. Writing proficiency;
b. Quantitative proficiency;
c. Nine credit hours in each of the three divisions of the College;
d. -Nine credit hours in courses from at least two different departments or programs,
and dealing mainly with cultural diversity.
Honors. There is no Honors Program in engineering.
Other Programs. Students interested in engineering may spend
four years at Oberlin, major in an appropriate natural science or
in mathematics, and then work toward a Bachelor of Science in Engineering
degree or an advanced degree at an engineering school. Please note
that generally it is the BSE degree, not an advanced degree, that
is needed for one to become a licensed professional engineer.
Winter Term. Students may arrange engineering internships
with companies during January. In addition, Washington University
offers intensive courses in several engineering fields during January,
and one of these may be taken for Oberlin Winter Term credit.