Kate Hull and a Lego robot.
Program Overview

Engineering, 3-2

Pursue applied science within the liberal arts.

Kate Hull ’18 spent winter term with professor Patrick Simen building a Lego robot and teaching aid.
Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko

Devise Solutions to Real World Problems

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 offers students the requisite grounding in science and mathematics, as well as the creativity, effectiveness in communication, and sensitivity to real-world problems that are hallmarks of successful engineers. 

A Flexible Five-Year Combination

Obelrin’s Engineering majors pursue studies in the liberal arts, including mathematics and sciences, during three years at Oberlin. They later complete an accredited schedule of engineering courses during two years at an affiliated engineering school. Oberlin’s partner schools are California Institute of Technology (Caltech; Pasadena), Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland), Columbia University (New York), and Washington University (St. Louis). In some cases, students can begin their engineering training as juniors, when many of their Oberlin peers study away, allowing them to return senior year and graduate with their class.

Combine your time at Oberlin with two years at one of four partner institutions Caltech, Case Western, Wash U., and Columbia

Pathways in Science and Technology

Oberlin’s Career Communities provides structured opportunities for students to pursue their postgraduate career plans, placing interested students at a range of organizations from the Environmental Protection Agency to Medtronic and Google.

A professor working with a student in the lab.
$40,000 EACH YEAR OBERLIN’S LAUNCH U COMPETITION INVITES TEAMS TO PITCH FOR STARTUP FUNDING. IN 2019, THE THREE TOP VENTURES WERE AWARDED A TOTAL OF
Learn more about LaunchU

STEM in Color

Oberlin’s STRONG program (Science and Technology Research Opportunities for a New Generation) represents the college’s ongoing commitment to increasing the diversity of the STEM workforce.

Four Black scientists at the STEM in Color event.

Featured Courses

CHEM 101

Structure and Reactivity

This entry-level course introduces students to the foundational study of reactions, chemical periodicity, bonding, molecular structure, and other questions central to the field of chemistry. Students have the option to join sections that are taught in workshop mode, emphasizing collaborative problem solving and peer discussion.

Taught by
Matthew (Matt) Elrod
PHYS 111

Electricity, Magnetism and Thermodynamics

This is the second course in the three-semester calculus-based introductory sequence. Topics include electric and magnetic fields, electric and magnetic properties of matter, direct and alternating current circuits, electromagnetic phenomena, thermodynamics and kinetic theory.

Taught by
John Scofield, Dan Styer
CSCI 150

Introduction to Computer Science

Learn the basics of Computer Science and coding in this course. Interactive class discussion and weekly coding labs will teach you everything you need to know to write programs to process data, draw pictures, play games, or make music.

Taught by
Sam Taggart
MATH 234

Differential Equations

An introduction to analytic, qualitative and numerical methods for solving ordinary differential equations. Topics include general first order equations, linear first and second order equations, numerical methods (Euler, Runge-Kutta), systems of first order equations, phase plane analysis, and Laplace Transforms. There is emphasis throughout the course on geometric and qualitative interpretations of differential equations, as well as applications to the natural sciences.

Taught by
Jim Walsh

Student Profiles

Mixing Art and Engineering

Enrico Milletti ’19, a visual arts major in the 3-2 Engineering program, was selected for the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts. “I am interested in mechanical engineering because it is very hands-on and concerned with design thinking, just like my current work in studio art,” says Milletti.

Enrico Milletti.

Tracking Energy Use

Cole Hershkowitz ’11, began working with energy monitoring systems while at Caltech, where he went as part of Oberlin’s 3-2 engineering program. He since became the cofounder of Chai Energy, an app that tracks energy use in homes in real time, and winner of Oberlin's LaunchU competition.

Cole Hershkowitz.

Lemelson-MIT Prizewinner

Jay Whitacre ’94, entrepreneur, inventor, and professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering, received the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for the Aqueous Hybrid Ion battery, which has the potential to revolutionize the way sustainable energy is stored.

Jay Whitacre.

Next Steps

Get in touch; we would love to chat.


Students studying in the Science Center atrium at night.
Photo credit: Williams Rieter