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Engineering in the Liberal Arts
Wellesley College is a liberal arts institution that offers Bachelors of Arts degrees. Engineering is not a major that is offered at Wellesley. Within the context of a Wellesley liberal arts education there are a number of options available to students who wish to pursue an interest in engineering.
As a starting point, all students interested in studying engineering should consider taking Wellesley's EXTD 160 Fundamentals of Engineering or EXTD 120 Making a Difference Through Engineering. EXTD 160 is a project-based course that teaches the fundamental principles that apply to many fields of engineering. In addition to the concepts taught in class, the course has an associated seminar series in which visiting engineers discuss their work and careers, affording students the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the fields of engineering and their interest in engineering. EXTD 120 provides an overview of engineering methods and gives students the opportunity to use those approaches to work on real problems for under-served communities locally and abroad. The theme in the Spring 2013 offering will be energy.
Beyond these two courses, there is a range of options available to the student interested in studying engineering within the liberal arts context: cross-registration with MIT and/or Olin, the Bernard M. Gordon MIT Engineering Leadership Program, the sustainability certificate program offered by Wellesley, Babson and Olin Colleges, the Olin certificate in engineering studies program, the double degree program with Olin, and the double-degree program with MIT. Each program is distinct in its characteristics and may provide different advantages to different students, depending on a student's individual academic interests and needs. Interested students are encouraged to explore each of these options carefully. Some general remarks about these programs, including links for further information, follow.
Cross-Registration with MIT or Olin
The existing exchange program permits cross registration throughout a student's time at Wellesley. With assistance from her advisor and Class Dean Jennifer Stephan, a student can craft a coherent package of courses at MIT or Olin to complement her science or mathematics Wellesley degree. The registrar's office provides information on the process of cross-registration at MIT and cross-registration at Olin. Any Wellesley College student may pursue this opportunity and it provides significant flexibility in terms of academic focus and scheduling.
Some courses of particular interest to Wellesley students include:
- MIT: Dlab courses
- Olin: Computing and Craft
- Olin: Engineering and Humanity
- Olin: User-Oriented Collaborative Design
The Bernard M. Gordon MIT Engineering Leadership Program
The Bernard M. Gordon MIT Engineering Leadership (GEL) Program provides more structure than a program devised through cross-registration alone. The program prepares students to be future leaders of engineering innovation, invention, and implementation efforts. A student who completes the program will receive a Wellesley College liberal arts degree and a certificate of completion of the GEL program from MIT. The program offers 1- and 2-year tracks and consists of coursework during the junior and/or senior years. Students must apply to the program during the spring of the sophomore or junior year.
The Wellesley-Babson-Olin Sustainability Certificate Program
Another program providing more structure than a program devised through cross-registration alone is the sustainability certificate program offered by Wellesley, Babson and Olin Colleges. A student who completes the program will earn a Wellesley College degree and a Sustainability Certificate from the three colleges after her four years of study. Six courses are required to complete the program. Two courses, an introductory course and a synthesis course, are specific to the program and team-taught by three faculty members, one from each institution. The other four courses will be elective courses drawn from the existing course catalogs of the three institutions, and students must take at least one elective at each of the three campuses. As designed, this program involves engagement with the liberal arts, business and engineering disciplines, all to varying degrees depending on an individual student's interests. It is open to all students.
The Olin Certificate Program
The certificate in engineering studies at Olin College also provides more structure than a program devised through cross-registration alone. A student who completes the program will earn a Wellesley College liberal arts degree and a Certificate in Engineering Studies from Olin College after her four years of study. The certificate program offers six areas of concentration: engineering design, materials engineering, bioengineering, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and engineering systems. Each area requires students to select a set of five Olin courses. The program offers flexibility to students in terms of scheduling, course selection, and academic content. It is open to all students. Note - EXTD 160 Introduction to Engineering is approved as a gateway course for all of the engineering certificates offered by Olin College.
The Double-Degree Program with Olin
The Olin-Wellesley 4+1 Program enables a Wellesley student to obtain a second bachelor's degree from Olin College through a fifth year of study subsequent to the successful completion of an Olin Certificate. Students enrolled in the 4+1 program begin their engineering study at Olin while they are enrolled at Wellesley; by the time they complete their Wellesley liberal arts degrees, 4+1 students have typically completed all of the Olin math and science prerequisites as well as at least five engineering courses towards their Olin degree. In their fifth year, 4+1 students enroll at Olin College and spend both semesters in residence there, completing requirements as well as the senior capstone project.
The Double-Degree Program with MIT
The MIT-Wellesley double-degree program enables a Wellesley student who is accepted to the program to earn a B.A. degree from Wellesley and an S.B. degree from MIT over the course of five years. A double-degree candidate must fulfill the requirements for a major at both institutions. Students must apply to the program during the spring of their sophomore year and admission to the program is highly selective. Of the different options available to students interested in engineering, this requires the most commitment and affords the least flexibility in terms of scheduling and course selection.
Students interested in studying engineering at Wellesley within the liberal arts context should:
- schedule a meeting with Class Dean Jennifer Stephan and with Professor Ted Ducas (Physics Department), Professor Robbie Berg (Physics Department), Professor Franklyn Turbak (CS Department), or Professor Amy Banzaert to explore and understand the available options
- consider taking EXTD 160 Introduction to Engineering or EXTD 120 Making a Difference through Engineering
- take appropriate math and science courses each semester (at Wellesley and also MIT and/or Olin)
For further information, contact:
Class Dean Jennifer Stephan at Wellesley, 781-283-2325, firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Ted Ducas at Wellesley, 781-283-3047, email@example.com
Professor Robbie Berg at Wellesley, 781-283-3110, firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Professor Franklyn Turbak at Wellesley, 781-283-3049, email@example.com
Visiting Lecturer Amy Banzaert at Wellesley, 781-283-3756, firstname.lastname@example.org