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Good engineering curriculum with room for electives?

spicyhotspicyhot Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
So I am strongly considering engineering undergrad because I think I'll probably end up being an engineer, but I'm also a language nerd and I want to be able to take lots of language classes in college. All the engineering curricula I've seen have near-zero room for free electives. Does anyone know of any way, or place, I can major in engineering and still have room for free electives? If I can't do this I'll resort to majoring in physics or something, and try to get to engineering grad school with my bachelor's in physics.
Post edited by spicyhot on

Replies to: Good engineering curriculum with room for electives?

  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 Registered User Posts: 6,557 Senior Member
    What type of engineering are you interested in?
  • spicyhotspicyhot Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    biomedical, maybe mechanical. sorry for not specifying :)
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,077 Forum Champion
    Do you have lots of AP credits? If so, then look at schools that will give you LOTS of credit for your AP classes. My Chem Eng'g son has been able to take a number of foreign language classes in Spanish and Italian because he had a lot of AP credits. If he hadn't, then he probably wouldn't have had the "space" in his schedule.

    Will you be pre-med? My son is also pre-med and has finished all the pre-med pre-reqs as well. Most were already req'd as a ChemE student.
  • spicyhotspicyhot Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    I am in IB, so I will have some credits beforehand but only for my HL's (physics and bio I will probably get the required scores for credit). I don't expect to get many free credits by placing out of classes, although some schools do give a large sum of credit for anyone with an IB diploma (which I expect to get), though I'm not sure how these "free credits" will carry over to engineering :p
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 22,662 Forum Champion
    The credits you have from HS can be applied to some core requirements of a college and thus free you up to take additional electives. This will vary from school to school so you need to do some research to see if this would be the case at specific schools you are interested in.
  • PeppinoPeppino Registered User Posts: 316 Member
    In most colleges where you graduate with a degree in engineering, you need to have a certain amount of "other classes." For example, here is Cornell's degree requirements:


    As you can see, there's quite a number of engineering-related courses that you must take, obviously. There is also a requirement that you take at least 6 Liberal Studies courses (which can be a language) and 2 other electives. Point is, wherever you go, there is room for more
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 71,668 Senior Member
    IB HL exams in math, biology, and English are often allowed for fulfilling subject requirements and/or placing into more advanced courses, but IB HL physics and IB SL anything (except possibly foreign languages) typically are not. IB HL in various humanities and social studies subjects may fulfill some humanities and social studies breadth requirements.

    Additional free elective credits are not of very much use unless you somehow come up slightly short of the credit unit count after eight semesters. This is unlikely for engineering majors at many schools, since the major requirements plus the humanities and social studies breadth requirements often add up to as many or more than the minimum number of credit units to graduate (e.g. the school requires 120 credit units to graduate, while the engineering major requires 120-130 credit units for the major and breadth requirements combined).
  • bruno123bruno123 Registered User Posts: 1,390 Senior Member
    Free electives are increasingly more common in engineering curricula. MIT's EECS degree for example allows you to take up to 4 free electives in addition to the 8 required humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS) classes. CMU's ECE degree allows you to take up to 6 free electives plus also 8 required HASS courses.
  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 Registered User Posts: 6,557 Senior Member
    You might look instead at Medical Physics, or Biophysics, which are likely to be 5 or 6 year Master's programs.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,077 Forum Champion
    Although many/most engineering programs have reduced Core/Gen Ed requirements, they usually still require about 25+ credits.... Freshman Comp I and II (or similar name), and choices within Humanities, History, Literature, Fine Arts, Math, Natural Science, etc. If you have the IB credits for those classes, then you'll have space in your schedule for your electives.
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