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Tufts engineering vs. Harvey Mudd

stemfreundstemfreund 0 replies1 threads New Member
Trying to decide between Harvey Mudd College and Tufts Engineering. Visited both. Very different schools and campuses, obviously. Definitely want to major in STEM field, not sure which one. HMC has rockstar undergrad curriculum in all things STEM. But the intensity and stories about people having zero time to do things other than school work are a negative. Tufts maybe a less rigorous curriculum, but also more time to explore outside interests? Welcome any thoughts!
edited June 26
21 replies
Post edited by CCEdit_Suraj on
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Replies to: Tufts engineering vs. Harvey Mudd

  • envisciguyenvisciguy 15 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Hey, congrats on these two schools! I'm at Tufts, and while I'm not enrolled in the school of engineering, I've taken more than a couple engineering classes to supplement my major. I also toured Harvey Mudd, and let me tell you, I will never be stepping foot onto that campus ever again. Half of the tour was spent exploring the undeground classrooms of the campus that had no windows or natural light.

    Nonetheless, Harvey Mudd is probably top three in the cournty for undergraduate engineering, which also makes it insanely rigorous. One of my friends who is an engineer at Tufts is double majoring in a different STEM discipline. Another is also learning Italian. Yet another took some arts and sciences courses with me, and I know many more that are heavily involved in the Tufts community. Don't get me wrong -- engineering at Tufts is not a walk in the park, as the average GPA hovers around 3.0-3.2. Nonetheless, also worth noting is that there is a net zero attrition rate for the school, meaning that the engineering school gets more transfers into it from arts and sciences than out of it. Also, more acceptees to the engineering school this year were female than were male, which is great to hear. The school is just about 50-50 men-women, if I remember correctly. The Science and Engineering Complex is also new and state-of-the-art, which is an added bonus.

    To sum it up, your instincts seem correct -- you'll have time to do a lot more exploring at Tufts. Plus, Boston is your backyard. Chances are you'll be stuck on campus grinding 24/7 if you go to Harvey Mudd. Just my thoughts, though -- take them with a grain of salt!
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10211 replies119 threads Senior Member
    Engineering is going to be tough anywhere but it’s a misconception that students have no time for fun.

    Mudd for engineering is a no brainer.
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  • maglor1maglor1 178 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Tufts is a great school, and so is Harvey Mudd. Is Harvey Mudd more prestigious for undergrad engineering? Most probably. But Harvey Mudd is very self-selecting: it draws kids who really want to grind and who absolutely love engineering perhaps over all else. I'm a pretty big believer that when you're talking about top colleges - fit matters a lot more than most things - better to be happy at #27 than be less happy at #8, or whatever. Your gut tells me that you'd prefer the environment at Tufts (no joke of course, don't get me wrong), than you would the absolute monster of an intense environment at HMC. From what I've seen, kids who thrive at HMC are the ones who wish that they could do more engineering at HMC (a bit exaggerated, but you get my point). I think perhaps Tufts would be better for you if you wish to pursue non-STEM interests.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83477 replies741 threads Senior Member
    Engineering is going to be tough anywhere but it’s a misconception that students have no time for fun.

    Mudd for engineering is a no brainer.

    But note that Harvey Mudd is extra rigorous compared to most colleges, with a voluminous math and science core curriculum and extensive humanities, social studies, and arts requirements:
    https://www.hmc.edu/academics/common-core-curriculum/
    https://www.hmc.edu/hsa/curriculum/graduation-requirements/
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  • havenoideahavenoidea 379 replies17 threads Member
    Will you be able to explore varios STEM disciplines at tufts engineering? I know most engineering programs have strict course requirements from day 1. A benefit of HMC is that you don’t pick your major right away; the first yr curriculum has you taking courses in a variety of STEM disciplines. (You said you’re interested in STEM, but unsure of what).

    Yes, HMC is known to be a lot of work. But, on our tour, we met kids on the soccer team, kids in some kind of game board club, and lots of video gamers. So, it’s not like they have no time at all. Plus, outcomes from HMC are incredible.

    But, you need to go where you feel you fit best.
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  • eyemgheyemgh 5785 replies124 threads Senior Member
    Mudd for engineering is NOT a no brainer. One must be appropriately prepared for that environment. It is not for everyone. It's a very small, intense school that would not be considered a "typical college experience." They have very few engineering majors. Thus they have very good breadth but not significant depth. That may be one reason such a large number of their grads do post-secondary work. They produce good engineers, but it is a niche fit. Go where your gut tells you to go, work hard and you'll be fine.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83477 replies741 threads Senior Member
    eyemgh wrote: »
    Mudd [...] They have very few engineering majors.

    Perhaps in absolute numbers (83 in a recent class), but in percentage terms quite high (83 out of 211 in a recent class is 39%).

    https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=mudd&s=all&id=115409#programs
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  • simba9simba9 3372 replies20 threads Senior Member
    I'd go with Mudd.
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  • eyemgheyemgh 5785 replies124 threads Senior Member
    edited April 26
    I could almost guarantee that none of the people recommending Mudd as a "no brainer" have set foot on campus or know any graduates.

    My son lives with a HMC grad. He is a big fan.

    It is a VERY niche school though. For that reason, my son did not apply (nor did he apply to Olin for that matter, also a very niche school) despite having the qualifications to be very competitive. He graduated Magna Cum Laude ME from a program known to be notoriously difficult (the number #2 USNWR ME program at schools like HMC that don't offer doctoral degrees if you care about that stuff). Like Mudd they graduate an engineering 4.0 about once a decade. He did a fully funded thesis based MS and graduated with distinction, the highest honors his university awards for graduate students, so passing on Mudd was not for lack of horsepower or drive. I couldn't coax him into displaying ANY interest. He had ZERO attraction to HMC.

    You have to be comfortable going to a school that is smaller than most high schools that only offers 6 majors, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Math and Physics. It is a very good school for the right student. Be prepared to not have a typical college experience though. Be prepared to live and breathe your major and then rarely, party hard, if you're into that. It is absolutely not a no brainer for everyone.

    I can state two things unequivocally, it is a grind and you do not have to endure a grind school to become a fabulous engineer. Engineering is hard everywhere. The grind aspect is simply a function of overburdening students with volume. It's not a matter of whether you can handle the grind. They don't let students in that don't have the capacity. It's a matter of whether or not you want to subject yourself electively to 4 years of that.

    My son on the other hand liked Tufts a lot. Everyone seemed very happy there. It just didn't meet some of the other criteria he was looking for. One of his HS classmates went there for BME and quite enjoyed it.

    @ucbalumnus, I was speaking in terms of ABET accredited majors offered. HMC offers one...General Engineering.
    edited April 26
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 2449 replies37 threads Senior Member
    eyemgh wrote: »
    I could almost guarantee that none of the people recommending Mudd as a "no brainer" have set foot on campus or know any graduates.
    I'm not sure what you base your "guarantee" on. I know many Mudd grads from decades ago and some recent ones. I also visited HMC with my S twice when he was applying to colleges. He never applied but he probably would have if he hadn't received his EA acceptances elsewhere.

    Mudd certainly isn't for everyone. It offers one of the most rigorous programs in STEM (probably second only to Caltech), but very limited specialization within its engineering program. If you want specialization (say mechanical engineering or biomedical engineering) in a bachelor program, Mudd isn't for you. It's an LAC after all.
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  • merc81merc81 11810 replies201 threads Senior Member
    edited April 26
    eyemgh wrote:
    [Mudd has] very few engineering majors. Thus they have very good breadth but not significant depth.

    HMC's curriculum would seem to emphasize depth over breadth, then.
    edited April 26
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  • Miles PerraraMiles Perrara 188 replies0 threads Junior Member
    HMC takes a liberal arts approach to teaching STEM. All of the students go through all of the introductory STEM curricula. With respect to engineering, as a former, but no longer active, CC contributor put it: “at Mudd, they literally teach you *all* of engineering (I was a huge skeptic before [an acquaintance] got [their] engineering degree at Mudd)”. So, the education is intense, and the quality of the education may be a “no brainer”. However, as also indicated, the educational approach and intensity works for a particular subset of students and may not be appealing or appropriate for most. The OP will need to decide if they are in that subset. Most importantly, the education is intense and a “grind”, but the students are NOT. They can, and are encouraged to, engage in their non-curricular interests. It’s always fun to attend alumni reunion occasions and see how a Mudd education has enabled its students.
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  • eyemgheyemgh 5785 replies124 threads Senior Member
    @1NJParent said: "Mudd certainly isn't for everyone."
    That's my point, which de facto makes it not a no brainer. I guess is a brainer then. ;)

    @merc81, No, because as @Miles Perrara pointed out, they teach *all* of engineering. They cannot teach the depth of a dedicated specialty if they have to cover a little bit of all of the specialties.

    Please don't misconstrue my comments. I'm in no way saying that Mudd is a bad school or a poor choice. I'm reacting to the "no brainer" comments. No school is a no brainer outside of financial constraints and a single one being affordable. That applies especially to a school like HMC that is a niche school and VERY different than Tufts. All that matters here is what the OP wants their experience to be like.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83477 replies741 threads Senior Member
    merc81 wrote: »
    eyemgh wrote:
    [Mudd has] very few engineering majors. Thus they have very good breadth but not significant depth.

    HMC's curriculum would seem to emphasize depth over breadth, then.

    https://www.hmc.edu/engineering/curriculum/degree-requirements/ lists HMC's engineering major requirements. Most information at https://www.hmc.edu/engineering/curriculum/faqs/ .

    https://www.hmc.edu/engineering/curriculum/courses/ lists 11 regular engineering core courses. There are also a 3-course project sequence and 3 in-major electives for engineering majors. These can be used by the student to go deeper into a particular engineering specialty, although it would not be as specialized as a typical major like civil, electrical, or mechanical engineering at other schools.

    HMC engineering is best suited for a student who prefers a somewhat interdisciplinary view of engineering and wants an extra rigorous academic experience, including breadth in natural sciences, humanities, social studies, and arts.
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  • Miles PerraraMiles Perrara 188 replies0 threads Junior Member
    While it is a general engineering degree, students take classes in their senior year in their specialty of interest. So, the students are prepared to take on mechanical, civil, electrical, etc. engineering jobs. The biggest problem are companies that screen applications strictly by specialty. That apparently hasn't been a big enough problem to keep engineering majors from getting great jobs. Again, the OP has to decide if they can work with this approach.
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  • Dylancam812Dylancam812 5 replies1 threads New Member
    Yo, I'm a prefrosh as well and I've already committed to Mudd. A big reason why is because I joined their discord and met upperclassmen and fellow prefrosh. Talking to current students really alleviated concerns I had with the school. The rigor was one of the things I was most apprehensive about but they mentioned how in their experience it was largely manageable. There is a huge support system of faculty and peers that help students thrive at the school. I saw some other people talking about how Mudd attracts a smart, motivated student body that's super dedicated to their schoolwork, grinds 24/7, and is crazy intense. In my experience...nah they're pretty chill. I thought I was gonna be the only procrastinator with an absolutely miserable sleep schedule who can't be bothered with school half the time. Turns out I'm not much of an outlier. The kids I've met are definitely smart but they don't have a snobbiness or competitiveness that I've seen elsewhere. They pretty social for an engineering school and people are always open to talk and collaborate. I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing them in the Fall. If you're still deciding and haven't been on the school discord yet I encourage you to check it out.
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  • Dylancam812Dylancam812 5 replies1 threads New Member
    I can't post complete links here for some reason but here is the link broken up: https://discor d.gg/2rDyfT
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  • pumnutpumnut 6 replies1 threads New Member
    My son just completed his sophomore year at HMC and he absolutely loves it. He works hard, but has also made some close friends and has plenty of fun. The professors are absolutely wonderful and the opportunities are limitless.... I couldn't be happier for him! Congratulations on your choice :smile:
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  • WildestDreamWildestDream 454 replies4 threads Member
    Tufts isn't really known for STEM. I would pick Mudd.
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