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Columbia 3+2 Program Benefits?

CC AdminCC Admin 29516 replies2985 threadsAdministrator Senior Member
This discussion was created from comments split from: Engineering as Undergrad major versus Grad degree?.
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Replies to: Columbia 3+2 Program Benefits?

  • Happy4uHappy4u 208 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I am curious what people's thoughts are on the Columbia 3+2 program offered by many LACs. Is there any benefit to have two undergrad degrees as opposed to getting a MA?
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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 33066 replies3745 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Many students who start out intending to go through a 3+2 program do not follow through because they don't want to leave their friends or they rethink their goals.
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  • akin67akin67 179 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My son is pursuing the dual degree engineering program between Hamilton College and Dartmouth College and he loves it. I believe the Columbia program used to be guaranteed admission, provided the student meets many specific requirements, but from what I have heard they have also switched to competitive admissions. The primary benefit of this program is that it prepares more well rounded students. If the student pursued an engineering degree directly, due to the significant number of math and science prerequisites the student is limited in how many electives/liberal arts courses they can take. By pursuing this program my son was able to broaden his horizons, take more discussion based courses and learn to communicate better. The biggest drawbacks are an additional year of education before they can begin earning money and additional cost of an extra year of college. You have to weigh whether the benefits outweigh the costs for you and your student.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77680 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    https://undergrad.admissions.columbia.edu/apply/combined-plan has the information.

    Note that there is no longer a guaranteed admission option for students starting college in fall 2019 or later; all 3+2 transfer admission is competitive.

    Also, Columbia says that "We do not guarantee that we can meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students" (emphasis added) in the 3+2 program, unlike for frosh and other transfers. In addition, a 3+2 program has an extra year of costs to begin with.

    There may be other restrictions based on the "3" school, since some "3" schools restrict the major there, while others allow any major as long as the pre-engineering requirements are completed.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6953 replies48 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think for students who are sure they want to pursue engineering a traditional program is safer option. There are plenty of liberal arts colleges that are ABET accredited where students are needing to take a number of liberal arts courses to graduate. Personally I would take the extra year and get the MA.
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  • Engineer80Engineer80 452 replies0 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited March 5
    I am not a big fan of 3+2 programs. All ABET accredited engineering schools require a substantial liberal arts/general education component. While of course engineering requires many prerequisite courses (as would any "first professional" program in most fields) most schools require humanities/liberal arts/non-technical courses in each semester. Keep in mind that the math, physics, chemistry, and basic foundation science courses required in engineering are also part of liberal arts. As the other posters have stated, in the case of the Columbia program, admission to the "2" school isn't guaranteed, and they do not guarantee that the student's full financial need will be met. If one is certain that he/she wants to be an engineer, one is better served by starting out in engineering from the beginning in a four year school.

    @Happy4u - the comparison of two bachelor's degrees (in a 3-2) program as opposed to an undergraduate and MA degree is somewhat of an apples to oranges comparison. If one wants to be an engineer, one really needs an undergraduate engineering degree. A liberal arts undergraduate and a liberal arts or non-engineering graduate (if that's what you had in mind with regard to the MA) isn't going to qualify one as an engineer. If your intent is to go to graduate school for engineering, many engineering schools require applicants to have an undergraduate degree in engineering. If one desires to enter an engineering field (such as civil or environmental engineering for example) in which PE licensure is required, most state engineering boards require holding an ABET accredited undergraduate engineering degree to sit for the exam (some states will accept an ABET accredited master's degree - but few are ABET accredited since ABET mostly is concerned with undergraduate accreditation - to sit for the exam). A master's degree in engineering however isn't a substitute for a bachelor's degree in engineering, since it is usually specialized in a particular engineering subspecialty and doesn't contain the fundamental science, non-discipline specific foundational engineering coursework, and capstone design courses that an undergraduate program would provide.
    edited March 5
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22636 replies15 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    All ABET accredited engineering schools require a substantial liberal arts/general education component.

    I think about 15 credits are required, with 2 courses in writing and one in humanities. I think a lot of students get at least some of the requirements met with AP classes. Substantial?
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