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Harvard Engineering


Replies to: Harvard Engineering

  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 38,234 Super Moderator
    To rephrase my earlier note, the OP's question is "how hard to be accepted?" so the answers should bear some relation to the question. Let's not debate unrelated issues, particularly with users what have a "Banned" banner across the avatar.
  • lostaccountlostaccount Registered User Posts: 4,640 Senior Member
    There was a recent infusion of a lot of money into Harvard's engineering program. Until recently they didn't perceived the importance of engineering (like...using their hands) for the leisure class they used to educate.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,076 Senior Member
    edited October 16
    Gourmetmom wrote:
    Important to note that engineering majors at Harvard still have to take all of the core classes, so they are left with very few electives. This is very different than the curricula at technical schools, and is a double edged sword - Harvard graduates highly competent engineers who also have a liberal education, but it really limits the course offerings for students - my son was not able to take all of the classes he wanted in just four years.

    Some "technical schools" do have rather heavy general education requirements. For example, MIT requires at least 8 humanities, arts, and social studies courses, which is more than the 6 that Harvard requires (either old or new requirements):


    In terms of "how hard to be accepted?", Harvard (and MIT) should generally be considered reach schools at the minimum for anyone who needs to ask this question. It does not appear that Harvard formally admits frosh by major. Although a few majors (VES and economics, which have grade or GPA requirements higher than C or 2.0 to declare) may be capacity-limited at major declaration time, engineering does not appear to be (no grade or GPA requirements to declare).
  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer Registered User Posts: 643 Member
    In support of "ucbalumnus's" observation, the distribution requirements in many STEM universities are not as narrow as is often assumed by the non-ABET world . ABET has loosened the chains a great deal over the past few decades. Due to a credit system which does not speak in the traditional semester hour language, the workload in WPI's distribution requirements are lost in translation.

    WPI program translation:
    The regular year is broken into four quarters where each quarter carries a workload of 9 semester hours for a total of 36 semester hours every year. Six courses (each three semester hours of work) are required in the humanities/arts for all STEM majors. In addition Prof. Douglas Woods (MIT trained economist) made sure that 6 semester hours of the social sciences were also required. This means all STEM majors must spend 18 semester hours in the humanities and another 6 semester hours in the social sciences. Both the humanities and the social science courses are selected by the student to fit into research work which actually utilizes the course background to complete required "project" work. Both the faculty and the student are aware that classroom material is likely to be utilized in the near future as courses were selected with specific goals in mind. Each major has a "tracking" sheet (and advisors) to assist the student to plan their studies so they actually see a more direct relationship to an experiential goal. Students actually know why they are taking courses beyond some more abstract, authoritarian concept of a broad credit distribution.

    The above breadth of the above translation could not be accomplished if it were not for the four year credit hour overload.

    When one works this hard to accomplish these broad educational goals, it is discouraging to encounter criticism about the engineers' narrow education from those who are not aware of how some of these STEM programs now operate. This is not 1890!

    Let's hear it for a broad "liberal" education and stop assuming that STEM universities are not on the case and that they do not identify with like educational goals and needs.

    If there are any LA readers, are any of you still speaking classical Greek?

  • IncorE206IncorE206 Registered User Posts: 51 Junior Member
    ABET has loosened the chains a great deal over the past few decades.

    About time!! Otherwise, they are going to get eliminated. Reputable schools like Stanford University are dropping their ABET accreditations.

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