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Engineering

ShmocloShmoclo 12 replies9 threads New Member
edited February 2010 in Oberlin College
Im really considering going into engineering next year (freshman year) at Oberlin because of how much i like the field and because of oberlins strong science department. Well i stumbled across this Oberlin College Course Catalog This 3 / 2 program pretty much says that youll spend 3 years at oberlin focusing more on the sciences and maths and youll earn your liberal arts degree in 3 years. And then aftert that youll go to one of oberlins partner universities and get your engineering degree in two years. This sounds like a real solid plan if i interpereted it correctly. Also it says that oberlins partner universities are cal tech, washu, and case western, does that mean that assuming that i get good grades i will be able to atttend any one of those fine schools? Like is it easier to get into these universities through this program than it would be if i was just applying to grad school? ALso it says a partnership with columbia is in the works, how long do you think this pending partnership would take because columbia would be my first choice for grad school due to its location and other factors?

thanks
edited February 2010
13 replies
Post edited by Shmoclo on
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Replies to: Engineering

  • ShmocloShmoclo 12 replies9 threads New Member
    its not letting me edit. Disregard the question about columbia, i found a more updated version http://new.oberlin.edu/dotAsset/1477127.pdf so does this mean i have an in at these universities if i enterthis program??
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  • monydadmonydad 8063 replies161 threads Senior Member
    You need to ask someone at Oberlin; a coordinator for this program is cited in your link. Or, ask at the engineering colleges that accept 3-2 students from liberal arts colleges.

    Engineering colleges that participate in 3-2 programs have different approaches to admission. At some, admission is automatic provided you obtain some minimum GPA in certain courses at the liberal arts college. At others, you have to apply there, and it is almost like a transfer admission process, nothing is guaranteed. Only that, if they do accept you, they have agreed that the 3-2 degree process will be in effect.

    Generally, at all schools, very few students complete such programs. Because there is nobody on campus interested and knowledgeable about engineering and able to help you guide your path into the profession. You would have to shove all your major courses into a short window, without having any prior guidance on what you are doing, since there are no engineering courses, or professors, or students, at the liberal arts college. Finally, you will have to uproot yourself and leave your campus and friends for another school in another city, which can be socially disruptive.

    I would ask the point person for this program at Oberlin how they address all these points, and also ask how many students have actually completed a 3-2 program with Oberlin and an engineering college, in the last three years. My guess is the number is very, very small. I wouldn't be surprised at all if it is zero.

    It may be possible to apply to a Masters of engineering program following a bachelor's degree in Physics from a liberal arts college. Though you may need more time to complete the Master's degree, due to time making up prerequisites. But in this scenario, no undergrad BS in engineering would be required, or advantageous. Something you might look into, as an alternative to a 3-2 program.
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  • quaerequaere 1252 replies12 threads Senior Member
    monydad's right, you should get in touch with the coordinator if you are seriously interested in the 3-2 program. They can answer your questions better than anyone here. (That said, I'll still give it a shot :))
    is it easier to get into these universities through this program than it would be if i was just applying to grad school?

    A minor point (actually, possibly a major point): be aware that you will not receive a graduate degree through a 3-2 program. You'll get a B.A. from Oberlin and a B.S. from another school.

    I remember from tour guide training that every year about six students enter with an interest in the 3-2 program, and about three move on to engineering school. I don't know what percentage of students complete the final two years of the program once they leave Oberlin.

    Case and WUSTL will automatically enroll any student from Oberlin's 3-2 program, provided they have a GPA of at least 3.0 and the signature of the professor in charge of the program. CalTech, on the other hand, does not guarantee acceptance; you still have to apply and they will not consider anyone with a GPA below 3.5. I don't know what the agreement is with Columbia.

    If financial aid is important for you, keep in mind that for those last two years, you'll need to apply for aid from the school you transfer to - whatever package you get from Oberlin won't continue.
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  • emerica22emerica22 97 replies28 threads Junior Member
    Shmoclo,

    I too am considering a 3-2 program (either at Oberlin or Bard), and from what I understand about Columbia is that they provide guaranteed acceptance provided that you maintain a certain gpa. Also, when browsing the Oberlin website I found this interesting bit of information:
    Winter Term. Students may arrange engineering internships with companies during January. In addition, Washington University offers intensive courses in several engineering fields during January, and one of these may be taken for Oberlin Winter Term credit.

    Also, in addition to the 3-2 program Bard has a 4-2 program in which one receives a B.A. from Bard and a masters degree from one of the partnering universities (Washington, Dartmouth, Columbia).
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  • monydadmonydad 8063 replies161 threads Senior Member
    The difficullty is with the "2" part, because the total of typcial undergraduate engineering program major & related courses, plus distribution requirements in engineering disciplines outside your major field, realistically take 3 years to complete. With anything less than this, you are cutting corners in some manner with respect to your engineering education. IMO.
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  • emerica22emerica22 97 replies28 threads Junior Member
    The difficullty is with the "2" part, because the total of typcial undergraduate engineering program major & related courses, plus distribution requirements in engineering disciplines outside your major field, realistically take 3 years to complete. With anything less than this, you are cutting corners in some manner with respect to your engineering education. IMO.

    Now I may be wrong, but it seems to me like there would not be any corner cutting due to the fact that by the time one reaches the "2" part they would have already completed a number of courses in mathematics, computer science, physics and chemistry. Thus, having a strong background in math and science, which is a large part of engineering.

    Here is what Oberlin has to say:
    The recommendations of the partner engineering schools differ slightly; however, it is generally required that a 3-2 engineering student take the following courses at Oberlin:

    Chemistry (CHEM)
    101 Structure and Reactivity
    102 Chemical Principles
    For qualified students, the above two courses may be replaced by:
    103 Topics in General Chemistry

    Computer Science (CSCI)
    150 Principles of Computer Science

    Mathematics (MATH)
    133 Calculus I
    134 Calculus II
    231 Multivariable Calculus
    234 Differential Equations

    Physics and Astronomy (PHYS) (ASTR)
    110 Mechanics and Relativity
    111 Electricity, Magnetism, and Thermodynamics
    212 Modern Physics

    Additional courses are recommended and should be selected in consultation with the engineering advisor, Professor Allen.
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  • monydadmonydad 8063 replies161 threads Senior Member
    They do not offer engineering electives typically taken by engineering students sophomore year. Courses such as introduction to electical systems , engineering thermodynamics, statics, dynamics (in mechanical and civil engineering departments), etc.These courses are prerequisites for engineering courses in your major starting junior year. they also help inform your path within the field by helping you to decide what to major in, in the first place. For example, a poor grade in intro electrical systems, coupled with reallly enjoying engineering thermodynamics and dynamics, might prompt someone to consider switching from electrical engineering to mechanical engineering. Once you start junior year you are committed to a major field within engineering. This is how my engineering college worked for undergrads, at least. The non-major engineering distribution requirements engineering students take sophomore year also provide part of the breadth of knowledge within the profession required to pass the fist part of the PE exam, down the road, should your path within the profession run in a direction where a PE license is advantageous.

    So, for example, a student who did not take engineering dynamics sophomore year would not have this prerequisite course needed to take Fluid Mechanics junior year, which would be followed by Heat transfer, then maybe a design project senior year drawing on this coursework, or more advanced electives for which these subjects are prerequisites.

    If you wait till junior year to take dynamics, not only are you behind other majors, but you may find that actually dynamics is really hard and you are bad at it. But you are now a junior, not a sophomore, less time to rethink the plan. Plus, taking 5 engineering courses at a time you will probably die.
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  • monydadmonydad 8063 replies161 threads Senior Member
    The science part of the engineering curriculum is pretty much identical to what you would be taking at the liberal arts college. The difference is, while you are taking additional liberal arts courses at the liberal arts college, an engineering college student would typically be taking some real intro courses in the various engineering disciplines, and this would help him/her craft a path within the field, pick a major and qualify for more advanced level courses, by the time junior year rolls around.

    Again, this is only by reference of my own experience.
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  • monydadmonydad 8063 replies161 threads Senior Member
    Thinking about this, you might be able to "keep up" on the engineering side if you can find the intro engineering courses in a summer school session someplace, at another college.

    But then, on the other hand, you could just enroll in an engineering college in the first place, hence never be behind, and take extra arts & sciences courses in summer sessions at other colleges to scratch your liberal arts itch.

    Someone mentioned Jan term courses, if its less than 6 weeks of classes I would be concerned that you might find such courses overly intensive and cramped, IMO.
    engineering courses are hard.
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  • hiimjoehiimjoe 39 replies3 threads Junior Member
    This was 5 years ago, but I have one question: Why would students choose to go to Case Western after Oberlin? It seems to me that Oberlin has a stronger undergraduate program. Do they choose to go to Case so that they can continue grad school there? Or is there something I'm missing?
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  • gratefulalumgratefulalum 166 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Case has a large undergraduate and graduate engineering program.
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  • TroyusTroyus 259 replies2 threads Junior Member
    The program referenced to here (3+2) is for a Masters degree. Since Oberlin is a college and has only a handful of post graduate programs they team up with other schools to offer the masters.

    The idea is that you spend 3 years at Oberlin to get your BS and 2 more somewhere else to get your MS. This is instead of the usual 4 years for a BS and then 2 more for the masters.

    The reason someone might pick Case for their masters instead of cal tech or wash U is a desire to stay near Cleve
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  • happy1happy1 24606 replies2490 threads Super Moderator
    edited August 17
    @Troyus With 3+2 programs (including Oberlin's) students get two BS degrees -- one in the liberal arts course of study from the first college and one in engineering from the second college. This is a dual degree program. No Masters degree is earned.

    From Oberlin's website:
    "In the (3+2 Engineering) program, students pursue studies in the liberal arts, including mathematics and sciences, during three years at Oberlin and then complete an accredited schedule of engineering courses during two years at an affiliated engineering school. At the end of five years, students receive two degrees: a Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the engineering school."
    https://catalog.oberlin.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=10&poid=1026&returnto=143
    edited August 17
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