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engineering at Swat

rrr321rrr321 Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
edited October 2010 in Swarthmore College
If there are any engineering majors on this forum, would you mind talking a little bit about Swarthmore's engineering program? I've looked at the website and it seems a little different than what most colleges do. Are there even majors? or just electives?
Post edited by rrr321 on
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Replies to: engineering at Swat

  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    Swarthmore's Enginering program is an ABET accredited Bachelor of Science degree in general engineering instead of a specialized degree in, for example, Chemical Engineering. It's the same degree that Dartmouth and Havard offer.

    If you are looking for a specialized degree in an Engineering field, then Swarthmore would not be the right choice. If you are looking to get an Engineering degree in the context of a broader liberal arts education, taking a lot of non-Engineering courses), then Swarthmore's program might be a good choice for you. For example, many of Swarthmore's Engineering majors double major, something that is not even possible at many Engineering schools.

    You can go to the ABET website, search for school, and see which engineering degrees are offered by clicking the (+) sign next to the school's name.

    Accredited Programs Search
  • 1bie7921bie792 Registered User Posts: 207 Junior Member
    interestdad:
    Swarthmore's unusual engineering program has caught our eye because it seems to be the only one that is structured to allow a double major.

    Do you know of any other ABET programs that are similar? Some colleges offer "engineering science", which is not the same.

    Son has very high calc, chem & physics scores, Natl Merit, but also likes theater tech (lighting) as a minor, with either engineering, chem engnrg, or chemical physics major. Can't seem to combine theater tech with most engineering programs, so looking at chem major, or chemical physics -- which is also hard to find at LAC.
  • hellohowareyouhellohowareyou Registered User Posts: 220 Junior Member
    There is no degree in theater tech. The major in drama can include a couple of classes on tech issues (lighting design etc) but is pretty theoretical with a performance component - it is an academic degree and many of the classes have an academic syllabus comparable to that of other disciplines.
  • verymintyveryminty Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    1bie792:

    Where did you hear this? From what I've heard, it is very difficult to double major with Engineering at Swat, mostly because of all of the classes required. The Eng. degree requires 20 credits, and most majors require 8. Assuming your son takes the standard 32 credits in his time here, that means he's only going to take 4 classes that aren't related to his majors--which, IMHO, is absurd and defeats the purpose of going to an LAC in the first place. It might be manageable if your son gets advanced placement for several math and physics classes, though.
  • 1bie7921bie792 Registered User Posts: 207 Junior Member
    Swarthmore College - Department of Engineering

    The structure of the department's curriculum permits engineering majors to devote as much as three-eighths of their course work to the humanities and social sciences. Within their 4-year course of study, about half of our majors pursue either a minor or a double major, often leading to two degrees: the bachelor of science in engineering and a bachelor of arts in a second academic discipline.
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    It might be manageable if your son gets advanced placement for several math and physics classes, though.

    That's almost always the case. Figure a couple of semesters of calculus credits for most students interested in majoring in Engineering.

    The actual Engineering major is subject to the same rule as every other major at Swarthmore: no more than 12 courses in your major, no less than 20 outside your major. What makes the Engineering major demanding is that there are requirements for math and science courses, too. Nevertheless, quite a few Swattie engineering majors do double major or major/minor and quite a few graduate with two degrees: BS Engineering and BA for some other major.

    A real plus of the Swarthmore Engineering program that hasn't been mentioned is that it gives you a chance to dive into Engineering, see if it is for you, and change directions if necessary. I always worry about the kid who signs up for an Engineering-only school, finds out that they can't stand Engineering, and then ends up stuck.
  • roderickroderick Registered User Posts: 1,488 Senior Member
    we seem to have two different points of view in the last two posts on how much bandwidth is available for an ENG major to take non -eng courses at Swat.

    I did look at the ENG website and confirmed that an ENG major requires 20 credits. But how many credits are needed to graduate at Swat in general?

    Swarthmore College - Department of Engineering Course Majors
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    I don't think there's any disagreement that a double-major with Engineering at Swarthmore is a challenging undertaking. I don't think there's much disagreement that an Engineering major at Swarthmore, all by itself, is a challenging undertaking!

    The normal course load at Swarthmore is 4 courses per semester or 32 courses overall. Most Swatties come to college with some AP credits, especially in calculus. I would think that almost all Swattie Engineering majors show up with credits in hand for one or two semesters of the engineering math requirements.

    So, you've got a minimum of 12 additional courses outside of the engineering, math, and science requirements, in most cases, probably 13 or 14. I wouldn't recommend it for freshman year, but quite a few Swatties do take an extra course (5 total) for one or more semesters in college -- although that is difficult with time consuming lab requirements in Engineering and Science courses.
  • roderickroderick Registered User Posts: 1,488 Senior Member
    ok, thanks. Credit = course. so an engineering major would have 12 extra CLASSES to take of non engineering .

    I actually meant post 5 and 6 were confusing to me.

    I was not quite clear on the following stmt...
    The Eng. degree requires 20 credits, and most majors require 8. Assuming your son takes the standard 32 credits in his time here, that means he's only going to take 4 classes that aren't related to his majors

    Again, it looks like a person can take 12 classes over his or her engineering classes at swat.
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    Yeah. It is confusing sometimes. At Swarthmore, one course lasting one semester is considered to be one of the 32 "credits" you need to graduate. You are only allowed to take 12 "credits" maximum in your major, leaving 20 in other departments. Engineering is little odd in that there are 12 required courses in Engineering plus 8 additional math and science required courses.
  • dadx3dadx3 Registered User Posts: 1,559 Senior Member
    I'm not sure there is a hard limit of 12 credits maximum in your major. Many students end up with more than 32 credits at graduation. The more relevant constraint is taking at least 20 credits outside your major.
  • CorbettCorbett Registered User Posts: 3,438 Senior Member
    Swarthmore's unusual engineering program has caught our eye because it seems to be the only one that is structured to allow a double major.

    Do you know of any other ABET programs that are similar?
    Dartmouth is supposed to have a particularly high percentage of engineering double-majors. However, the catch is that Dartmouth typically issues ABET-accredited BS engineering degrees after five years of undergraduate study (not four).

    Unfortunately, the reality is that there is no easy way to combine (1) the breadth associated with a liberal arts education, and (2) the depth expected of a professional engineering degree, in only four years of study. That's why engineering degrees are uncommon at LACs. Dartmouth's five-year track is one solution.
  • nngmmnngmm Registered User Posts: 5,708 Senior Member
    There is no 12 credits maximum in your major, but there is a 20 credits MINIMUM OUTSIDE your major.

    Many students have several AP credits, and many take a few extra classes (5 per semester instead of "normal" 4), and end up taking many more than 12 credits in their major.
    Some (most?) honors seminars count for 2 credits, btw, so for honors majors 5 credits is sometimes just 3 classes.
  • roderickroderick Registered User Posts: 1,488 Senior Member
    I wonder if there are any other college, less selective, with 5 yr tracks similar to Dartmouth's?
    However, the catch is that Dartmouth typically issues ABET-accredited BS engineering degrees after five years of undergraduate study (not four)

    the other catch is that Dartmouth is a 11 pct acceptance rate.

    TheDartmouth.com | Admissions rate hits record low
  • dadx3dadx3 Registered User Posts: 1,559 Senior Member
    Many top LACs have, at least in theory, a 3/2 engineering program where you do your first 3 years at the LAC and the final 2 at an engineering school and end up with a BA from the LAC and a BS in engineering. That's 25% more time involved, and from what I've heard very few people actually choose to leave their LAC right before their senior year to move to a new school. So these programs may exist more as theoretical possibilities rather than programs people actually complete. Of course, at Swarthmore (and Lafayette for that matter) you can get your LAC experience and a BS in engineering at the same time in 4 years.
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