Is a 3+2 Engineering Programme Right For You?

Is a 3+2 Engineering Programme Right For You? | The Red Pen

Typically, students interested in engineering gravitate towards larger universities that focus on different disciplines within the field of engineering or have a dedicated engineering school. While many find this route appealing, some students prefer to explore their interests in a liberal arts curriculum first.

Why a 3+2 Programme May Actually Be the Best-Fit for You?

A 3+2 programme is a dual-degree programme that’s completed in five years. Such a programme is usually undertaken as a 3-2 sequence: three years in a liberal arts curriculum (typically majoring in math or physics) and two years at a university with an engineering school (with students applying in the junior year). In the end, the student stands to graduate with two bachelor’s degrees – a Bachelor of Arts from a liberal arts college or university and a Bachelor of Science in engineering. The biggest benefit to many students in a 3+2 programme is that they can start their college career at a smaller liberal arts college, take advantage of the smaller class sizes and excellent internship opportunities and form strong relationships with professors before making the move to a larger university, better prepared for its challenges. A liberal arts approach to interdisciplinary learning will also allow these students to be more well-rounded and self-aware as they enter the workforce.

Students interested in this pathway can identify programmes in two different ways:

  • By finding a liberal arts college with 3+2 engineering affiliations, or
  • By targeting a specific engineering programme and finding out where and if there are 3+2 relationships with liberal arts schools

For instance, Columbia University and Washington University are just two examples of universities that accept engineering students for their final two years of 3+2 programmes. Brandeis University, Oberlin College and Wesleyan are just a few examples of institutions affiliated with Columbia University and Allegheny College, Carleton College and Hamilton College are some of the many affiliates that Washington University offers.

What Are You, as an Applicant, Responsible For?

It is the applicant’s responsibility to check the individual requirements for each set of schools. You should take several important steps in high school to market yourself as a 3+2 engineering candidate.

  • First, a demonstrated interest in an engineering speciality is important; that includes taking relevant courses and participating in extracurriculars that correlate to your passion. Check out clubs, activities and summer programmes that allow this interest to be showcased. Students who begin at a liberal arts college usually major in math or physics and must demonstrate an affinity for STEM subjects.
  • Remember that in addition to focusing on engineering, a successful candidate is well-rounded, which reflects the type of education the 3+2 programme offers. This includes involvement in the humanities and social sciences through course selection and extracurricular activities.

However, it is important to note that these programmes are not a good fit for every student. Admission into the student’s college of choice is not guaranteed and a consistently strong academic performance is imperative in order to be accepted into the engineering component of the programme. It is also worth noting the student will be at university for five, not four years (so an extra year of fees) and transitioning to a new region of the United States can be both challenging and exciting!

For more information about a 3+2 engineering programme, book a session with one of our experts. For more information about studying engineering, book a session here. If you have already applied to an engineering programme and require some help with the interviews, click here.