Engineering Studies

Darla Frandrup, RNS 236

Engineering is the application of math and science in the pursuit of solving problems. The field encompasses traditional understanding of engineers as builders, from the development of renewable energy technologies to the design of life saving medical devices. However, engineering extends beyond the creation of physical objects, and includes the development of systems, models, and algorithms designed to meet a specified need. Studying engineering at a liberal arts institution provides perspective on the development of technological innovations not in isolation but situated in a global context that requires an appreciation for human needs. 

Overview of the Concentration

The Engineering Studies curriculum provides students with the mathematical and analytical skills that constitute the foundations of engineering, supporting a wide array of fields including mechanical, electrical, civil, and environmental engineering. In addition, the concentration offers practical, applied skills such as working with laboratory instrumentation, design software, and/or fabrication techniques. There are a core set of courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics, and computer programming, and then a menu of electives that students can choose from in order to tailor their coursework to their Engineering interests. Completing this concentration in combination with a major in a natural science or math prepares students to pursue graduate work in engineering. 

Intended Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will explore across engineering disciplines.
  2. Students will develop analytical and technical engineering skills.
  3. Students will examine the roles and ethical responsibilities of engineers.

Recommendations for Fields of Engineering

Beyond the core courses of the concentration, students are able to choose three elective courses. We recommend that students take one of the design courses as an elective (PHYS 160: Introduction to Engineering Design or PHYS 360: Engineering Design Practicum), and otherwise choose electives that support their particular field of interest. Consider the recommendations below for courses to consider for different engineering subfields. Note that these are suggestions only, and seek out advice from the Engineering Studies Concentration Director if you have any questions. 


  • ENGR 261: Engineering Thermodynamics
  • PHYS 362: Materials


  • PHYS 362: Materials
  • ENGR 261: Engineering Thermodynamics


  • PHYS 246: Electronics
  • CSCI 241: Hardware Design
  • PHYS 362: Materials


  • ENGR 261: Engineering Thermodynamics
  • CHEM 382: Instrumental Analysis


  • CHEM 382: Instrumental Analysis
  • ENGR 261: Engineering Thermodynamics
  • PHYS 362: Materials


  • BIO 243: Human Anatomy
  • Depending on sub interest: PHYS 362, PHYS 246, ENGR 261


Students who demonstrate excellence in the Engineering Studies coursework and who complete and report on an additional project, typically a research experience, will be considered for distinction in the Engineering Studies Concentration. The project may culminate in a public presentation on research work or a topic of current interest in engineering or in a written report such as a published paper or a paper submitted for an independent research course. Other activities may be eligible; check with the concentration director. In seeking to honor outstanding work in the concentration, faculty members do not rely solely on grades earned, but also consider factors such as improvement and dedication. All faculty members who teach courses that are a part of the concentration may nominate candidates who have met the above criterion, and the decision will be made by the concentration director in consultation with faculty teaching the concentration courses.


The engineering studies concentration requires the completion of a set of core mathematics and science courses and the completion of three elective courses.

Core Courses
MATH 119Calculus I with Review1.00
or MATH 120 Calculus I
MATH 126Calculus II1.00
MATH 220Elementary Linear Algebra1.00
MATH 226Multivariable Calculus1.00
MATH 230Differential Equations I1.00
CHEM 125Structural Chemistry and Equilibrium1.00
or CHEM 121
CHEM 123
General Chemistry
and Atomic and Molecular Structure
or CHEM 122 Introductory Chemistry
or CH/BI 125 Integrated Chem/Bio I: Chemical Concepts with Biological Applications
Choose one of the following Physics tracks:
PHYS 124Principles of Physics I1.00
PHYS 125Principles of Physics II1.00
CSCI 121Principles of Computer Science1.00
or CSCI 125 Computer Science for Scientists and Mathematicians
PHYS 130Analytical Physics I1.00
PHYS 131Analytical Physics II1.00
Choose three of the following elective courses:
PHYS 160Introduction to Engineering Design1.00
PHYS 246Electronics1.00
PHYS 360Engineering Design Practicum1.00
PHYS 362Materials Engineering and Nanoscience1.00
ENGR 261Engineering Thermodynamics1.00
CSCI 241Hardware Design1.00
or CSCI 251 Software Design and Implementation
BIO 243Human Anatomy and Physiology: Organs and Organ Systems1.00
CHEM 382Instrumental Analysis1.00

Director, 2020-2021

Alden Adolph

Assistant Professor of Physics

Jason J. Engbrecht

Professor of Physics; Associate Dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

positron and antimatter physics; robotics

Eric L. Hazlett

Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics