For students who would like to enter the Engineering field but also want a liberal arts education, Dickinson College offers such an opportunity through three options: the Binary Engineering Program (or 3 2 Program); Columbia University Combined Plan; and regular admission to an engineering school after completion of the Dickinson degree. Although all of these programs require some planning, the Binary Engineering Program and the Columbia University Combined Plan require careful planning for the three years at Dickinson. Students should contact Professor Hans Pfister to discuss the Binary Engineering Program and Laura Kilko, Career Center, to discuss the Columbia University Combined Plan.
Binary Engineering (3 2) Program
In the Binary Engineering Program, a student completes three years at Dickinson and two years at one of two engineering schools in the Binary Program. At the end of five years, the student receives two B.S. degrees; one from Dickinson and one from the engineering school. The two engineering schools participating in the program are the Case Western Reserve University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Requirements for the program
Requirements of the engineering schools: The Binary Program engineering schools require a 3.00 grade point average during the three years at Dickinson and the satisfactory completion of the following courses:
Mathematics: Two years, including Differential and Integral Calculus, Multivariable Calculus, and Differential Equations. These are satisfied by MATH 170 & 171 (Calculus I & II), and MATH 270 (Calculus III), and MATH 262 (Introduction to Linear Algebra).
Physics: One and one-half years of calculus-based Physics, including Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, Relativity and Quantum Physics. This may be satisfied by taking PHYS 131 & 132 (Introductory Physics, a.k.a. Workshop Physics) and PHYS 212 (Introduction to Relativistic and Quantum Physics).
Chemistry: One year, including States of Matter, Atomic and Molecular Structure, Thermodynamics, Equilibrium and Kinetics, and Chemistry Laboratory. These are satisfied by CHEM 141 (Accelerated General Chemistry) and CHEM 244 (Thermodynamics and Kinetics).
Computer Science: One course in the use of computers for numerical analysis. This is satisfied by COMP 131 (Introduction to Computer Science I).
Humanities and Social Sciences: Six to twelve courses in the humanities and social sciences, depending on the engineering school. These are normally satisfied by the regular Dickinson distribution requirements.
Other science courses: Additional courses in the area of the expected field of Engineering.
Recommended Courses and Requirements for Minors and Programs
Application to Binary Program Engineering Schools
During the first semester of the junior year the student applies to one of the participating engineering schools. With a grade point average of 3.00 or higher, the student can expect to be admitted to full standing and be able to complete the requirements for the engineering degree in two years. During the spring semester of the junior year, pre-course selection for off-campus study for the subsequent two academic years must take place.
Engineering programs available
The following engineering programs are available at the participating schools. The schools that offer each program are listed.
Aeronautical Engineering (RPI)
Biomedical Engineering (RPI, Case)
Chemical Engineering (RPI, Case)
Civil Engineering (RPI, Case)
Computer Engineering (Case)
Electric Power Engineering (RPI)
Electrical Engineering (RPI, Case)
Engineering Science (RPI)
Environmental Engineering (RPI)
Fluid and Thermal Sciences (Case)
Management Engineering (RPI)
Mechanical Engineering (RPI, Case)
Metallurgy and Materials Science (RPI, Case)
Nuclear Engineering (RPI)
Polymer Science (Case)
System and Control Engineering (Case)
Columbia University Combined Program (3 2 Program)
Students will attend Dickinson for three years, completing all graduation and major* requirements at Dickinson, and then Columbia for at least two years and completing the requirements for the major into which the student is accepted. Upon successful completion of the fifth year, students will earn two Bachelor of Science degrees: one from Dickinson and one from Columbia.
*At the discretion of the Dickinson faculty in the department of your major, 1-2 courses from Columbia may be allowed to transfer back to Dickinson to fulfill the senior seminar requirement of your major.
The eligible programs at Columbia include:
Earth and environmental engineering
Engineering and management systems
Materials science and engineering
Requirements for the Combined Plan Program
The program has required pre-requisites that must be completed with a minimum "B" grade in each course, as well as a minimum Dickinson GPA of 3.30.
Mathematics: One and one-half years of calculus. These are satisfied by MATH 170 & 171, and MATH 270.
Physics: One year, including Mechanics & Thermodynamics and Electricity, Magnetism & Optics. These are satisfied by PHYS 131 and PHYS 132.
Chemistry: One course in General Chemistry. This is satisfied by CHEM 131 or CHEM 141.
Lab Requirement: This is satisfied through the science courses listed above.
Computer Science: One introductory computer science course. This is satisfied by COMP 131 or COMP 132.
27 Non-technical credit hours: This is satisfied by the completion of seven courses in the humanities or social sciences. Some distribution requirement courses may count toward this Columbia pre-requisite.
Economics: At least one semester of Principles of Economics. This is satisfied by ECON 111 or ECON 112.
English: One semester of English Composition. This is satisfied by completion of the First-Year Seminar.
Each individual engineering major also has required pre-requisites that must be completed with a minimum "B" grade in each course. For more information on the pre-requisites for each of Columbia's engineering majors, please email the program contact, Laura Kilko.
Regular admission to engineering school
A student who does not decide on an engineering career until the senior year, or wishes to attend an engineering school other than those cooperating institutions in the Binary Program, may apply to an engineering school for admission after graduating from Dickinson. Students with a 3.00 or higher grade point average are generally admitted to quality engineering schools. Most students can complete the requirements for an M. S. degree in two years after graduation from Dickinson.
Students planning on engineering must satisfactorily complete a science major, preferably in the area of the intended field of engineering. If the major is a science other than physics, coursework should include PHYS 131, 132, 212, and probably 213, plus two years of mathematics. Physics majors should include CHEM 141 and 244.
Application to the engineering school should be made during the senior year, after consultation with the major advisor about appropriate selection of schools.
Please note that Dickinson College financial aid does not extend to the student's time at the engineering school. Check with the engineering school for their current financial aid policy.