Pre-Professional Engineering

Whether you want to improve the present or build the future, there’s a place for you in engineering! If you want to start your path to solving problems in the world in a way that’s personally supportive and socially relevant, Pre-engineering at Earlham is the place for you. Our program gives you plenty of flexibility and advantages, including formal affiliations with four different engineering schools, a choice of four different timeline structures, and the opportunity to complete up to three different degrees in six years or less. Feel free to reach out to program liaison, Cynthia Fadem with any questions.

Earlham’s official relationships with affiliate institutions mean they have approved our courses for transfer and that our program liaison is ready to help you craft a plan for success in earning both an Earlham B.A. and a B.S. in engineering from one of our partner schools; in one case, there are also options to earn an MS in one additional year. You will apply for transfer to affiliates after spending three or four years at Earlham. Following transfer, you will spend two years earning the remainder of both the B.A. and B.S. degrees at the engineering school.

During your time at Earlham, you will be able to take engineering courses, participate in athletics, complete various Earlham majors and minors, and even study off campus. Pre-engineering students have many options, depending on how much they want their time to be focused in the sciences and how much of their education they want to take place at the various schools. Some students choose the three-year option, finishing their requirements efficiently and staying relatively focused in the sciences. Other students choose to stay at Earlham for four years to diversify their academic and co-curricular experiences, continue playing with their varsity team, or simply to complete their B.A. coursework and have the option to apply directly to master’s programs alongside the dual degree offerings. Your path is up to you!

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Top ranked
Earlham has transfer or combined agreements with top-ranked engineering schools.
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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects significant growth in engineering jobs in the fields of rebuilding of infrastructure, renewable energy, oil and gas extraction, and robotics.

The 3-2 program can prepare graduates for careers as biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, mechanical, aerospace and other types of engineers.

Engineers with a liberal arts foundation

Earlham’s 3-2 pre-engineering majors gain a foundation in the liberal arts, providing you with the breadth of knowledge and understanding that can make a world of difference in your chosen career.

Affiliate schools

Earlham has transfer or combined programs with Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH), Columbia University (New York, NY), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY) and Washington University in St Louis (MO).

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Expert advising

As a 3-2 pre-engineering major, you’ll meet early and often with your adviser to ensure you are on the right track to reach your professional goals.

Contact the program liaison

Our faculty

Our faculty come from a variety of fields, including computer science, earth and environmental science, mathematics and physics.

Program details

Our 3-2 pre-engineering program includes a sequence of courses that you take over three years at Earlham.

As a liberal arts college, Earlham offers multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors in which students cultivate deep and specific knowledge and experience. Equally important, the College expects every student to develop broad, general skills and proficiencies across the curriculum.

As part of their general education, students complete six credits in each academic division of the College: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. In addition, students meet requirements for first-year courses, analytical reasoning, perspectives on diversity and wellness.

Learn more about general education at Earlham.

Earlham’s Pre-professional engineering major requirements depend on the engineering program to which the student intends to transfer. Most programs require a similar set of foundation courses in addition to some more specialized courses based on the major the student is choosing for their engineering B.S. Like all Earlham majors, pre-professional engineering requires students to complete Research and Writing Intensive courses as well; students choose which RCH and WI courses from throughout the sciences to help build their major in consultation with the program liaison.


Core courses common to all schools:

  • CS 128 Programming and Problem Solving
  • MATH 180 Calculus A
  • MATH 280 Calculus B
  • MATH 320 Differential Equations
  • PHYS 125 Analytical Physics I: Mechanics
  • PHYS 235 Analytical Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism, Optics and Waves


Other commonly required courses (depending on engineering school and B.S. major):

  • BIOL 112 Cells, Genes, and Inheritance
  • CS 256 Data Structures
  • CHEM 111 General Chemistry
  • CHEM 331 Equilibrium and Analysis
  • MATH/CS 190 Math Discovery
  • MATH 310 Linear Algebra
  • MATH 350 Multivariate Calculus
  • PHYS 345 Modern Physics
  • PHYS/CS 350 Electronics and Instrumentation


The number of additional required courses varies greatly across programs and engineering B.S. majors, so it is important to consult with your adviser and the 3-2 Program Liaison as soon as possible to make sure you are on track to complete the requirements!


Please note: Completing this major is not required to take part in the dual degree program, though it is likely the most efficient way to do so if you’re trying to fit a lot of requirements into three years. As long as you complete an Earlham major, the Earlham general education and graduation requirements, and the requirements of the engineering school, you would be able to apply successfully for transfer, BUT you’d still need to be in communication with the program liaison to do so, as all applications require a letter and certification from the liaison.


View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

Below is our recommended three-year plan for most majors, but you should connect with your 3-2 adviser early and often to make sure you are on the right track for your goals.

Year 1

We recommend that you take:

  • Calculus sequence (Math 180 (Fall, 5 credits) and Math 280 (Spring, 5 credits))
  • Physics sequence (Physics 125 and Physics 235)
    • If you are interested in Chemical Engineering, you may want to take Chemistry 111 instead of physics
    • You could also take CS 128 instead of physics

The physics sequence is recommended for the first year because of alternate year courses that are required for some programs/majors. This schedule makes it very difficult to take a language in your first year, because of required Earlham Seminar courses. If you are uncertain whether you want to major in pre-engineering, we encourage you to take at least the calculus sequence and something that satisfies one of the general education distribution requirements.


Year 2

We recommend that you take:

  • Math 320 (Differential equations, Fall, 3 credits) and Math 350 (Multivariate calculus, Spring, 4 credits)
  • Depending on what you took your first year, one of the following:
    • Physics 125 and 235
    • Chemistry 111
    • CS 128
  • If you have not placed out of it, you are encouraged to complete your language requirement
  • Economics 103 Introduction to Microeconomics (offered every year)
  • Physics 350 Electronics and Instrumentation (alternate years).


Year 3

We recommend that you take:

  • Math 310 (Linear Algebra, Fall, 3 credits)
  • Depending on what you took your first two years, one of the following:
    • Physics 125 and 235
    • Chemistry 111
    • CS 128
  • Economics 103 Introduction to Microeconomics (offered every year)
  • Physics 350 Electronics and Instrumentation (alternate years, requires Physics 125 and 235).


View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

Earlham has transfer or combined programs with three engineering schools. Each school is listed below, with the types of engineering they offer, details about the transfer requirements, and documents listing their required courses and the Earlham equivalents, where available. There are typically two sets of required courses; one set is required for all engineering majors, listed as “Foundation Courses” on under the plan of study and three year planning sections, and then each major has additional courses that are required for that major. For example, a chemical engineering major would need more than General Chemistry, which is all that is required in the foundation courses.

Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)

Case Western offers degrees in biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, mechanical & aerospace, and systems & control engineering, as well as macromolecular science and engineering, materials science and engineering, and engineering physics. The document linked below lists only the foundation requirements, to see the requirements for specific majors, go to their dual degree website:

Case Western Dual Degree Program

Earlham College – Case Western Dual Degree course requirements: (.pdf)

Columbia University (NY, NY)

Columbia offers degrees in biomedical, chemical, civil, computer,earth & environmental, electrical, and mechanical engineering, applied math, applied physics, computer science, engineering mechanics, and several majors in industrial engineering and operations research. The linked document contains all requirements for all majors (and is thus very long) with the Earlham College equivalent courses listed where available. The combined plan website has more information, including course descriptions:

Columbia Combined Plan Program

Earlham College – Columbia University Combined Program course requirements (.pdf)

Rensselaer Polytechnic University (Troy, NY)

RPI offers degrees in aeronautical, biomedical, chemical, civil, computer & systems, electrical, environmental, industrial & management, materials, mechanical, and nuclear engineering. The RPI School of Engineering website is:

RPI School of Engineering

Partial list of requirements for transfer to RPI (.pdf)

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