Pre-EngineeringEngineering involves the arrangement and modification of natural materials to produce devices and processes in order to accomplish human goals expeditiously, economically and safely. Engineering education is divided into such fields as aeronautical, agricultural, biomedical, chemical, civil, electrical, industrial, mechanical and nuclear.
About Pre-Engineering at St. Norbert College
St. Norbert College does not offer a degree in engineering. The most direct path to a career in engineering is to attend a university offering majors in various fields of engineering. However, some students who want to enter the engineering profession also wish to obtain a foundation of liberal arts studies and gain other advantages of attending a small college with a strong sense of community. For such students, St. Norbert College offers several alternatives.
Most students who enter engineering simply transfer to an engineering school after 1-3 years at St. Norbert. Good grades, especially in science and mathematics, are required for transfer to an engineering school. Since the degree these students earn comes from the engineering school, they must consider the requirements of the engineering program they plan to enter when selecting courses at St. Norbert College.
Some students spend four years at St. Norbert College and major in physics, mathematics or chemistry, and then pursue graduate study in an engineering school. If undergraduate science and math classes are carefully chosen, it’s possible to complete a master's degree in engineering in two years.
One major advantage of attending a small college is the possibility of close association with faculty and fellow students. Students who choose to study pre-engineering at St. Norbert College believe that the opportunity for personal attention in their basic science and math courses and the breadth of experience available in a liberal arts college are important in giving them a start toward a satisfying career in engineering.
Courses in a Pre-Engineering Program
The basic science and mathematics courses for most engineering curricula are two semesters of general physics, two semesters of general chemistry, three semesters of calculus, one semester of differential equations and one semester of computer science where a high level programming language is learned. These are all courses that can be taken at St. Norbert College, and a student interested in engineering should take as many of them as possible.
The choice of other science courses at St. Norbert College will depend somewhat on the particular area of engineering in which the student is interested. Curricula for the various engineering fields have much in common during the first two years of study, but there are some differences in these years and they diverge greatly in the final two years. These curricula tend to have many specified courses. It is important for a student to try to select an engineering field and to make early contact with the engineering college to which transfer is planned.
Students who intend to transfer after one or two years at St. Norbert College should take the basic physics, chemistry and calculus courses and as much as possible select general education courses that match requirements of the engineering program to which they intend to transfer. A number of students who enter St. Norbert with the intention of transferring to an engineering school decide to stay here for all four years.
Students in pre-engineering are strongly advised to plan their courses in such a way that, should they retain their interest in science but decide not to transfer, they can complete a physics, mathematics or chemistry major at St. Norbert, including the St. Norbert general education requirements, within the normal four years.