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Special Programs

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In This Section:

Dual-Degree Option

The dual-degree program is intended for superior students. Students can earn both a
Bachelor of Science and either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in
about five years (ten semesters). After acceptance of their application, engineering students
begin the dual-degree program in their second or third year. For more information
about this option, students should attend a Dual Degree Information Meeting, held approximately once a month (

Exceptional students may be able to arrange (by petition) an accelerated program and finish
in less than 10 semesters. Such a program may not rely on summer work or credits
earned at community colleges. Students in the program may decide to complete only one
degree, but it may be difficult to complete the requirements for either degree in four years
because of the way their curriculum has been structured.

Double Majors

The double Major makes it possible to study two allied engineering disciplines. A double
Major generally requires nine semesters. (Students dependent on financial aid who spend
more than eight semesters as an undergraduate will need to change their financial-aid

To embark on a double Major, a student must complete the entry requirements for both
Majors and have a cumulative GPA ≥3.0 after the first four semesters. Affiliation with the
first Major proceeds as usual. Before the end of the third year, the student presents an application for Double Major to enter the second Major. The application must be approved by the faculty in both Majors. The second Major may set its own requirements, and admission is not guaranteed. Note: Due to curricular overlap, students majoring in Information Science, Systems, and Technology (ISST), may not pursue a double Major with either Computer Science (CS) or Operations Research and Engineering (ORE). Obtain application forms from Engineering Advising and submit completed forms to the Engineering Registrar, 158 Olin Hall.

Double-Major students have a faculty advisor in each Major. Both Majors maintain records,
approve course changes, and eventually certify to the registrar that all requirements
for the B.S. degree have been met.

The standards for academic performance of both Majors must be met, although the consequences for failing to do so for one or the other will differ. For example, deficient perfomance in the primary area may result in a required leave of absence or withdrawal from the Major (resulting perhaps in withdrawal from the college), but deficient performance in the secondary Major simply terminates the double Major. For more information, contact Engineering Advising, 167 Olin Hall, and the individual Major consultant offices.

The Independent Major (IM)

The IM is an opportunity for students whose educational objectives cannot be met by any
of the regular Majors. It allows students to create specially tailored, interdisciplinary
courses of study. The student develops the program in consultation with faculty advisors;
it is approved by the Independent Major Committee, which is responsible for overseeing
the student’s work.

The IM includes a primary engineering area of ≥32 credits and an educationally related
secondary area of ≥16 credits. The primary area may be any subject area offered by the
engineering schools or departments; the secondary area is a logically connected area
taught anywhere at Cornell. The program must constitute an engineering education in
scope and substance, and all requirements of the Common Curriculum must be met.
Students should apply by the end of the first semester of the second year and must be in
good academic standing. They should seek assistance in developing a coherent program
from professors in the proposed primary and secondary subject areas. If approved, the
program becomes a curricular contract to which the student must adhere. For more information, contact Engineering Advising, 167 Olin Hall.

Note: Because no single standardized curriculum exists, the IM is not accredited. IM students who intend to seek legal licensing as Professional Engineers should be aware that this non-accredited degree program will require additional education, work, and/or experience to be eligible to take the Fundamentals of Engineering examination.

International Engineering Programs

An international perspective, sensitivity to other cultures, and the ability to speak a second
language are increasingly important to today’s engineer. The College of Engineering
encourages students to study or work abroad during their undergraduate years to prepare
for participation in the global marketplace.

Because most engineering curricula are highly structured with many sequential courses,
students who wish to pursue this option must decide early and plan carefully. Advisors
and faculty in the college can suggest a variety of ways for students to study abroad and
still meet graduation requirements. Students interested in studying or working abroad
should begin gathering information early in the first year. These programs may fit some
students’ curriculum plans better than others’, depending on a variety of factors, including
Advanced Placement credit, completed prerequisites, and Major affiliation requirements.
Students should refer to the college and university policies related to study abroad on the
Cornell Abroad web site (

On campus, there are several sources of specific information on study abroad:

  • Cornell Abroad office, 300 Caldwell Hall
  • Engineering Advising, 167 Olin Hall
  • the associate director of undergraduate studies in the student’s Major

Engineering Communications Program (ECP)

The ECP provides instruction in technical writing, oral presentation, and the use of graphics
in both. ECP courses are like writing seminars elsewhere at Cornell. Students’ work
receives abundant written comments and conferences are frequent.

Members of the ECP are available to help engineering faculty members develop materials
for their own writing and oral-presentation assignments.

For more information, call 255.7199, visit the Director’s office at 465 Hollister Hall, or go

Engineering Cooperative Education Program (Co-op)

The Co-op program provides an opportunity to gain 28 weeks of career-related practical
work experience and still graduate in four years. By supplementing course work with
carefully monitored paid positions, co-op students can explore their interests and acquire
a better understanding of engineering as a profession.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in the College of Engineering an equivalent of
five semesters before starting their first work term. Exceptions may be made for transfer
students and others pursuing an accelerated curriculum. Students majoring in computer
science or biological engineering, but not registered in the College of Engineering, are
also eligible. In most cases, a GPA > 2.7 is required.

Applicants interview with employers in February of the sophomore year and, upon accepting
an offer, usually complete their fifth-semester course work on campus during the
summer after sophomore year. They begin the first co-op work term the following fall,
complete the sixth semester on campus, and return to their co-op employer the following
summer for their second work term. Students spend the senior year on campus, graduating
on schedule with their class. Students with flexible course curriculums may prefer to complete one 28-week spring/summer or summer/fall co-op work term during the junior year. Obtain more information at or at the Engineering Cooperative Education and Career Services office, 201 Carpenter Hall, 255.3512.

Engineering Leadership Program

Cornell engineering majors enter a world that calls on them to solve our most urgent
problems and to improve our quality of life. Our Leadership Program prepares students to
answer this call. We provide a path for the next generation of engineers to identify
problems and commit to solving them; to present a vision of a better future that compels
others to follow; to align actions with values; and to coordinate the efforts of many in
order to have meaningful and intentional impact.

Our mission is to grow powerful leaders who take on our world’s biggest challenges with
knowledge, skill, insight, and courage. We achieve this through experiential seminars
offered to all; leadership content introduced in existing engineering classes; individual
and team coaching; training for project team and student organization leaders; and the
1-year Leadership Certificate Program. Because we believe great leadership development
engages the heart and the mind, we emphasize empirically-derived knowledge combined
with personal inquiry and growth.

Cornell Engineering Leaders stand for integrity, curiosity, self-awareness, responsibility
for impact, compassion, growth, and determination.

For additional information about this program, call the Director at 255-9074, email the
office in 156 Olin Hall at, or visit

Undergraduate Research

Engineering Learning Initiatives (ELI) is committed to facilitating connections and providing
funding support for undergraduate students who are motivated to pursue research
opportunities during their time at Cornell. Research enhances the undergraduate experience
by allowing students to apply the skills and knowledge learned in the classroom to
real engineering problems and to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in their
fields. Research gives students the opportunity to interact closely with faculty mentors
and, in many instances, to develop valuable industry connections. Engineering students
and faculty members may apply for funding awards to support undergraduate research
projects for the fall, spring, and summer terms. Funds may be used to provide a student
stipend or to cover project expenses. Student researchers submit a report and present their
work in a public poster session at the end of the term. For more information on tips for locating a faculty mentor, suggested research topics, application information, selection criteria, and funding sources, visit Engineering Learning Initiatives on the web at

Cooperative Programs with The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

For information about program options at Johnson, stop by the admissions office in 111
Sage Hall or visit the web site: