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Curriculum

Cornell Engineering offers 14 majors, which naturally overlap and share many of the same labs, cleanrooms, and other facilities in the college. Given the interdisciplinary structure of the college, the possibilities for specialization are practically endless.

 

For undergraduates in the College of Engineering, the first three semesters typically consist of what’s known as the Common Curriculum, which includes foundational courses in math, science, and engineering concepts. Students are ready to begin specializing by the beginning of the second semester of the sophomore year, applying to their major of choice in a process called “affiliation.” 

Deciding on a major is really an individual decision; there’s no standard technique for choosing between nanofabrication and toy design, for example, or space exploration and tsunami research. But whichever major or specialty students select, the College of Engineering seeks to nurture innovative spirits in their pursuit of careers that benefit human health and quality of life, increasing our knowledge of ways to apply physical laws to solve human problems.

Educational Objectives 
College of Engineering graduates will demonstrate early in their careers an ability to: 

  • apply their general educational experience and specific knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering to a wide variety of careers including industry, advanced engineering study, nontraditional engineering-related career paths, and graduate study. 
  • perform in a modern diverse working environment, working in multidisciplinary teams and communicating effectively with both professional colleagues and the public. 
  • lead design processes that include consideration of the impact designs have on people, societies, and the environment. 
  • model, analyze, and solve complex problems from a systems perspective. 
  • identify contemporary global issues and recognize their professional and ethical responsibility to contribute to solutions for the social, economic, and environmental challenges faced by humanity. 
  • engage in self-directed learning, including the pursuit of graduate study and professional development activities. 

Student Learning Goals 
In terms of their general abilities, our graduates will 

  1. Have a broad education, including liberal studies. 
  2. Be proficient in oral and written communication. 
  3. Be proficient in information literacy, i.e. be able to locate, evaluate, and effectively interpret claims, theories, and assumptions in science and engineering. 
  4. Have experience with teamwork. 
  5. Be aware of professional and ethical responsibilities. 

In terms of their discipline, students will be well grounded in the mathematical, scientific, and engineering skills that are the basis of their discipline. More specifically, our graduates will have: 

  1. The ability to design experiments, analyze the data, and interpret the results. 
  2. The ability to design, model, and analyze engineering systems. 
  3. The ability to formulate and solve problems. 
  4. The ability to use the techniques and tools necessary for the practice of their discipline.