Engineering Communications Requirement

The Engineering Communications Requirement provides engineering students with dedicated instruction that will result in strategies for "learning to learn" how to communicate. Communication is an ever-evolving skill; there is never one answer or final solution. Communication skills are gained, honed, and enacted over a lifetime.

The College of Engineering has several options/paths for fulfilling the Engineering Communications Requirement. The approaches are diverse, and each of the options attempts to focus on written and oral communication in context.

The College of Engineering requires the Engineering Communication Requirement be met by all undergraduates. The College asserts that engineering communication is much more than writing; it is also presenting, persuading, working in teams, and designing complex communication through multimodal channels. The word communication also pulls in the skills of creating visuals (graphs, charts, data visuals, sketches, schematics, photos, etc.) that support engineering work. No courses from other universities meet this requirement, via transfer or other means (see Category 6 in the Undergraduate Engineering Handbook).

General Policies for all ENGRC Courses

  • All ENGRC courses, if passed, fulfill the Engineering Communications Requirement for  undergraduate graduation. 

  • Cornell's ENGRC courses are graded A-F; there is not A+ option because ENGRC courses do not offer extra credit.

  • At Cornell University, all students are expected to follow the Code of Academic Integrity. As always, submitting work not done by yourself is an academic integrity violation. This includes submitting work created by ChatGPT, or copied from another AI service, bot, or website, as your own work. Submitting work generated by ChatGPT or any other similar program will trigger an Academic Integrity filing. The only exception to this is if your instructor assigns a ChatGPT assignment wherein students will explore the affordances, constraints, and issues of using artificial intelligence to communicate engineering, technical, scientific, business, or academic work.

There are several ways to fulfill the

Engineering Communications Requirement. 

Key Academic Dates

CATEGORY A: Via the Engineering Communications Program Courses and Opportunities

Courses in Category A will fulfill the Engineering Communications Requirement for all majors. 

1. Take and pass an offered Engineering Communications course. Please see "note" at the bottom of Category A for more information.

2. NO LONGER OFFERED. ENGRC 3024. 

3. Enroll in and pass ENGRC 3023 , a 1cr attachment to an engineering course that is not one of the officially designated W-I or C-I courses. CE instructors may occasionally wish to extend communication competencies with added work inside their course for a given semester so that it will fulfill the Engineering Communications Requirement. With the approval of the CCGB’s Subcommittee on Engineering Communications, instructors may have students co-register in ENGRC 3023, which may be taken more than once with different courses by permission of the engineering instructors.  As a 1cr offering, this course does not fulfill a Liberal Studies requirement, even via petition.

To begin, send an email to engrcomm_info@cornell.edu, requesting the full ENGRC 3023 information packet to begin. Please insert "3023 request" in the subject line.

For questions or an appointment to discuss options, please send an email immediately requesting an appointment at engrcomm_info@cornell.edu. Please see "note" at the bottom of Category A for more information. The highest grade possible for ENGRC 3023 is an "A," regardless of the grade in the associated course. 

  • All 3023 paperwork MUST be submitted by the last Wednesday of January for consideration for Spring semester consideration.
  • All 3023 paperwork MUST be submitted by the last Wednesday of August for consideration for Fall semester consideration.
  • Students who are approved will enroll in a 1cr graded course using a PIN provided by the ECP Director.

4. Complete and pass a 1cr partner course.  The current options are below, and they require enrollment in the departmental course (usually 3cr) AND the ENGRC course (1cr). These courses do not also fulfill the Liberal Studies requirement, even via petition. Please see "note" at the bottom of Category A for more information. The highest grade possible is an "A," regardless of the grade in the associated course. As a 1cr offering, this course does not fulfill a Liberal Studies requirement, even via petition.

  • ENGRC 3120 (partnered with ORIE 3120)
  • ENGRC 3152 (partnered with CIS/INFO 3152)
  • ENGRC 3610 (partnered with CEE 3610)
  • ENGRC 4152 (partnered with CIS/INFO 4152)
    • Please note that students may not take CIS/INFO 5152 and ENGRC 4152 at the same time.  If students are early admit to a Masters program, they need to fulfill their Engineering Communications Requirement as an undergraduate in both the CIS/INFO enrollment and the ENGRC enrollment. Petitions to change this will not be granted.
  • ENGRC 4590 (partnered with BEE 4590)

5. Apply for ENGRC 3341: Guided Fieldwork in Engineering Communications (formerly known as the ECR Petition).  Occasionally, a student will be doing a significant amount and variety of engineering or technical communication elsewhere in the College of Engineering, usually as part of a research team, as part of leadership in a project team, and the like.  It may be appropriate to petition the CCGB’s Subcommittee on Engineering Communications for permission to use this option for upcoming projects (not past ones) to meet the Engineering Communications Requirement.

It is essential for students and their mentoring Engineering faculty to prepare well in advance for this option.  Request the information packet and form by emailing engrcomm_info@cornell.edu with "3341 request" in the subject line. For questions or an appointment to discuss options, please send an email requesting an appointment at engrcomm_info@cornell.edu. This option does not also fulfill the Liberal Studies requirement, even via petition. Please see "notes" at the bottom of Category A for more information. The highest grade possible for ENGRC 3341 is an "A." As a 1cr offering, this course does not fulfill a Liberal Studies requirement, even via petition.

  • All 3341 paperwork MUST be submitted by the last Wednesday of January for consideration for Spring semester consideration.
  • All 3341 paperwork MUST be submitted by the last Wednesday of August for consideration for Fall semester consideration.
  • Students who are approved will enroll in a 1cr graded course using a PIN provided by the ECP Director.

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NOTE 1: The minimum course grade needed for the Engineering Communications Requirement will depend on your major and where you plan to use your engineering communications course towards your degree.  Please seek guidance from the Engineering Advising Office and/or from your major department; refer, too, to the CE Undergraduate Handbook.

NOTE 2: Petitioning the ECR: Petitioning cannot be used to substitute a regular engineering course in order to fulfill the Engineering Communications Requirement, even if that course has writing and presenting embedded within it.  Reason: Within each major, there might be courses that are designated as "Communication-Intensive" or "Writing-Intensive," and the majors departments decide that on their own (See Category B, below); those reasons reside inside that program or with that professor's pedagogical approach to the specific engineering class.  Many, many engineering professors use writing and presenting as ways to learn content and concepts within their courses; they do not intend to teach a communication-intensive course and do not want the responsibility that comes with that weightier course designation. If a course/major has decided within the major's department to offer it as a C-I course, that makes the course fall into Category B, below.

CATEGORY B: Via Other Paths

1. Take an officially designated Writing-Intensive (W-I) or Communication-Intensive (C-I) engineering course. Note: This list is not comprehensive, as different engineering departments may offer W-I  or C-I courses on an ad-hoc basis. Indeed, these offerings can change each semester. Students need to check with their advisors each semester to confirm if a course will fulfill the Engineering Communications Requirement; curriculum approvals are made by each major via CCGB approval.  W-I or C-I courses are based in a major, as part of that major's regular core offerings to its declared/affiliated undergraduate majors. This option does not also fulfill the Liberal Arts requirement, even via petition.  See also the CE Undergraduate Handbook

It's important to note that these options usually only fulfill the Engineering Communications Requirement for their own majors. Students, advisors, and departments need to cross check against each student's major requirements for graduation. The Engineering Communications Program does not control, monitor, or assess for these courses.  This option does not also fulfill the Liberal Arts requirement, even via petition.  See also the CE Undergraduate Handbook.

For questions or an appointment to discuss options, please send an email requesting an appointment at engrcomm_info@cornell.edu within the first two weeks of the semester or before.

  • BEE 4530 - Computer-Aided Engineering: Applications to Biological Processes
  • BEE 4730 - Watershed Engineering
  • BEE 4590 - Biosensors and Bioanalytical Techniques
  • BME 4190 - Laboratory Techniques for Molecular, Cellular, and Systems Engineering 
  • BME 4390 - Circuits, Signals, and Sensors: Instrumentation Laboratory 
  • BME 4490 - Biomechanics Laboratory
  • CHEME 4320 - Chemical Engineering Laboratory
  • ECE 4920 - ECE Technical Writing (pre-reqs of both ECE 4760 or ECE 5760)
    • Note: This course fulfills the ECR for both ECE students and CS students.
  • INFO 1200 - Information Ethics, Law, and Policy (fulfills the ECR for ISST majors only; after June 2024, this course will no longer fulfill the ECR for ISST students)
  • MSE 4030 - Senior Materials Laboratory I and MSE 4040 - Senior Materials Laboratory II (both)
  • MSE 4050 - Senior Experimental Thesis I and MSE 4060 - Senior Experimental Thesis II (both)
  • MAE 4272 - Fluids/Heat Transfer Laboratory
  • ORIE 4100 - Manufacturing Systems Design: A Consulting Boot Camp
    • Note 1: ORIE 5100 does not fulfill the Engineering Communications Requirement.
    • Note 2: This course fulfills the ECR for both ORIE students and CS students. 

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2.  Enroll in and complete  COMM 3030 or COMM 3020, taught by the Department of Communication (in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences). The Engineering Communications Program does not control, monitor, or assess for these courses.  This option does not also fulfill the Liberal Studies requirement, even via petition.  See also the CE Undergraduate Handbook .

NOTE: The minimum course grade needed for the Engineering Communications Requirement will depend on your major and where you plan to use your engineering communications course towards your degree.  Please seek guidance from the Engineering Advising Office and/or from your major department. See also the CE Undergraduate Handbook.