Bachelor of Science in Engineering


Program Description

Earning your bachelor of science in engineering can lead to a diverse set of possible career paths in engineering.

Program Overview

If you want to earn your bachelor of science in engineering (B.S.E.) degree, you’ll need to major in engineering and complete the degree requirements for an engineering major.

The engineering major provides a strong foundation in engineering principles and emphasizes hands-on learning experiences. As an engineering major, you will:

  • Design solutions to engineering challenges beginning with your first engineering course: Intro to Engineering Design.
  • Gain knowledge of 3D design, model assembly, and engineering drawings.
  • Learn by doing—Cornell’s One Course At A Time fosters experiential learning in the courses, enabling you to work on engineering projects in and outside of the classroom.
  • Regularly practice writing, teamwork, and presentation skills.
  • Study the social, historical, economic, and environmental context in which engineering solutions are developed as part of your liberal arts curriculum.

As in all Cornell courses, you will learn in small classes taught by experienced professors whose full-time focus is creating engaging courses for undergraduates. Your classes will always be small, and you will quickly develop supportive relationships with your professors and other talented students.

As a capstone project to complete the engineering sciences major, you will work in a small group to formulate an engineering solution to a real-world problem. Specific projects are chosen in an area of the student’s interest with prior consultation with the instructor.

Engineering Program Mission Statement

We create a collaborative community in which faculty and students experience the satisfaction and practical power of doing engineering. Students learn to use fundamental principles to explain natural processes and their technological applications through active engagement in the classroom and laboratory. These experiences also develop research, communication, and teamwork skills essential to the practice of engineering.

Engineering program Educational Objectives

Cornell College’s Engineering B.S.E. degree program is designed to prepare students for work in the engineering industry, for graduate school in engineering fields, or for other pursuits that require the understanding of engineering concepts and processes. We expect graduates to demonstrate the following skills and abilities within five years of graduation:

  • Initiate and develop innovative solutions to complex problems, using both their engineering and liberal arts education;
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively with people from diverse backgrounds, in both leadership and support roles;
  • Demonstrate curiosity when encountering new situations and strive for excellence in the engineering profession;
  • Recognize professional standards and ethics, act with integrity with others, and contribute to their communities and the larger world.

Student Outcomes

In order to achieve the Education Objectives of the Cornell College Engineering B.S.E. degree program described above, students must develop a variety of skills and abilities, which are described here as student learning outcomes. In Spring 2018, the Department of Physics and Engineering adopted the ABET student learning outcomes for the Engineering (B.S.E.) program. While working to complete Cornell College’s Engineering B.S.E. degree, students will develop:

  1. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
  2. An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.
  3. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  4. An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.
  5. An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.
  6. An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
  7. An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Engineering Major Requirements

A minimum of 20-course credits distributed in the following areas:

Natural Science:

  • PHY 161 - General Physics I (1)AND PHY 162 - General Physics II (1)
  • CHE 121 - Chemical Principles I (1)OR CHE 161 - Accelerated General Chemistry (1)
  • One additional science course, chosen from one of the following departments or majors: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Geology, or Physics. All of the courses used to fulfill the requirement must be designated Science, Laboratory Science, or Mathematics and be acceptable for the minimal major in the offering department.


  • Completion of the calculus sequence (through MAT 122)
  • MAT 221 - Linear Algebra (1)
  • MAT 236 - Differential Equations (1)


A minimum of 12 EGR courses, including

  • EGR 131 - Introduction to Engineering Design (1)
  • EGR 231 - Engineering Mechanics (1)
  • EGR 235 - Experimental Engineering & Quality Control (1)
  • EGR 270 - Electronic Instrumentation (1)
  • EGR 271 - Engineering Thermodynamics (1)
  • EGR 311 - Engineering Circuits (1)
  • Four additional 300-level EGR courses
  • One elective EGR course (any level)
  • EGR 385 - Engineering Design Project (1) (Capstone course)

Engineering beyond the Classroom

The One Course schedule helps facilitate connections to local industry in the form of classroom visitors, field trips, and short-term internships or job shadows. You can also dedicate entire blocks for independent projects, and you enjoy an early summer break that allows you to make the most of summer internships.

Physics and engineering majors and faculty regularly engage in collaborative summer research projects. These projects allow you to develop important research skills while working both independently and alongside faculty mentors, and they often provide a stepping stone to research opportunities at larger institutions. Current research projects include:

  • Creating a virtual reality (VR) surgical simulator for orthopedic surgeons to alleviate the costs, risks, and errors associated with training surgical residents in real operating rooms.
  • Exploring properties of star-forming regions.
  • Developing videos showing how to construct useful equipment for both doing physics demonstrations and exploring a range of physical phenomena.

Admission to the B.S.E. degree

You can become a candidate for the B.S.E. once you have:

  • Completed seven Cornell courses with a GPA of at least 2.0
  • Been granted course credit with a grade of at least C- (or been granted exemption or credit by exam) in the following:
    • EGR 131
    • MAT 120 or 121
    • PHY 161
    • One other EGR course that counts towards the engineering major

Last updated Jan 2020

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About the School

Cornell College has been changing lives and changing educational norms since 1853. Located in Mount Vernon, Iowa, Cornell was the first college west of the Mississippi to grant women the same rights a ... Read More

Cornell College has been changing lives and changing educational norms since 1853. Located in Mount Vernon, Iowa, Cornell was the first college west of the Mississippi to grant women the same rights and privileges as men, and, in 1858, to award a degree to a woman. Read less