The Pre-Engineering Program

An Overview - Guideline for Transfer Students - Ohio Wesleyan’s Program Requirements - Other Ways To Do Engineering

The Engineering Schools

The California Institute of Technology - Case Western Reserve UniversityRensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Washington University (St. Louis)

Engineering Fields Offered at Engineering Schools


The Pre-Engineering Handbook is a student’s guide to Ohio Wesleyan’s pre-engineering program. It was written to fill the need for current and accurate written information about the pre-engineering program and to describe the program—its assumptions and its expectations, its workings and its spirit. On its own the Handbook is incomplete. It must be supplemented with the advice and interpretation of chemistry, physics, computer science, or biology professors. Some of the particular details in this Handbook may not reflect the most up-to-date information from our partner schools, since their policies can sometimes change without notice. In such cases, the information obtained directly from the engineering school takes precedence over the information in the Handbook.

Part I describes Ohio Wesleyan’s policies and procedures governing the pre-engineering program. It explains the purpose of the program and other opportunities to do engineering. Part II contains information about the engineering schools with which Ohio Wesleyan has cooperative agreements. Each school is described separately. 

The last section of the Handbook is a table of engineering fields. Only major engineering fields are included in this table; engineering fields other than those listed might be offered by one or more of the schools. A checkmark indicates that a particular field of engineering (not necessarily a major), or one closely related to it, is offered.

The information about the engineering schools is correct at the time of writing, but only the engineering schools can provide official information about their programs. Detailed official information should be obtained from the engineering schools and used to supplement Part II.


An Overview

The pre-engineering program, often called the 3-2 program, the dual-degree program, or the combined-degree program, is an interdisciplinary program that combines an education in the liberal arts with one in engineering. It results in an engineer with a complex understanding of problem solving, developed through the liberal arts.

Students earn two degrees: an Ohio Wesleyan bachelor of arts degree with a major in physics, pre-chemical engineering, pre-computer engineering, or biomedical engineering, and a bachelor’s-level engineering degree from an engineering school. Students normally study on the program for five years. They spend the first three years at Ohio Wesleyan and then transfer to an engineering school for the last two years. Ohio Wesleyan maintains cooperative agreements with six schools, listed below.

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Washington University (St. Louis)

(In addition, students may be able to attend other outstanding institutions through an informal arrangement. See the pre-engineering advisor for details.) The agreements are born of the belief that the liberal arts experience benefits engineers, personally and professionally. They provide students with the advantage of studying at a liberal arts college for three years while also providing them with entry into some of the nation’s best engineering schools. Thus, the liberal arts education that students receive enhance their professional development as engineers.

Students pursuing engineering under the 3-2 program follow essentially the same curriculum as regular engineering students. The coursework required of all engineering students can be divided into three areas: science and mathematics, the liberal arts, and engineering. In general, under the 3-2 program the first two areas are studied at Ohio Wesleyan, while the last one is studied at the engineering school. Non-engineering classes are usually also taken at the engineering school as well as Ohio Wesleyan. Throughout the entire 3-2 experience, the first two areas are studied in greater depth, since students must major in either physics or chemistry and meet the requirements for a bachelor of arts degree.

Pre-engineering students can major in physics, pre-chemical engineering, pre-computer engineering, or biomedical engineering at Ohio Wesleyan, depending upon their interest. Pre-chemical engineering and pre-computer engineering majors must major in chemical or computer engineering, respectively, at the engineering school. Not all engineering schools have all engineering fields available. (Consult the table below.) Students interested in biomedical engineering may study this engineering field at the engineering school, but are not limited to this option. Students who major in physics are eligible for all engineering fields except chemical engineering.

A Note for Freshmen: Freshmen pre-engineers must seek advice from a member of the physics, chemistry, mathematical sciences, zoology, or botany-microbiology department before registering for first-semester classes to decide which courses to take. While this is important for all students, it is especially important for freshmen because the pre-engineering program coursework must be started from the first semester.

To qualify for Ohio Wesleyan’s B.A., pre-engineering students must fulfill Ohio Wesleyan’s program requirements in three years and obtain approval to graduate on the pre-engineering program (transfer students see below). The program requirements are described in this Handbook and listed in the Ohio Wesleyan Catalog.

Overview of combined-degree engineering programs, and sponsoring departments:

  • Combined Bachelor’s/Professional Degrees

Combined-Degree Engineering Programs:

  • Biomedical Engineering (Botany-Microbiology; Zoology)
  • Chemical, Ceramic, Environmental Engineering (Chemistry)
  • Computer, Electrical Engineering (Mathematics and Computer Science, Physics/Astronomy)
  • Aerospace, Ceramic, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Electronic, Environmental, Industrial, Materials, Mechanical, Nuclear Engineering (Physics/Astronomy)

Programs in the sponsoring departments:

  • Botany-Microbiology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics/Astronomy
  • Zoology

To obtain approval to graduate from Ohio Wesleyan on the pre-engineering program, students must file a petition with the Registrar sometime before the end of the last semester at Ohio Wesleyan. This petition, known as the Petition for Admission to the Pre-Engineering Program, is acted upon by the Academic Status Committee. The purpose of the petition is to officially declare the intent to pursue the pre-engineering program and to request approval. Approval is normally granted to all students that meet Ohio Wesleyan’s program requirements.

Admission to engineering school requires that pre-engineering students meet the 3-2 program admission requirements of the engineering school(s) and be nominated (recommended) by the Dual-Degree Program Liaison at Ohio Wesleyan. The admission requirements of the four engineering schools are described in Part II and should be verified with them. Admission is not necessarily given to every student that meets the admission requirements and has Ohio Wesleyan’s recommendation. All decisions regarding admission and financial aid are made by the engineering schools and not by Ohio Wesleyan.

Ohio Wesleyan nominates students to engineering schools during the third year. Students should obtain a letter of nomination from the Dean of Academic Affairs. The nature of the nomination varies--some schools require a confidential letter of recommendation; others want a simple confirmation that the student has completed all the stated requirements. Students must ensure that the Dean is aware of the nature of the required letter.

The nomination (or recommendation) is granted on the basis of the student’s academic performance at Ohio Wesleyan. Successful completion of all of Ohio Wesleyan’s program requirements is the only prerequisite for nomination.

A Note for International Students: International students should ensure that they are aware of the financial aid policies of the engineering schools.

A Note for All Students: Most schools require an official Ohio Wesleyan transcript to accompany the letter of nomination. An official transcript is released by the Registrar’s Office only after the student has paid all school bills.

Once students enroll at an engineering school, they follow the course requirements of their engineering field. Students must arrange for a transcript of the complete set of courses taken at the engineering school to be sent to the Ohio Wesleyan registrar in order to meet the OWU graduation requirements. The Ohio Wesleyan B.A. will be conferred upon completion of the engineering degree.

Students are encouraged to learn about the programs at the engineering schools by talking with the pre-engineering advisors, professors, and 3-2 students at engineering schools, and by obtaining current information from the schools.

If students have information on other schools with which Ohio Wesleyan might want to establish new 3-2 arrangements, they should share this information with one of the Associate Deans of Academic Affairs.

A Guideline for Transfer Students

Since transfer students are normally considered on a case-by-case basis, there are no definite policies regarding their eligibility for the pre-engineering program. All transfer students must ensure that both the Ohio Wesleyan pre-engineering adviser and the director of the pre-engineering program at the engineering school approve of the transfer. Further, students who spend more than one year at another institution will almost certainly have to spend at least another two years at Ohio Wesleyan if they wish to pursue the program.

Students who transfer into Ohio Wesleyan may face problems in pursuing the pre-engineering program. Since the pre-engineering program requires students to spend three years at a U.S. liberal arts institution, students transferring from other countries may be unable to pursue the program unless they spend three years at Ohio Wesleyan. Students that transfer from a non-liberal arts U.S. institution might face a similar problem.

Students who start at Ohio Wesleyan in the spring semester may be unable to complete the program requirements in three years. Because sequential courses in math, physics, and chemistry normally start in the fall, they may have to spend seven semesters at Ohio Wesleyan to complete the program requirements.

Some of the curricular requirements can be met by using courses transferred from another institution. Chemistry and physics courses are transferred only with the department’s approval.

Interested transfer students should consult with the pre-engineering adviser and the engineering school(s) before deciding to enroll at Ohio Wesleyan.

Ohio Wesleyan’s Program Requirements

Pre-engineering students must fulfill the general degree requirements, including Competency in English, Competency in Writing Across the Curriculum, Foreign Language Competency, Diversity, and Distribution courses as described in the Catalog. However, note the following exceptions to this information:

Upper-level Courses: There is no upper level course requirement, although a number of upper level courses are individually required for each separate pre-engineering major.

Distribution: Students must fulfill standard OWU distribution requirements.

NB: Some of the engineering schools have more extensive requirements than OWU. Be sure to consult the publications of the engineering schools you have an interest in attending.

In addition, students must meet the following requirements (transfer students see above):

Number of Courses: Complete at least 24 courses (each a 1.00-unit course, a 1.25-unit course or two modular courses in the same department) with at least a D-.

Grade Point Average: A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 is required for nomination (RPI requires 3.30 and Washington University requires 3.25, both overall and within all science and math courses).

Residency: Three years of residency at a liberal arts college in the United States.

Requirements for the Majors

Physics pre-engineering option:

Physics: Seven physics courses are required. PHYS 110C&L, 111C&L, and 280C&L are required. "Pick two" from PHYS 275, 345, and 375. Choice between PHYS 310 or 320. Choice between PHYS 360 or 380

Chemistry: CHEM 110 and 111 are required.

Mathematics/Computer Science: Four courses are required: MATH 110, 111, 210, 280; two are recommended: MATH 330 and 380. CS 110 is heavily recommended, as some schools require it to be admitted.

Pre-chemical engineering:

Chemistry: Nine courses are required: CHEM 110, 111, 260, 261, 270, 350, 351, 352, 460.

Mathematics: Three courses are required: MATH 110, 111, and 210. (For students interested in Caltech, additional calculus-based math is required.) MATH 280 is recommended.

Physics: PHYS 110 and 111 are required. (For students interested in Caltech or CWRU, additional physics is required.)

Pre-computer engineering:

Computer Science: Six courses are required: CS 110, 250, 255, 270, either CS 360 or 380, and one from CS 320, 340, 350, 355, 360, 370, 380, or 410.

Mathematics: Five courses are required: MATH 110, 111, 210, 250, and 280.

Physics: Three courses are required: PHYS 110, 111 and an electronics course (either PHYS 275 or 375, with the latter recommended). (For students interested in Caltech or CWRU, additional physics is required.)

Chemistry: CHEM 110 and 111 are required.

Pre-biomedical engineering:

Zoology/Botany-Microbiology: Three courses are required. BIOL 120 and 325 are required. "Pick one" from CHEM 261, BIOL 271, or ZOOL 351.

Chemistry: Three courses are required: CHEM 110, 111, and 260.

Mathematics: Four courses are required: MATH 110, 111, 210 and 280.

Physics: Three courses are required: PHYS 110 and 111 and either PHYS 275 or 280. (For students interested in Caltech or CWRU, additional physics is required.

Other Ways To Do Engineering

Besides the formal pre-engineering program, Ohio Wesleyan students can obtain a degree in engineering in three ways: an informal 3-2 pre-engineering program, graduate study in engineering (i.e., a 4-2 program), and transfer to an engineering school.

Informal Pre-Engineering Program

This is essentially a 3-2 pre-engineering program, but with an engineering school that does not have a formal agreement with Ohio Wesleyan. Schools such as Ohio State and Georgia Tech are examples of institutions that are viable options. Students may be able to transfer to an engineering school of their choice without having to forfeit earning the Ohio Wesleyan B.A. If the student is accepted by the engineering school and has completed all of Ohio Wesleyan’s program requirements as listed above, he or she should petition to the Registrar for approval. Once the approval has been granted by the Registrar and endorsed by the department, the student will receive the Ohio Wesleyan B.A. upon completion of the engineering program.

Graduate Study in Engineering

It is possible for students to enroll in graduate programs in engineering after completing the Ohio Wesleyan B.A. However, most graduate schools in engineering prefer to enroll students with engineering backgrounds, especially in popular fields such as electrical engineering. Thus, it is harder for students from Ohio Wesleyan to be admitted directly into graduate programs. Most graduate schools would require some undergraduate work in engineering. Also, while some graduate engineering programs might admit exceptionally qualified applicants without an engineering background, they might not consider such students for financial support, particularly in popular fields like electrical engineering.

Students without an undergraduate engineering background may be ineligible for professional certification.

Regular Transfer

Students may be able to transfer to an undergraduate engineering program after one or two years. The student then forfeits earning an Ohio Wesleyan B.A. In recent years, a few students have pursued this option and been admitted to schools like Washington University, Cornell, Purdue, and the University of Texas at Austin.


Important Addresses

Director, Office of Admission 1-63
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA 91125
Tel: (818) 356-6341

Caltech Financial Aid Office
Mail Code 20-90
383 S. Hill Ave
Pasadena, CA 91125
Tel: (626) 395-6280


Sources of Information: Fall Enrollment 2018-2019

General Description

The California Institute of Technology is a private university of about 948 undergraduates (M/F = 1.22), 1,285 graduate students (M/F = 2.45), and approximately 300 full-time faculty members.

There are other options open at Caltech that go beyond the engineering program. These include areas of applied and interdisciplinary science such as applied physics, astronomy, geophysics, geochemistry, planetary science. If you are interested in one of these opportunities, see Dr. Andereck.

Admissions Policy

Admission to Caltech is selective and not guaranteed. Caltech admits an average of 16 pre-engineering students each year from nine liberal arts colleges. It is assumed that after three years the student will have completed “the basic science requirement” (two years of physics and calculus, one year of chemistry) and the “humanities and social science requirements” (6.40 OWU units in the humanities and social sciences) with a grade point average of 3.00 or better. It is also assumed that the student will not have graduated from Ohio Wesleyan.

Admissions Procedures

Applications are available from the pre-engineering adviser. Students must submit an official transcript along with the application (which includes essays), and must arrange for letters of recommendation from a faculty member and from the 3-2 liaison officer to be sent to Caltech. The completed application is to be sent to Caltech by April 1. There is no application fee. Caltech states that decisions are made around mid-April; in the past few years students have not received notification until the second or third week of May. Caltech will fax their letters of notification if the applicants so request in writing. (All applicants are welcome to use Ann Quillin’s fax number: 614-368-3314.)

Financial Aid Policy

Caltech is committed to providing sufficient aid to allow admitted students to enroll. Most aid awards are need-based, with the exception of “name” scholarships. The financial aid package is made up of grants or scholarships, student employment, and low-interest loans. Other financing options include summer research (SURF) and outside scholarships offered to students regardless of need.

Caltech meets the full demonstrated financial need of all admitted U.S. students. No financial assistance is available for international transfer and 3/2 students.  Only international transfer and 3/2 applicants who can demonstrate their ability to pay the full cost of a Caltech undergraduate education will be considered for admission.

International transfer and 3/2 applicants will need to acknowledge that they cannot apply for financial aid by submitting the International Transfer and 3/2 Student Supplemental Form as part of their admissions application.

Please refer to the Caltech Financial Aid FAQ website for more information.

Financial Aid Procedures

Financial aid forms can be obtained from the Caltech Financial Aid Office anytime after January 1. U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens file forms with the College Scholarship Service, and international students with the Caltech Financial Aid Office. The deadline is March 2 for all students. Note that this is before the deadline for the application for admission. All financial aid applicants will be required to submit signed copies of their own and their parents’ tax returns. International students must submit translated returns. Caltech notifies students whether they will receive financial aid at the time of admission.

Student Housing

Living in university owned housing is not a requirement for the 3/2 program. It should be noted that there is a wait list for on-campus housing for those who do wish to live on campus. Admitted students will be contacted about housing over the summer.


Important Addresses

Director, Transfer and Binary Programs
Case Academic Affairs
Baker Building
Cleveland, OH 44106-7028

University Office of Financial Aid
Case Western Reserve University
Yost Hall, Room 435
2049 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
Cleveland, OH 44106-7049
Tel: (216) 368-4530

Tel: (216) 368-2000


Sources of Information: 2019 Enrollment Statistics, 2018 Faculty/Staff Statistics, Application

General Description

Case Western Reserve University is a private university of 5,383 undergraduates (M/F: 1.17), 2,575 graduate students (M/F: 0.96), and over 1,000 engineering students. There are about 1,250 full-time faculty members.

Admissions Policy

To be admitted, the student must have a favorable recommendation from the pre-engineering adviser, a cumulative grade point average of 3.00, and a B average in all math and science courses. The student is required to have completed 24 units, including at least the following course work:

  • Math: a calculus sequence including multivariable calculus and differential equations.
  • Physics: calculus-based courses covering mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and modern physics.
  • Chemistry: a one-year sequence, including lab.
  • Computer Science: one course in Pascal or C/C++.
  • Humanities/Social Science: 6.40 units and fulfillment of Ohio Wesleyan’s requirements.
  • Chemical Engineering: courses in physical and organic chemistry with lab and courses in mechanics.

Admissions Procedures

Applications are available from the 3-2 Engineering page on the website, and should be submitted before May 1 (October 1 for Spring). Admission is on a rolling basis. Official transcripts (including high school transcript), a recommendation from a college instructor (the pre-engineering adviser would be a good choice), and the “Statement of Good Standing” completed by the Registrar should be included with the application. There is a $70 application fee.

Financial Aid Policy

Accepted domestic students are eligible to receive $2,500 in scholarships per semester awarded by the Case Alumni Association and are encouraged to apply within their first three weeks on campus at Case Western Reserve. Students are also eligible for need-based aid awarded as grants, loans and Federal Work-Study.

Financial Aid Procedures

U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens should obtain forms from the CWRU Financial Aid Office and submit them to the College Scholarship Service (CWRU code # 1105) by February 1. Signed copies of parents’ and the student’s most recent federal income tax returns are to be sent to the CWRU Financial Aid Office with the student’s name, social security number, and “undergraduate” at the top.

Optional Programs

The Co-op program; pre-engineering students may participate after their first semester at CWRU.


Important Addresses

Director of Transfer Admissions/Special Programs
Admissions and Financial Aid Building
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180-3590

Tel: (518) 276-8146, or 1-800-448-6562
Fax: (518) 276-4072

Director, Financial Aid
Admissions and Financial Aid Building
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180-3590

Tel: (518) 276-6813


Sources of Information: RPI Transfer Application, 

General Description

RPI is a private university of about 6,600 undergraduates, 1,300 graduate students and 400 full-time faculty members.

Admissions Policy

Admission is based on the nomination of the pre-engineering adviser. The student is expected to have a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 and to have completed at least the following course work: two years of humanities and social sciences, two years of mathematics, one and a half years of physics, and half a year of chemistry. Chemistry-based engineering fields require three additional courses: one course each in physical and organic chemistry and a third chemistry course. Biomedical and environmental engineering require an introduction to biology, preferably physiology.

Admissions Procedures

Forms are available from the Transfer Admissions page of the website. The application should be submitted by June 1 (November 1, for Spring admissions) and be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from the pre-engineering adviser and official transcripts. There is no application fee. Admissions are made on a rolling basis.

Financial Aid Policy

Financial aid is mostly need based; merit-based awards are available to U.S. citizens only. In addition, RPI scholarships of $5,000 a year for Ohio Wesleyan students are decided by our faculty. The financial aid package is a combination of scholarship, loan and/or job.

There is no financial assistance for international students except for the above scholarship.

Financial Aid Procedures

Applications are available from the Financial Aid page of the RPI website. The completed forms should be submitted by February 1 and be accompanied by financial aid transcripts from Ohio Wesleyan and a copy of the student’s federal income tax returns. If you do not already have one, a CSS profile with the college board must be created in order to be eligible for financial aid.


Important Addresses

Assistant Dean for Dual Degree Student Recruitment
Scott Crawford
Campus Box 1100
Tel: (314) 935-4873

Financial Aid Office
Gary M. Sumers Welcome Center
1 Wrighton Way, St. Louis, MO 63105
314-935-5900 | 888-547-6670
Tel: (314) 935-5900


Sources of Information: Dual Degree Program, 1990-1992; Undergraduate Programs, 1991-92 Dual Degree program in Engineering and Applied Science (1991-1992); Intensive Courses in Engineering and Applied Science (January 1992); COOP-School of Engineering and Applied Science Cooperative Education Program.

General Description

Washington University is a private university of about 5,000 undergraduates (M/F: 1.08), 3,000 graduate students (M/F: 1.35), and 700 international students. Washington University has about 1,720 full-time faculty members. The School of Engineering and Applied Science enrolls 1,000 undergraduates and has 85 faculty members. Approximately 20 to 25 percent of the graduating class is composed of pre-engineering students.

Admissions Policy

Under normal circumstances admission to Washington University is automatic provided the student has completed all of the requirements and has a grade point average of 3.00, both overall and in science and mathematics. Washington University requires that the student have completed, or be in a position to complete, at least the “Continuance Requirements” listed below:

  • Mathematics: Multi-variable calculus and a separate course in differential equations.
  • Physics: A one-year calculus-based sequence that includes laboratory.
  • Chemistry: A one-year sequence that includes laboratory.
  • Chemical Engineering Majors: A one-year organic chemistry sequence with laboratory.
  • Computer Programming: One course or certified proficiency in any language.
  • English Composition: Evidence of proficiency
  • Humanities and Social Sciences: 2.20 units in one department, with at least one upper- level course (note that 2.0 units will not satisfy this); 5.00 units in all approved areas (Dual Degree Program, p. 11).

Note: Students should assure ahead of time that their Ohio Wesleyan courses suffice for Washington University.

Admissions Procedures

Application forms can be obtained from the Director of the Dual Degree Program or the Ohio Wesleyan pre-engineering adviser. The student can apply any time after the sophomore year and prior to receipt of the first degree. The deadline for Fall admission is March 1, and that for Spring admission is September 1. Admission is on a rolling basis.

The application must be accompanied by a transcript (unofficial copy is acceptable) and the recommendation of the Ohio Wesleyan pre-engineering adviser. There is no application fee.

Financial Aid Policy

Financial aid at Washington University is based on merit and financial need. There is no financial assistance based only on need. A few merit awards are available to U.S. citizens only (for example, the Harold P. Brown Engineering Fellowship Competition).

The financial aid package comprises grants and subsidized loans. Financial aid packages do not include a College Work Study component. Several self-help programs for students are available (including Perkins Loans, Guaranteed Student Loans, and the Cost Stabilization Plan).

International students may qualify for partial-tuition scholarships for up to a maximum of $8,700 for 1990-91. Loans are not awarded to international students, and participation in the CSP requires a U.S. co-signer.

Financial Aid Procedures

Financial aid forms may be obtained from Ohio Wesleyan’s Financial Aid Office or from the College Scholarship Service. U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens should request that an evaluation be sent to Washington University (code # 6929). International students should contact the Director of Dual Degree programs for the forms. The financial aid forms are required by Washington University only after an offer of admission has been made.

Optional Programs

“The Engineering Cooperative Education Program” (COOP) and the “January Intensive Courses.” January intensive courses are held over the Christmas vacation at WashU. They provide liberal arts students with an introduction to engineering. The application deadline is November 15.

An Overview of Engineering Opportunities

Only engineering fields are included in this table. Other engineering fields might be offered in addition to the ones listed here; please check the catalogs.

Fields Alfred University California Institute of Technology Case Western Reserve University Polytechnic University Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Washington University
Aerospace or Aeronautical   X X X X  
Biomedical     X   X X
Chemical   X X X X X
Civil   X X X X  
Computer   X (see note) X X X X
Electrical X X X X X X
Industrial X   X X X X
Mechanical X X X X X X
Ceramic X          

Note: OWU CS majors may not select this option. Open to other 3-2 majors.

Department Contact Info


Schimmel/Conrades Science Center
Delaware, OH

Department Contacts

Chair: Brad Trees
Professor of Physics & Astronomy
Schimmel/Conrades Science Center 139
740-368-3779 |

Academic Assistant: Joshua Seiders
Schimmel/Conrades Science Center 201
740-368-3907 |