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Graduation Requirements

All students must complete a minimum of 120 credits, and must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in order to graduate from Olin.

Students must satisfy two classes of requirements in order to graduate from Olin: General Requirements and Program-Specific Requirements. General requirements must be satisfied by all students regardless of degree or concentration. Program-Specific Requirements vary depending on the degree being sought (ECE, ME or E) and, for the E degree, on the chosen concentration.

General Requirements and Program-Specific Requirements are further broken down into Distribution Requirements and Course Requirements, both of which must be satisfied.

Distribution Requirements specify the minimum total number of credits that must be completed in each of five broad areas (Engineering, Math, Science, AHS and Entrepreneurship). Course requirements specify which courses must be completed. Some course requirements can only be satisfied by completing a particular course. Other course requirements allow more choice. Some courses may be used to satisfy one of several course requirements, but students must choose only a single requirement to be satisfied by each course.

A course completion can only satisfy one course requirement. 

General Distribution and Course Requirements

General Distribution Requirements

The required minimum of 120 credits must be appropriately distributed among five areas of study. The table below gives the minimum credits required in each area.


Minimum Credits Required



Math and Science

30; of which at least 10 must be Math

AHS and Entrepreneurship

28; of which at least 12 must be AHS

A credit corresponds to an average of three hours of student work each week throughout an academic semester. Therefore, a four-credit course (the most common course size at Olin) generally requires students to spend 12 hours each week attending classes, completing homework, participating in laboratory activities, and fulfilling all other course responsibilities.

The course catalog lists, for each course, the number of credits earned and their area. Most courses provide credit in only one area. Some courses distribute their credits across more than one area. Students must register for at least 12 credits but no more than 20 credits each semester. Students typically register for 16 credits per semester. First year students are limited to 18 credits in the first semester. Some activities, like Passionate Pursuits and a few classes, provide non-degree credit, which appears on the transcript, but do not count toward Credit Requirements. Non-degree credit counts toward the maximum credits per semester, but not toward the minimum.

General Course Requirements

All Olin students, regardless of degree or concentration, must satisfy the following course requirements. The table includes one or more current classes that satisfy each requirement. We strongly encourage students to complete all required 1000 level courses prior to the start of their junior year. 

Math and Science

Course Number and Title


MTH 1111 / SCI 1111 Modeling and Simulation of the Physical World


MTH 2210 Linearity I


MTH 2220 Linearity II


Probability and Statistics - One of

MTH 2130 Probability and Statistics

MTH 2131/ENGR 3531Data Science

MTH 2132/SCI 2032 Bayesian Inference and Reasoning

MTH 2133 Computational Bayesian Statistics

MTH 2134/ENGR 2134 Regional Analysis in Development

Or designated alternative

Biology Foundation - One* of:

SCI 1210 Principles of Modern Biology with Laboratory

SCI 1220 Human Genetics and Genomics with Laboratory

SCI 1230 Think Like a Biologist with Laboratory

SCI 1240 Designing Better Drugs with Laboratory

SCI 1250 Six Microbes that Changed the World with Laboratory


An advanced biology course if a student received a score of 5 on AP biology.

* AP score of 3, 4 or completion of an IB curriculum qualifies a student to sit for an oral exam that may exempt them from one of the foundations and place them into an advanced biology course. 

Chemistry/Materials Science - One of:

SCI 1310 Introduction to Chemistry (with laboratory)

SCI 1410 Materials Science and Solid State Chemistry (with laboratory)

SCI 2320 Organic Chemistry (with laboratory)


Physics - One of:

SCI 1121 Electricity and Magnetism

SCI 1130 Mechanics

SCI 2130 Modern Physics (with instructor permission)

SCI 3120 Solid State Physics (with instructor permission)

SCI 3130 Advanced Classical Mechanics (with instructor permission)



Course Number and Title


ENGR 1125 Introduction to Sensors, Instrumentation and Measurement


ENGR 2210 Principles of Engineering


Engineering Capstone - One of:

ENGR 4190 Senior Capstone Project in Engineering (SCOPE)

ENGR 4290 Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship (ADE)

Both options are a two consecutive semester course requirement.


Course Number and Title


ENGR 1200 Design Nature


ENGR 2250 User-Oriented Collaborative Design


Design Depth Course - One of:

ENGR 3210 Sustainable Design

ENGR 3220 Human Factors and Interface Design

ENGR 3230 Investigating Normal: Adaptive and Assistive Technologies

ENGR 3250 Integrated Product Design

ENGR 3260 Design for Manufacturing

ENGR 3710 Systems

ENGR 3290 Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship (ADE)

See the current registration booklet for possible additional options, including special topics courses.

The Design Depth Courses listed above 1) focus on a major theme in design thinking covered at an advanced level, 2) involve substantial theoretical consideration of design principles, processes or methods, 3) present the theme and theoretical consideration at an interdisciplinary level covering material that is relevant and accessible to multiple disciplines, and 4) provide substantial project experience that aims to create a system, component or process to meet needs.

AHS and Entrepreneurship

Course Number and Title


AHS Foundation - One of:

AHSE 1100 History of Technology: A Cultural and Contextual Approach

AHSE 1122 The Wired Ensemble: Instruments, Voices, Players

AHSE 1130 Seeing and Hearing: Communicating with Photographs, Video and Sound

AHSE 1140 Culture & Difference: An Anthropological Approach

AHSE 1145  The Human Connection: Tools and Concepts from Anthropology for Understanding Today's World

AHSE1150 What is “I”

AHSE 1155  Identity from the Mind and the Brain

AHSE 1199 Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences Foundation Topic

All AHS foundation courses offer:

• an introduction and overview of an AHS discipline

• writing instruction and practice

• an introduction to contextual and critical thinking

• and examples of how one might integrate the content and perspectives of different disciplines.

AHSE 1515 Products and Markets


AHS or Entrepreneurship Depth of Study*

One of:

AHSE 4190 AHS Concentration

AHSE 4590 Entrepreneurship Concentration and Capstone


* For the AHS Concentration, students design a sequence of approved AHS discipline courses and must complete a minimum of 12 credits in this area. The 12 credits may be 8 credits of course work and an AHS Capstone Project, AHSE 4190, or the credits may come from a sequence of AHS courses without a project. For the Entrepreneurship concentration and capstone, students design a sequence of approved Entrepreneurship courses, totaling 8 credits. Students complete this study with a required capstone, AHSE 4590.


The Olin Self Study Requirement is a graduation requirement that all Olin students must fulfill with 4 credits of approved advanced work. All activities give students experience in identifying areas and questions of interest; developing and following a plan of study in pursuit of understanding important concepts in the proposed area or in pursuit of an answer to the proposed question; and communicating the knowledge they gain, apply, analyze, synthesize, and/or evaluate through the investigation.

All OSS activities must explicitly achieve the following:

  • Develop students’ skills in working independently to learn challenging material and to tackle challenging problems
  • Develop students’ skills in communication relevant to the field and project
  • Hone students’ skill and attitudes enabling life-long learning

Still have questions? Consult the complete User's Guide to Self Study @ Olin.

Approval varies depending on the type of project:

  1. If fulfilling the OSS requirement with an AHS or E! capstone project, approval of the project will go through those program committees.
  2. If fulfilling the OSS requirement with research, the research must be a second semester of research with the same faculty member to insure advanced level work at a 3000 or 4000 level. The research must also include a significant self-study component, receive a grade, and allow the student to contribute on an intellectual level to a field, and produce a relevant deliverable such as a literature review or work towards a research paper appropriate for submission.
  3. If fulfilling the OSS requirement with an Independent Study, the work must be sufficiently advanced to be considered equivalent to a 3000 or 4000 level course, an Olin faculty member must be the primary point of contact for the activity, and the project must receive a grade. The Olin Self Study Requirement (OSS) form must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the semester add deadline.  Signatures of the student, project adviser and disciplinary adviser (if appropriate) are required, as well as documentation that the proposal meets the standards set out above.
  4. If fulfilling the OSS requirement with an ARB approved course, the student must take the class for a grade. Courses can only be submitted for qualification to the ARB by faculty members. If a student believes they are taking a course that should fulfill the OSS requirement they should discuss this with the faculty member.