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Academic Programs

At many schools, degree programs are highly specialized. Students take many classes in their major, but few classes in other fields. At Olin, it’s not just about what students know, but what they do with that knowledge. The curriculum is designed to provide technical depth in the areas most relevant to what students are likely to do after graduation. Every student learns about software, electronics and mechanical systems, and has several chances to work with students from other majors on interdisciplinary projects.

Every Olin student gets some basic electrical and computer engineering experience. In the first year, students learn basic circuit analysis, design, and testing and works with sensors, data acquisition, and signal processing in Introduction to Sensors, Instrumentation and Measurement. In the sophomore year, students gain experience with microcontrollers and embedded software development in Principles of Engineering.

In Design Nature, every Olin student gets mechanical engineering experience by designing a toy that hops or swims (mechanical design), building a working prototype of that toy (fabrication), and modeling and predicting the behavior of a system like a monkey swinging from tree to tree or an exploding fireworks shell (mechanical and thermal analysis).

Our degree programs are designed to complement these common experiences with specialization and technical depth. Olin offers ABET­ accredited degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), Mechanical Engineering (ME) and Engineering (E), a flexible degree program that lets students choose or create an area of concentration.

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)

The ECE major provides advanced opportunities for students to analyze, design, and build computing and communication systems. Students apply the principles of linear systems, circuit theory, microelectronics, computer architecture, communication theory, software engineering and signal processing to understand and build these systems.

The Course Requirements of the ECE program are:

Requirement

Course Number and Title

ECE Math

 MTH 2110 Discrete Mathematics

ECE ­ All of:

ENGR 2410 Signals and Systems

ENGR 2420 Introduction to Microelectronic Circuits

ENGR 2510 Software Design

ENGR 3410 Computer Architecture

ECE ­ One of:

ENGR 3415 Digital Signal Processing

ENGR 3420 Analog and Digital Communications

ECE ­ One of: 

ENGR 3110 Elecanisms

ENGR 3370 Controls

ENGR 3390 Fundamentals of Robotics

ENGR 3415 Digital Signal Processing (if not used above)

ENGR 3420 Analog and Digital Communications (if not used above)

ENGR 3425 Mixed Analog-Digital VLSI I

ENGR 3427 Mixed Analog-Digital VLSI II

ENGR 3430 EE Prototyping

ENGR 3440 Principles of Wireless Communication

ENGR 3450 Semiconductor Devices

MTH 3140/ENGR 3140 Error Control Codes

any level 3000 or higher E:C course, or other course approved by ECE program group

Mechanical Engineering (ME)

The ME major provides advanced opportunities for students to design, build and analyze mechanical and thermal systems. Students apply theories of energy, heat, and fluid flow to systems ranging from micro­fluidic devices to jet engines and develop tools to design and analyze the mechanical strength of structures and the motion of mechanisms.

The Course Requirements of the ME program are:

Requirement

Course Number and Title

ME Math ­- One of:

MTH 3120 Partial Differential Equations

MTH 3150 Numerical Methods and Scientific Computing

MTH 3170 Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos

or other math course approved by ME program group

ME - All of:

ENGR 2320 Mechanics of Solids and Structures

ENGR 2340 Dynamics

ENGR 2350 Thermodynamics

ENGR 3310 Transport Phenomena

ENGR 3330 Mechanical Design

ME - One of:

ENGR 3110 Elecanisms

ENGR 3260 Design for Manufacturing (if not used to satisfy the Design Depth requirement)

ENGR 3340 Dynamics of Mechanical and Aerospace Structures

ENGR 3345 Mechanical and Aerospace Systems

ENGR 3370 Controls

ENGR 3390 Fundamentals of Robotics

ENGR 3392 Integrated Robotics Systems

ENGR 3610 Biomedical Materials

ENGR 3710 Systems (if not used to satisfy the Design Depth requirement)

ENGR 3810 Structural Biomaterials

ENGR 3820 Failure Analysis and Prevention

or other course approved by ME program group

Engineering

The Engineering degree program gives students the option to pursue new areas of engineering and interdisciplinary combinations of engineering and other fields. Each student in the Engineering degree program designs a concentration that has depth, breadth, coherence and rigor and also satisfies the Olin College graduation requirements. All paths to graduation with the Engineering degree provide for all outcomes required by the ABET General Criteria.

Students who choose the Engineering degree must submit a plan of study along with their declaration of major. The plan lists the courses the student intends to take to fulfill graduation requirements, and demonstrates that these courses (along with additional required courses) constitute a major in engineering that has depth, breadth, coherence, and rigor. 

A set of pre­defined concentrations in Bioengineering, Computing, Design, Material Science, and Robotics are provided below. Students may design their plan of study using one of these pre­defined concentrations, or may create a new concentration that addresses their own interests. Students may choose a name for their self­-designed concentration. This concentration name appears on the diploma but not on the official transcript.

The plan of study must be signed by the student’s adviser and two faculty members whose area of expertise is relevant to the proposed area of study (if the adviser’s area is relevant, the adviser can count as one of the two).

Plans of study are reviewed by the Engineering Program Group. This group is responsible for checking the following criteria: 

• Do the proposed courses constitute a major in Engineering that has breadth, depth, coherence and rigor?

• Do the faculty who approved the plan have relevant expertise? Should other faculty be consulted?

• Is the plan feasible based on a reasonable forecast of course offerings? The availability of faculty and other resources determines which classes are offered and their schedule, which may limit a student’s ability to complete a particular concentration.

• Is the plan comparable to the sample concentrations and previous student­-designed concentrations? If a student­-designed concentration is named, is the proposed name accurate and appropriate?

All course plans go through the same review process whether they are modeled after one of the sample concentrations or self­-designed. The plan of study is provisional. If approved and completed, a student may use it to graduate. Minor substitutions may be made with adviser approval; substantive changes require approval of the Engineering Program Group. 

Engineering: Bioengineering (E:Bio)

Bioengineering is an interdisciplinary concentration rooted in engineering problem solving and a deep understanding of biology. The E:Bio concentration prepares students to approach problems important to biology, medical research, and clinical studies.

Requirement

Description or Course Number and Title

E:Bio Math

Four credits of advanced Mathematics appropriate to the program of study

E:Bio Biology

Four credits of advanced Biology

E:Bio Bioengineering

12 credits of coursework appropriate to Bioengineering

E: Bio Elective

Four additional credits supporting a student's Bioengineering focus area

Students wishing to pursue the E:Bio concentration within the Engineering major must develop a specific program of study in consultation with bioengineering faculty. As Bioengineering is a very broad field, students should specify the Bioengineering focus area they are interested in on their course plan and chose courses that support area of study. Below are some guidelines on course selection. 

Advanced Mathematics courses include MTH 3120 Partial Differential Equations and MTH 3170 Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos. Advanced Biology courses include SCI 2210 Immunology and SCI 3210 Human Molecular Genetics in the Age of Genomics. Bioengineering courses include all ENGR 36xx¬series courses, as well as ENGR 3810 Structural Biomaterials. Bioengineering Electives are additional courses that support a student’s chosen area of focus within Bioengineering (e.g. relevant Physics, Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, Computing, Electrical Engineering courses that build supporting skills). E:Bio course plans may include classes at Babson, Brandeis, Wellesley, or other institutions. Note that this is not an exhaustive list of acceptable courses; other courses may be used to fulfill each of these requirements if they are part of an approved course plan.

Engineering: Computing (E:C)

The Computing concentration integrates the study of computer science and software engineering within a broad interdisciplinary context. The E:C concentration offers significant flexibility, particularly with courses taken off-­campus. 

Requirement

Description or Course Number and Title

E:C Math

MTH 2110 Discrete Mathematics

E:C Core

ENGR 2510 Software Design

ENGR 3520 Foundations of Computer Science

ENGR 3525 Software Systems or approved substitutions

E:C Electives

eight additional credits in computing

Additional computing credits may include Olin courses such as ENGR 3540 Computational Modeling, ENGR 3410 Computer Architecture, advanced computer science courses at Babson, Brandeis, Wellesley, or study away institutions. ENGR 3220 Human Factors and Interface Design may count toward the course requirements of E:C, but only if it is not used to satisfy the Design Depth requirement. 

Engineering: Design (E:D)

E: Design is an interdisciplinary concentration emphasizing synthesis, processes and methods of practice that blends engineering and AHSE. The E: Design concentration prepares students to address important societal and environmental needs through design thinking.

E: Design students work closely with the design faculty at Olin to define individually customized programs of studies that meet Olin credit requirements. It remains the student’s responsibility to ensure that their program of study also meets the requirements for graduate programs or professional practice.

Courses used by a student to meet the Design General Requirements may not simultaneously be used to meet the E: Design Core or Elective requirements.

E: Design Elective courses may be drawn from any area including AHSE, Engineering, Science or Math. Students are strongly recommended to consider one or more AHSE courses to meet this requirement. Design Research may be accomplished through an Independent­ study course advised by the design faculty. Design Research counts as Advanced Design.

E: Design courses may be drawn from cross registration or study away institutions with prior approval by design faculty. Note that courses at design schools will often meet the E: Design Elective requirement and not the E: Design Core requirement.

All E: Design programs of study should be consistent with the student’s educational goals and must contain sufficient depth, breadth, coherence, and rigor. All programs of study must receive prior approval by design faculty.

All E: Design programs of study must fulfill the General Graduation Requirements. 

Requirement

Description or Course Number and Title

E:D Core

Eight credits of approved Advanced Design courses; Four credits may be me by Design Research

E:D Electives

Twelve credits of approved coursework appropriate to the program of study

E:D Portfolio

Two credits of Independent Study on portfolio creation (optional)

 

Engineering: Materials Science (E:MS) 

Materials Science is an inherently interdisciplinary field with a strong presence throughout most engineering and science disciplines. Olin’s materials science concentration provides an integrated approach to materials, merging a variety of engineering design principles with concepts from solid­-state physics and applied chemistry. Students who complete the E:MS concentration will achieve an understanding of structure­, property­, processing­, performance relationships in materials, the ability to apply advanced scientific and engineering principles to materials systems, and the skills to synthesize appropriate technical and contextual information to solve materials selection and design problems.

Students wishing to pursue the Materials Science concentration within the Engineering major must develop a specific program of study in consultation with materials science and applied chemistry faculty. Such programs may emphasize different aspects of materials science, such as structural materials, solid-state properties of materials, processing and manufacturing, or applied chemistry.

Requirement

Description or Course Number and Title

E:MS

20 credits of engineering subjects appropriate to the program of study with a minimum of twelve credits in materials science subjects.

Engineering: Robotics (E:Robo)

Robotics is a multi­-disciplinary field. A student may have a passion for the software, sensing, mechanics, controls or integration aspects of robotics. All of these are equally a part of the field of Robotics. Olin’s Robotics concentration deals with the design, construction, operation and application of robots and computer systems including actuation, control, sensory feedback and information processing, integrating significant technology from multiple disciplines, with a focus on the fusion of electrical, software and mechanical engineering.

Requirement

Description or Course Number and Title

E:Robo Math

Four credits of advanced Mathematics appropriate to the program of study.

E:Robo Breadth

Four credits of coursework in software  AND

Four credits of coursework in mechanical engineering

E:Robo Depth

One of: 

ENGR 3390 Fundamentals of Robotics

ENGR 3590 Computational Robotics

and

ENGR 3392 Integrated Robotics Systems

E: Robo Elective

Four additional credits of related coursework

Students wishing to pursue the E:Robo concentration within the Engineering major must develop a specific program of study in consultation with robotics faculty members. In addition, a plan of study should contain both a statement of goals – including an explanation of focus area – and enough course material to support these goals. Robotics faculty members are available to help develop appropriate course selections. 

Advanced Mathematics courses typically include MTH 3120 Partial Differential Equations, MTH 3170 Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos, or MTH 2110 Discrete Mathematics. Appropriate courses in Software may include ENGR 2510 Software Design or other courses selected in consultation with cognizant faculty. Appropriate courses in Mechanical Engineering may include ENGR 2340 Dynamics or ENGR 3345 Controls or other courses.