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Engineering Options

The Elmhurst College Department of Physics offers several options for students who wish to study engineering. All of these options are designed to provide both a broader educational experience and a stronger basic science background than a traditional engineering curriculum provides. Further details may be obtained from Venkatesh Gopal, program coordinator.

Parallel Dual-Degree Program
A unique parallel dual-degree program offered in cooperation with Illinois Institute of Technology allows the student to simultaneously take basic science and Integrated Curriculum courses at Elmhurst and engineering courses at IIT. Engineering courses are taken at the IIT campus in Chicago. Curricula in electrical engineering, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, civil engineering and architectural engineering are available. Upon completion of the program, which normally takes five years, the student receives a bachelor’s degree in physics from Elmhurst and a B.S. degree in engineering from IIT. A student enrolled in this program can participate in student activities and use all available facilities at both institutions. A resident student may remain on campus at Elmhurst during the entire program.

“3-2” Dual-Degree Program
Another option is a “3-2” dual-degree program in which the student spends the first three years at Elmhurst taking basic science and Integrated Curriculum courses, followed by two years of engineering courses at a cooperating university. This also leads to both a B.S. in physics and a B.S. in engineering. The College currently has formal arrangements of this kind with the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and the University of Southern California, but students may be able to transfer to other engineering schools as well. In any case, initial course selection is the same as for the regular physics major, with subsequent courses depending on the area of engineering the student plans to enter.

Sequential Degree Alternative
An alternative chosen by many students interested in electrical, mechanical or nuclear engineering or materials science is to complete a physics degree at Elmhurst and then go to graduate school for one or two additional years to obtain a master’s degree in an engineering specialty. There are two advantages to this approach: First, the student receives two sequential degrees rather than two degrees at the same level; second, a strong student can usually obtain an assistantship or fellowship to cover tuition and expenses during the period of graduate study.

For more information, contact Dr. Brian Wilhite, department chair.

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