Dual-Degree Program Guidelines
Through agreements with three leading engineering schools, Mount Holyoke students have excellent opportunities to earn both a bachelor of arts degree from Mount Holyoke and a bachelor of science degree in engineering within a period of five years. The general guidelines follow below (Guidelines and Information). Each program has different conditions for receiving both degrees so check the specific information about each program also:
- University of Massachusetts College of Engineering
- Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College
- California Institute of Technology
Regardless of the program you choose, all three dual-degree programs require careful planning right from the first semester at Mount Holyoke.
Why Study for Five Years Rather Than Four?
Engineering requires a rigorous course of study, with an extremely high number of mandatory courses. Students who seek to complete an engineering degree in four years have very little time to explore the liberal arts curriculum. Many professional engineers regret later in their lives that they "missed out" on getting a broader education. They wish they’d had a chance to take that extra history class or that art class or seminar in creative writing. While rigorous, a dual-degree program gives students flexibility and the opportunity to get both a liberal arts education and an engineering degree.
Forms (pdf files for download)
- Academic Leave Form
- Mount Holyoke College Dual Degree Application
- Mount Holyoke - UMass Application
- Guidelines in a pdf file
- Caltech Admissions Site
- Thayer application form
Guidelines and Information
During her first semester at the College, the student consults with a member of the MHC Engineering Committee. Currently this committee includes Professors Kathy Aidala (Physics), Paul Dobosh (Computer Science), Maria Gomez (Chemistry), Tim Farnham (Environmental Sudies), and Dylan Shepardson (Mathematics and Statistics).
Some UMass programs require taking a course there on the Five College Exchange in the spring of the first year but all interested students are encouraged to take an introductory engineering course in the spring of the first year. In the fall of her sophomore year, the student declares her MHC major, so that planning for the major can be coordinated with planning for the dual degree. The student must declare her departmental major (or her intention to design a special major) before submitting the MHC Application for a Dual Degree in Engineering (see below). An advisor for her major must sign the MHC Application.
Every dual degree student must complete the MHC Application for a Dual Degree in Engineering along with a statement explaining how the proposed work in engineering fits into her Mount Holyoke major and her long-term plans. This MHC Application form is available online (see above) and in the Office of the Dean of the College, 202 Mary Lyon Hall. Students must complete this form and return it to the Dean of the College's office no later than December 1 of the sophomore year. Note that this form constitutes the application for an MHC Engineering Scholarship for study at the dual degree partner institution for students receiving need-based aid from Mount Holyoke. A student applying for the dual degree at UMass, whether as a first or a second choice, must also complete and attach the MHC/UMass Engineering Dual Degree Program form (see below).
Mount Holyoke seeks to maximize the number of students it can support with Engineering Scholarships. When making awards the College will therefore consider the costs of the options available to a student. An applicant will increase her chance of receiving a Scholarship meeting full financial need if she includes the UMass program among her choices; funding meeting full need is not guaranteed for Scholarship recipients attending Dartmouth. The maximum Dartmouth award is capped at the maximum required for the UMass program. Applicants must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 in mathematics and science courses and at least 3.0 overall. These are minimum requirements, and successful students usually have stronger records in mathematics and science.
A student earning a dual degree in engineering in any of the three MHC programs must complete an MHC major in a department or an interdisciplinary (special) major, and all MHC graduation requirements, by the end of year four. In consultation with her MHC advisor, a student with a departmental major may design a special minor in Applied Science that includes engineering courses taken at the partner institution.
Note that the Thayer and UMass programs (in chemical, civil, mechanical, and industrial) are normally 2-1-1-1 programs in which the student spends her third and fifth years at the dual degree institution, but electrical and computer engineering at UMass and the Caltech program are 3-2 programs in which the student spends her fourth and fifth years at the dual degree institution. Special arrangements can be made to do the Thayer and other UMass programs on a 3-2 schedule, but on any schedule, the internal MHC application must be completed in the sophomore year. Instructions below are written for the 2-1-1-1 schedule for Thayer and UMass.
Thayer and Caltech confer the Bachelor of Science in Engineering. In these programs, students choose an engineering major, but the degree itself is relatively broad. Most people who earn this degree either go into management or on to graduate study. UMass Amherst confers the Bachelor of Science in a specific area of engineering. It requires, therefore, more specific courses throughout the five years. This more specialized degree is ideal preparation for someone who wants to be a working engineer "in the trenches"; it is also solid preparation for graduate study or management.