Track Chair

Engineering Committee

  • Katherine Aidala (Physics)
  • Maria Gomez (Chemistry)
  • Martha Hoopes (Environmental Studies)
  • Peter Klemperer (Computer Science)
  • Dylan Shepardson (Mathematics and Statistics)

The Engineering Nexus provides a path from the traditional disciplines of the liberal arts to a career in engineering. Engineers are trained to solve a diverse set of problems, and a student may major in the field of science or mathematics most closely allied to the engineering subfield in which she is interested. Combining a science or mathematics major with some additional course work and summer internships in engineering is excellent preparation for future graduate work in engineering or employment in engineering-related fields. While the Engineering Nexus explicitly is not an engineering degree or accreditation, it is intended as a route into the field of engineering. The experiential portion of the Nexus involves completing a summer internship in the field of engineering. This may be participating in a formal Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in an academic laboratory, a summer internship with an engineering firm, working abroad for the summer in an engineering laboratory, or other options. Given the diversity of engineering, a wide range of courses can count towards the Nexus, but students must consult with a Nexus advisor to determine a program that will match her interests and goals.

Courses (in the course catalog)

Preview courses used to create individual plans of study.

Note: not all of these courses are offered every semester and other courses can be used with permission.

The coursework taken by a student will vary depending on her intended subfield of engineering and choice of major at Mount Holyoke College. In general, the Engineering Nexus should include a course with a design component or a class that examines present-day research or engineering.

Examples of these classes include:

  • Physics 308 (Electronics)
  • Chemistry 320 (Introduction to Nanoscience and Technology)
  • Math 339 (Topics in Applied Mathematics: Partial Differential Equations)
  • most computer science courses, and most engineering courses at Smith and UMass.

Smith’s Engineering Design Clinic (EGR 410D) is of particular interest for general engineering. Individual courses within engineering disciplines at UMass are of interest for specific subfields. For some students, the Nexus course work in addition to Physics 290 or 390, Advanced Laboratory Practicum and COLL 211, might consist of the courses for a minor in chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, or statistics.

Students planning a Nexus in Engineering must consult with a member of the Engineering Committee to discuss an area of interest and design a plan of study that will include an experiential component linked to the specific area of focus.

A student planning an Engineering Nexus should outline her plan of study; the completed form can be approved by any member of the Engineering Committee.

Sample course lists, tailored by major and engineering discipline, are given below. Additional courses may be substituted with approval of a member of the Engineering Committee.

Please note that courses counted towards the Engineering Nexus cannot be counted towards the major. For example, you could count Electronics, Physics 308, towards the Engineering Nexus and complete a physics major, but you would need to take a different 4 credit physics course to count towards the physics major instead of Physics 308. Additionally, many of the suggested courses in the samples below have prerequisites that students must meet.

For a physics major interested in electrical engineering:

  • CS 211 or above
  • Physics 290/390 (Advanced Laboratory Practicum)
  • Physics 308 (Electronics)
  • UMass ECE 344 (Semiconductor Devices and Materials)
  • many electrical engineering courses at UMass (e.g. ECE 211)
  • ECE 212 (Circuit Analysis I and II)
  • Physics/Math 324 (Methods of Applied Mathematics)

For a chemistry major interested in chemical engineering:

  • Materials electives in chemistry
  • Physics 205 (Introduction to Mathematical Methods for Scientists)
  • chemical engineering courses at UMASS (e.g. ChE 330 Fluid Mechanics)
  • ChE 320 (Kinetics and Reactor Design)
  • ChE 333 (Heat and Mass Transfer)
  • ChE 338 (Separations)
  • ChE 361 (Math Modeling)
  • ChE 401 (Chemical Engineering Lab I)
  • ChE 444 (Chemical Process Design)
  • ChE 446 (Chemical Process Control)
  • ChE 402 (Chemical Engineering Lab II)
  • chemically related engineering courses at Smith (e.g. Eng 260 Probability and Statistics in Chemical Engineering)
  • Eng 363 (Mass and Heat Transfer)
  • Eng 374 (Fluid Mechanics)
  • Eng 375 (Strength of Materials)
  • Eng 325 (Electric Power Systems)

For a mathematics major interested in industrial engineering:

  • Econ 212 (Microeconomic Theory)
  • Econ 307 (Seminar in Industrial Organization)
  • Physics 308 (Electronics)
  • U Mass MIE 201 (Introduction to Material Science)

Advanced electives for the major in mathematics should include:

  • Math 333 (Differential Equations)
  • Math 342 (Probability)
  • coursework or independent study in optimization

For a computer science major interested in electrical or computer engineering:

  • Physics 308 (Electronics)
  • Physics 325 (Electromagnetic Theory)
  • many electrical engineering courses at UMass (e.g. ECE 211, ECE 212 Circuit Analysis I and II)

Use the search for classes link for the most up-to-date list of courses.