Curricula Overview (EG)

Curricula in the College of Engineering lead to the degrees of Bachelor of Science in the disciplines of biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, environmental, and mechanical engineering, as well as the Bachelor of Science in computer science and engineering. Integrated five-year liberal arts/engineering programs, leading to Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees or a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Management for Engineers degree, are also offered. In addition, students may choose to integrate their studies by concentrating their electives to pursue interests in a particular area such as biomedical or environmental engineering. The cross-disciplinary nature of these studies allows students from several disciplines to participate in available courses.

Each of the engineering programs emphasizes the fundamentals of mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering science, combined with specialized study in a particular discipline and broadening studies in the humanities and social sciences. Students interested in pursuing computer science as a major may do so as an option under the Bachelor of Science in computer science and engineering curriculum or under the Bachelor of Science degree program or the Bachelor of Arts degree program.

Programs in Engineering

The programs leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Science in biomedical, computer science and engineering, chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (ABET.org). The Bachelor of Science in computer science and engineering degree program is also accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET (ABET.org). All of the programs, including computer engineering and environmental engineering, are designed to develop in students a broad understanding of engineering disciplines, an appreciation of the engineer’s individual and professional role in society, and a capacity for lifelong learning.

The undergraduate engineering programs cover four years, but in five years a student may complete a joint degree in liberal arts and engineering with a major in each college. First-year engineering students may select a specific engineering major when they enroll or remain undecided during the first semester. Engineering students may apply to change from one engineering program to another at the end of one or two semesters; later changes are more difficult but may be possible. Changes from one major program to another may be limited due to enrollment restrictions in the program. Students in the College of Arts and Sciences who apply to transfer to the College of Engineering will be subject to a review of their academic performance at Bucknell for entrance into any engineering program, and subject to enrollment limitations that may be in place in specific degree programs. Specific information may be obtained from the associate dean, College of Engineering. During the fall term, all first-year engineering students take calculus, physics, an elective and an introductory engineering course, ENGR 100 Exploring Engineering (unless they have earned AP or other credit or have a special educational need). In the spring term, they take the first course in their engineering major. The sophomore year continues the emphasis on science and mathematics, and introduces courses in the engineering sciences, such as mechanics, thermodynamics, fluids, and materials. During the junior and senior years, most of the work is concerned with the principles of the student’s major engineering discipline.

Each program contains courses in mathematics and natural sciences, a general education component, courses in engineering sciences, and courses in design, systems, and synthesis. The remaining courses, depending upon the specific program, may be in the student’s engineering discipline or in electives.

The General Education Component lends perspective to the traditional engineering studies to promote an understanding of the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context. The general education component also is intended to broaden the intellectual and experiential horizons of the student, to develop creative and critical abilities, and to facilitate an understanding of the social problems faced by humankind in the past, present, and future.

To fulfill the general education requirement, engineering students must successfully complete approved courses in humanities and social sciences. Ordinarily, courses that instill cultural values are approved, while courses that develop personal or professional skills are not. Therefore, approved courses that involve performance also must include theory or history of the subject. Students will fulfill the general education component through a minimum of five approved humanities and social sciences courses, with the following distribution:

  • A minimum of two courses in humanities; in some curricula one must be a first-year course in English literature and composition, and
  • A minimum of two courses in social sciences.

At a minimum, one of the humanities or social sciences courses must satisfy the global and societal perspectives requirement. Of the five courses, two must be from a single department, or at least one course must be at the 200-level or above. Individual departments may have additional requirements.

The current list of approved social science and humanities and global and societal perspectives courses can be obtained in the Office of the Dean of Engineering. The list is updated annually by the Engineering Curriculum Committee.

In addition, the engineering curricula reflect the increased importance of design in the education of today’s students by an integration of design instruction from ENGR 100 Exploring Engineering through all four years to the senior design courses. The emphasis of all programs is on the development of a broad foundation in engineering and on the initiation of specialized study in a specific engineering discipline.

Whenever appropriate, students may engage in special projects in creative design or in independent study, or they may participate with a faculty member in a research project. Such projects may start in or be carried forward into the summer.

Several engineering departments offer a program of departmental honors in which selected majors may undertake special studies or investigations, leading to graduation with honors.

Students are encouraged to work with their faculty advisers and department chairs to take full advantage of the flexibility of the engineering programs, which makes possible special plans of study appropriate to their individual career objectives. Furthermore, with the approval of the department chair and the dean of the College of Engineering, degree requirements may be altered slightly to accommodate special needs of students with different academic backgrounds, and those who have transferred from other degree programs or from other institutions.

All engineering degree programs require the completion of 34 courses (42 in the combined liberal arts-engineering program and the engineering-management program) with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.00 overall and in engineering.

To satisfy the University writing requirement, a student must successfully complete three writing courses: one course designated W1 (which must be taken during the first year and which must be taken before the W2 courses) and two W2 courses (usually taken after the first year, but, in any case, at least one of which must be taken after the first year.) Lists of W1 and W2 courses are available on the Registrar’s home page (bucknell.edu/Registrar) under Course Information.

Writing courses are designed to enhance the student’s understanding of the writing process and to emphasize that writing is a way of learning as well as a communication skill. They may be taken in any department.

Students in the College of Engineering, through judicious choice of electives, may choose a departmental or interdepartmental minor.

Those students who wish to apply the principles, concepts, and methods from their prospective majors to define, understand and solve problems in the life sciences and medical technology have several options.

  1. Students may major in one of the eight Bachelor of Science programs in engineering and use their elective courses to concentrate on biology, chemistry, and biomedical engineering. (Biology students may elect to use their unrestricted electives to take engineering courses.)
  2. Second, through a judicious choice of electives, engineering students may complete the chemical and biological studies minor or the biomedical engineering minor. The chemical and biological studies minor allows students to enhance their study of the basic chemical and biological sciences. Alternatively, students may elect the biomedical engineering minor which combines study of the basic biological sciences with their technological application.

Students majoring in chemical engineering or biomedical engineering are not eligible for the chemical and biological studies minor. Faculty advisers in these disciplines will advise students on the appropriateness of the various options in light of their particular career goals. Information on specific faculty advisers may be obtained from the Office of the Dean of Engineering. Students wishing to complete the premedical requirement should consult the pre-health professions adviser.

To complete the chemical and biological studies minor, students must successfully complete at least five courses as indicated below:

CHEM 211Organic Chemistry I1
CHEM 212Organic Chemistry II1
CHEM 351Biochemistry I (CHEM 201 or CHEM 221 are prerequisites for these)1
or CHEM 231 Analytical Chemistry
or CHEM 202 General Chemistry
BIOL 205Introduction to Molecules and Cells1
BIOL 206Organismal Biology1

In order to declare a minor a student should obtain a Declaration of Minor card from the Office of the Registrar and have it signed by the department chair offering the minor or by the coordinator for the particular interdepartmental minor. The completed and signed card should be returned to the Office of the Registrar before the end of the first two weeks of the last semester of the senior year (by September 9 for first semester graduates and February 9 for second semester graduates). Students planning on summer graduation must have the card filed by the preceding March 1. Late declarations will not be recorded on the student’s permanent record.

Program in Liberal Arts and Engineering

The five-year programs in liberal arts and engineering offer students the opportunity to obtain a broader education in the arts or sciences while completing the requirements for a major in engineering. Students may combine any Bachelor of Science degree program in engineering with any Bachelor of Arts degree. Upon successful completion of this program, the single degree, Bachelor of Science in the engineering major and Bachelor of Arts in the second major is awarded.

Students may enter these joint programs at any time during the first five semesters of one of the engineering B.S. programs. Students also may apply to enter this program from one of the programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. The timing for this change is critical because of the sequential nature of the courses in the engineering programs. Students interested in making this academic change should consult the associate dean of the College of Engineering as early as possible and not later than the third semester of study.

Students in this program must fulfill the distribution requirements and the major requirements for the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and either the Bachelor of Science in biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, environmental, or mechanical engineering, or Bachelor of Science in computer science and engineering. Suggested course sequences for each five-year program are available from the Office of the Dean of Engineering.

Program in Engineering and Management

The five-year program in engineering and management offers students the opportunity to combine the study of engineering in any of the engineering degree programs with a selected sequence of courses in management. Upon successful completion of this program, the joint degree, the Bachelor of Science in engineering degree (within a specific engineering discipline), and the Bachelor of Management for Engineers degree, is awarded. The degree has the same accreditation status as the four-year Bachelor of Science degree in the engineering program selected. See Bachelor of Management for Engineers for specific course requirements.

Prospective students interested in pursuing this five-year degree program are encouraged to apply for admission directly into the program. Students also may enter this joint degree program during the first four semesters of one of the engineering B.S. programs, and should consult with the associate dean of engineering as early as possible and not later than the third semester of study. Admission to this joint degree program may be limited by enrollment.

Suggested course sequences for the program and detailed information on the degree requirements are available from the Office of the Dean of Engineering and the Department of Management.

Graduate Studies

Bucknell University’s graduate program leads to the degrees of Master of Science in chemical, civil, electrical, environmental, or mechanical engineering. Each graduate program is individually tailored to meet the needs, preparation, and goals of the student.

Undergraduate students who have completed three years in the chemical, civil, electrical, environmental, or mechanical engineering program at Bucknell, earned a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0, and who show aptitude for graduate study, may apply for admission to the integrated 3-2 program. This program permits selected students to complete all requirements for both a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in five years. Those students who are selected receive a full tuition scholarship for the fifth year.

Traditional master’s degree programs are offered in addition to the special 3-2 program. Assistantships are available. Information can be obtained from the Dean of Engineering or the Dean of Graduate Studies.

In addition to formal master’s degree programs, any undergraduate student who has arranged to complete all undergraduate degree requirements may, with prior approval, take up to two courses for graduate credit. An application for graduate credit by undergraduate students may be obtained from the Office of Graduate Studies or the Office of the Registrar.