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Haverford College
Departments of Physics and Astronomy
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Academic Programs: Engineering Options

While Haverford does not offer a formal engineering degree program, many of our alumni/ae have pursued successful and interesting careers in various engineering disciplines. Students have several options which they can pursue to gain exposure to engineering during their B.S. studies.

Relevant Cocentrations and Programs

Haverford also offers a Concentration in Computer Science for physics and mathematics majors and a major in Computer Science. Another popular option is to incorporate several courses in relevant areas of physics and engineering into the Haverford physics B.S. program. Several of our alumni/ae have followed up their physics B.S. with a one-year masters program in an engineering discipline. They have reported that a physics undergraduate degree from Haverford provides an excellent foundation for their continued studies in engineering. The department maintains a file of alumni career and contact information in the Physics Lounge in KINSC H107 which interested students can use to learn more about these and other career paths taken by our alumni.

4+1 Engineering program with Penn

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Haverford College and the University of Pennsylvania are launching a new program that will allow undergraduates at Haverford to gain early admission into a master’s degree program offered by Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. The arrangement effectively allows Haverford students to obtain their bachelor’s degree in four years and then, through Penn, obtain their master’s degree with just one additional year of study.

Details about Penn 4+1 program

3/2 Engineering Program with Caltech

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We also have a 3/2 Engineering Program option with Caltech. In this program, students have the option of taking courses at Haverford for three years, then following up with two years of engineering study at the partner institution, Caltech. Admission into the program is required. Please contact Walter Smith for more details. If you wish to elect this program, very early course planning is essential.

Independent Materials Science Concentration

You can also consider pursuing an independent Concentration in Materials Science.

Engineering Course Planning within the Tri-Co Community

In this document, we present a listing of courses in the natural sciences at Haverford and Bryn Mawr, and in engineering at Swarthmore which students interested in engineering can use as a basis for their course planning. These do not represent requirements, but a flexible basis for exploring your options. We have also included short descriptions of each engineering discipline adapted from the University of Pennsylvania course catalog. With help from your advisor, you can use these listings to shape a plan of study appropriate to your interests and career plans.

Core Courses

Several courses in mathematics and computer science provide important background for all of the engineering disciplines described below. These include:

Mathematics 203:

Statistics

Mathematics 215a:

Linear Algebra

Mathematics 210b:

Linear Optimization and Game Theory

Computer Science 205/206:

Introduction to Computer Science

Bioengineering

As a relatively new field, bioengineering is undergoing rapid change. Current topics in bioengineering include injury research and rehabilitation, neuroengineering (neural networks), and biotechnology (from electronic instrumentation to genetic engineering).Furthermore, traditional areas of engineering are reformulated to study living systems. Thus, biomechanics analyses stresses and strains in human tissue; biomaterials searches for new materials that are strong, safe and histocompatible; and systems bioengineering analyses the function of cardiovascular, respiratory, or renal systems.*

Haverford offers a Biophysics Concentration for physics majors, described in the course catalog under the Concentration in Biochemistry and Biophysics. Students interested in careers in bioengineering should seriously consider this option, since it provides the additional coursework in biology and chemistry required for this discipline. Professor Suzanne Amador Kane can be consulted for more information.

Also note the following course of special relevance to bioengineering:

Biology 303: Animal Physiology (Bryn Mawr)

Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers are responsible for the development, design and operation of processes involving chemical, biological and nuclear phenomena. Products traditionally associated with chemical engineering include commodity and specialty chemicals, fuels, pharmaceuticals, plastics, paints, and agricultural products. Applications of chemical engineering principles are constantly being extended into new areas such as electronic materials processing, biochemical technology, and environmental engineering; thus chemical engineers usually work with scientists and engineers in other fields.*

Suggested courses:

Chemistry 220a:

Organic Chemistry I

Chemistry 100a & 101b

General Chemistry

Engineering 83:

Fluid Mechanics (Swarthmore)

Chemistry 304a & 305b:

Physical Chemistry

Physics 303:

Statistical Physics

Civil Engineering

Civil engineers design and implement structural, transportation and environmental/resource systems, often in collaboration with architects, city planners and social scientists.

Suggested courses:

Chemistry 100a & 101b

General Chemistry

Engineering 59:

Mechanics of Solids (Swarthmore)

Engineering 82:

Engineering Materials (Swarthmore)

Electrical Engineering

The concepts of electrical engineering are applicable to a variety of modern technical fields. Examples include communications and remote sensing, control (the basis of physical automation), energy systems, systems science, electrophysics (the science of electrical science and engineering), solid state electronics, electro-optics (the science of lasers and optical signal processing), computers, information science, and biomedical engineering.*

Majors wishing to pursue electrical engineering should also consult the advising document for the Computer Science Concentration and Independent Major available through the physics department.

Suggested courses:

Computer Science 240:

Principles of Computer Organization

Physics 322:

Solid State Physics

Physics 316:

Advanced Electronics Laboratory

Physics 309:

Advanced Electricity and Magnetism

Materials Science

All technologies are based upon materials. The performance of technological systems is often limited by the materials that are available for their design. This is true of integrated circuits, jet engines, structural ceramics, fuel cells, medical sensors, and a wide variety of other high technology devices. Materials science focuses on understanding the physical, chemical and engineering properties of solid state materials, such as semiconductors, ceramics, glasses, polymers, metals and biomaterials.*

Click here to learn more about options at Haverford

Suggested courses:

Chemistry 220a:

Organic Chemistry I

Chemistry 100a & 101b

General Chemistry

Physics 303:

Statistical Physics

Physics 322:

Solid State Physics

Physics 326

Advanced Physics Laboratories

Engineering 59:

Mechanics of Solids (Swarthmore)

Engineering 82

Engineering Materials (Swarthmore)

Mechanical Engineering

The technical contributions of the mechanical engineering profession include a wide range of modern achievements: automobiles, household appliances, aircraft, rockets, industrial machinery of all kinds, steam and nuclear power plants, manned and unmanned space vehicles, to name a few. Mechanical engineering is concerned with energy and the machines needed to transform, transmit and utilize

Suggested courses:

Chemistry 100a & 101b

General Chemistry

Physics 308:

Advanced Classical Mechanics

Engineering 59:

Mechanics of Solids (Swarthmore)

Engineering 60:

Structural Theory and Design (Swarthmore)

Engineering 82:

Engineering Materials (Swarthmore)

*University of Pennsylvania Undergraduate Academic Bulletin