Dual-degree options expand to Columbia
Students from the College interested in engineering now have the opportunity to pursue a dual-degree from New York City’s Columbia University, through its Combined Plan Program, the College announced in late 2011.
After completing four years of a liberal arts education on the Hill, students accepted into the program will complete two years of study at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science to earn a bachelor of science there. The program offers students 17 different specializations, so those who matriculate will leave with a discipline-specific degree.
The College’s new affiliation with Columbia expands the dual-degree program, until now only consisting of a partnership with Dartmouth College. Dartmouth and Colby offer a two-one-one-one program where students essentially go abroad for their junior year to Dartmouth and then finish their undergraduate careers with a fifth year of study at the New Hampshire institution’s Thayer School of Engineering. Dartmouth offers a general engineering degree as opposed to Columbia’s tailored degrees. “It’s sort of like liberal arts for engineering,” Bruce Maxwell, advisor to the entire dual-degree program and associate professor and chair of the computer-science department, said.
“If you know you want to be a chemical engineer, you can do that at Dartmouth, but you can get a more specialized and deeper degree at Columbia,” Maxwell said. Very few small liberal arts colleges provide their students the opportunity to earn a degree in engineering, Maxwell said, and Columbia widens the range of possibilities for students on the Hill.
Although the new addition coincides with Maxwell’s first year serving as advisor to the dual-degree program, he said that the affiliation with Columbia has been in the works for a couple of years now.
Given that students who pursue the program will spend four full years at the College before moving on to Columbia, the Combined Plan program offers students more flexibility within their time at Colby to study abroad and engage in electives, as well as have more time to decide whether to pursue engineering; qualified students could choose to apply to the program as late as their senior spring semester. For the Dartmouth program, students need to be very dedicated as an incoming first-year in order to prepare themselves for their junior year in New Hampshire.
The other benefit of the Columbia program, Maxwell said, is that it will take on every qualified student that Colby sends it, whereas space is a little tighter at Dartmouth. For Columbia candidates who began their college careers in 2011 or later, the requirements according to the Combined Plan Program’s website are “full-time enrollment at an affiliated school for at least the past two years,” and “an overall and pre-engineering GPA of 3.30 or higher as calculated by Columbia. Additionally, the minimum grade for each pre-engineering science or math course must be a B or better on the first attempt.”
Students interested in the dual-degree engineering programs should contact Maxwell, he said, to begin planning their options.