There are several options for combining a Middlebury degree with study in engineering. The most common is simply to complete a Middlebury B.A. in one of the sciences—normally physics for electrical engineering, computer science or physics for computer engineering, chemistry for chemical Engineering, etc. At the same time, one should be sure to get a broad general education in science by electing cognate science courses, particularly in physics, mathematics, and computer science. A course in economics is recommended, and biology and/or geology are also valuable for some fields. After completing the Middlebury degree, students commonly move directly into a master's (or Ph.D.) program in engineering. Strong students have been accepted into engineering programs at top schools such as M.I.T., Caltech, Cornell, R.P.I., University of Wisconsin, Washington University, and many others. It usually takes two years after the B.A. to complete an engineering masters degree, though sometimes this can be accelerated a bit.
Students who have taken this route tell us that they have found themselves very well prepared for graduate school. The fact that they have a solid liberal arts background, with significant emphasis on writing and analytical thinking, puts them in a very strong position—both in their graduate programs and even more so in their eventual careers.
Dual Degree Programs
Another option is a dual-degree program. The one that the most students have pursued recently is with Dartmouth. In this program, one usually spends the junior year studying engineering at Dartmouth, returns to Middlebury for the senior year, graduating with a B.A., and then goes back to Dartmouth for a fifth year and a second degree, a bachelor of engineering (B.E.). Some students who do this also stay for one additional (sixth) year and get a master's. This is an excellent program that numerous students have pursued. Interested students should take the pre-requisite courses for the Dartmouth program during their first two years and should apply to Dartmouth by February 1 of their sophomore year. Although admission to the Dartmouth program is not guaranteed, Middlebury students have an excellent record of being accepted. Starting in 2012, financial aid is transferable to Dartmouth for a limited number of students on a competitive basis for their junior year.
The other dual-degree programs (known as "combined-plan" or "3-2" programs) are with Columbia University in New York City, and with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York. In both of these programs, a student completes the first three years at Middlebury, and in the third year applies to transfer to either of these engineering schools for the final two years of study. Students who have completed all the prerequisites with a certain minimum GPA are guaranteed admission. At the end, the student receives two degrees: a B.A. from Middlebury, and a B.S. from the engineering school. Since students considering these programs will need to complete all the Middlebury distribution requirements and most of those for a major, plus pre-requisites for an engineering program, within three rather than four years, it is important to plan carefully starting from the first year at Middlebury.
To apply to any of the dual-degree programs, fill out the application available on the programs' web page (typically due in February). Also necessary is an application for domestic off-campus study with the Study Abroad office.
For more information on engineering programs:
Daniel Scharstein, Professor of Computer Science and Pre-Engineering Adviser
Middlebury College graduate Alexandra Braunstein of the class of 2009 has been awarded the Vermont Community Foundation (VCF) Philanthropic Engagement Fellowship.
Braunstein, from Providence, R.I., majored in English and American Literatures. While at Middlebury, she was a co-chair of the Middlebury College Relay for Life, the most successful youth relay in New England. She also spent time as an intern at the VCF and volunteered at local schools and libraries.