Although first-year students know that they want to be an engineer, no one assumes they know what kind of engineer they want to be.

Students are admitted into the College of Engineering first and to a particular department at the beginning of their second semester.

First-year engineering students enroll in GE 100, Fundamentals of Engineering, to introduce them to the concepts that every engineer should know, from structures to circuits to heat transfer.

In this course, the interdisciplinary nature of engineering is emphasized. Faculty use lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on lab experiments to teach students how to apply the concepts. Teamwork, important in a job setting, is emphasized in the labs. The small class size (usually fewer than 24 students) allow first-year students and faculty to become better acquainted.

Complementing GE 100 is GE 199, Engineering Seminar. Here, outstanding engineering graduates speak to first-year students about their careers, providing important insight. In other sessions, students learn about engineering opportunities such as the Career Center and Study Abroad.

After hearing thorough explanations about the various disciplines, students make an informed choice of major for their second semester. The first-year experience also teaches students enough to be able to ask good questions in areas outside of their expertise.

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 First-year Video


At the end their first year, students will see a positive and substantial improvement in their ability to
  • Describe engineering, including aspects such as problem solving and ethics
  • Identify and describe the engineering disciplines (i.e., civil, computer, electrical, and mechanical)
  • Choose a major or devise a plan to choose a major
  • Discuss various options within engineering, both as an undergraduate (e.g., co-op, Study Abroad, etc.) and as a graduate (e.g., careers)
  • Understand basic principles in civil, computer, electrical, and mechanical engineering
  • Work in a team environment
  • Identify with their new engineering “family,” including both faculty and students