Sample AB/BE Programs

Although engineering at Dartmouth is cross-disciplinary, students can also pursue interests in traditional engineering fields.

During the AB program, core engineering courses give students tools that are applicable to all fields while electives allow the student to investigate a field of choice. At the BE level, students deepen their theoretical and analytic work while simultaneously applying their engineering skills to problems in the industrial workplace.

Engineering sciences majors who plan to pursue the BE program work with faculty advisors to develop the best programs.

The sample programs, accessed through the list below, show the typical foundation and advanced courses for specific engineering fields.

Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineering is the broad area of study in which engineers use an interdisciplinary approach to solve problems in the medical field, oftentimes associated with the interaction between living and non-living systems.  The breadth of solution methodologies requires biomedical engineers to take a quantitative approach to system analysis in “traditional” engineering fields, while simultaneously employing a fundamental understanding of the relevant life sciences.  Biomedical engineers should be prepared to design, build, test, and/or analyze biological systems, diagnostics, devices, and treatment modalities. Examples of current areas of research and education include:

A variety of logical, interdisciplinary course sequences allow thematic approaches to the above areas (e.g. biology-based, physics-based, computer-based, mechanics/materials-based, etc.).  Individuals wishing to explore biological approaches are encouraged to reference the description for Biological Engineering and perhaps enroll in ENGS 35 to gain exposure to this space. 

Recommended Courses

Biological Engineering

Biological engineering exists at the interface of engineering, biological, and chemical sciences.  This interdisciplinary field brings to bear fundamental design principles to both elucidate and modulate the function of biological systems, ranging in scale from molecular to cellular to whole organisms.  The bioengineer’s toolbox may include skills such as modeling, big data analysis, genetics, process design, biochemistry, and molecular, micro and cellular biology.  By designing, engineering, and optimizing biological systems, bioengineers and biotechnologists are seeking to tackle key unmet needs in medicine, agriculture, industry, the environment, consumer markets, etc.

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Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering is a foundational field that is centered on designing and optimizing processes that involve the physical and chemical transformation of matter. The chemical engineer’s toolbox may include skills such as process design, heat and mass transfer, chemical transformations and kinetics, molecular and cellular biology, and others. By designing and optimizing processes, chemical engineers tackle broad problems in biological, chemical, energy, and environmental systems.

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Computer Engineering

Computer Engineering is a rapidly expanding field that is focused on designing, building and analyzing computational and networked information processing systems. A computer engineer understands the hardware, software and applications environment of computing systems. As a result, computer engineers must be familiar with computer architectures, networks and applications software as well as modeling and analysis techniques for such systems including machine learning, complex systems, and artificial intelligence. Computer engineers are involved in modern systems ranging from mobile social networking applications to highly autonomous vehicles to smart sensor networks to biomedical and smart energy devices.

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Electrical engineering

Electrical engineering harnesses the phenomena of electricity to develop technologies ranging from semiconductor devices to advanced communication networks.  There are numerous subfields within this very broad discipline, all built on the foundations of mathematics and computer science, physical and life sciences, electromagnetics, electronics, and systems.  The sample BE program reflects this breadth and begins to cultivate depth in certain areas.  Graduate study at the MS and PhD level enables further specialization.  Students are urged to meet with a faculty advisor to work out a plan of study within the guidelines of the sample program.

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Energy Engineering

Energy is a major determinant of world events and quality of life.  Energy engineering brings to bear the spectrum of engineering disciplines on challenges and opportunities involving energy, recognizing social, political, and economic contexts.  This area of study aims to increase the efficiency of energy conversion, storage, transmission and utilization, to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy sources, and to improve access to and management of energy systems.  Students are encouraged to develop depth in one or more technical areas along with a broad understanding of energy technologies, systems, challenges, and opportunities.

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Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineering is the application of fundamental knowledge in mathematics, natural sciences (physics, chemistry, biology), and various disciplines of engineering (mostly civil, mechanical and chemical engineering) to solve problems and address challenges at the intersection of technology with nature.  The overarching objective is to protect the environment and ensure sustainability.  Problems and challenges are typically of two types, (1) post-technology remediation or treatment, and (2) prevention or reduction of impacts by environmentally conscious design.  A systems approach prevails in both types.  The environmental engineer is quintessentially an interdisciplinary engineer.

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Material Science and Engineering

The study of Materials Science and Engineering relates the properties of materials --chemical, electrical, magnetic, mechanical, optical-- to their internal architecture or microstructure. In turn, structure is related to processing-- solidification, thermal/mechanical treatment, vapor deposition and so forth-- and to the underlying thermodynamic "driving forces" and kinetics that  underlie changes in structure and hence in properties and behavior. Fundamental to the study are both qualitative and quantitative methods of microstructural analysis. 

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Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers apply principles of engineering to the design, analysis, and manufacture of machines ranging from power systems, industrial equipment, and vehicles to athletic equipment and medical devices. Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines, and as such, mechanical engineering programs should include mechanics, materials, thermal and fluid systems, and systems and controls. Programs should be planned in consultation with your faculty advisor. 

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The flexibility of the five-year BE program makes it possible for students majoring in Physics or Computer Science at Dartmouth to also obtain the BE with additional study in the year following their AB.