The Engineering program is part of the Physics department. First and foremost, our graduates are broadly-educated individuals with a strong background in basic engineering science. Courses required for the engineering degrees at W&L are the same as core courses required for any engineering degree at larger, more traditional engineering schools: introductory physics, mathematics through differential equations, statics, dynamics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, materials, solid mechanics and circuits. Additionally, W&L students satisfy their degree requirements through the selection of elective courses in chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology, mathematics and physics.
Students have the opportunity to participate in an independent research project where, under the direction of a faculty member, they undertake a particular engineering project involving reading, laboratory or field work and presentation of findings. The low faculty-to-student ratio at W&L makes possible these projects, which provide valuable experience for students who hope to continue studies in graduate school.
Our students who subsequently seek graduate engineering degrees at other institutions have found themselves well prepared and competitive with their peers. Recent graduates have attended graduate school in engineering at institutions such as Columbia, Duke, Georgia Tech, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, Rensselaer, Rutgers, Stanford, University of California at San Diego, University of Connecticut, University of Michigan, University of Virginia, University of Washington, and Virginia Tech.
Those students who go directly into technical or engineering employment have found the liberal arts aspect of their background an asset in finding an initial position. This broad background also enables direct entry into management or sales, where graduates are able to contribute quickly and significantly to their jobs. Oral and written communication skills, as well as familiarity with and appreciation for values beyond the confines of science and math, are important in the workplace. Engineering schools are now becoming aware of the need for a more liberal component of an engineering education. A strong liberal arts component has been a part of our engineering program for more than 100 years.
For more about the Engineering department, click here.