Division ofNatural Sciences

Why Study Engineering?

Men and women who thrive on solving challenging, technical, real-world problems should consider a career in engineering. Engineers are problem solvers. They must tackle projects using a combination of theoretical understanding and empirical knowledge about the project’s features.

They must work within real-life constraints, and do not have the luxury of working in an idealized vacuum separate from real-world considerations.

For example, an aerospace engineer might build a component for a spacecraft. The project must meet not only technical design requirements in order for the system to work properly, but must be built within constraints imposed by maximum allowed payload weight, power consumption, budget and timeline. A civil engineer may build a bridge; a mechanical engineer may need to build a robotically operated factory; an electrical engineer may need to design a unique circuit.

Why Study Engineering at PLU?

The dual-degree program at PLU provides engineering students with the combination of technical and communicative skills that will enhance the student’s opportunities for success as a professional engineer.

Much of what an engineer does on a day-to-day basis involves communicating with others and working as part of a team. An engineer must write frequent reports, and the PLU experience will sharpen the student’s writing skills. An engineer must engage in a free-flowing give-and-take with clients and coworkers, and the PLU experience will lead most students to a greater appreciation of the points of view of others and to a greater understanding of the dynamics of group activities.

What Does "Dual-Degree" Mean?

Students who complete the program earn two degrees — one from PLU and the other from an engineering school. Typically the total length of study is five years — three years at PLU and two years at the engineering school; thus the title, “Dual-Degree-Engineering Program.”

The PLU degree that typically is awarded to dual-degree students is the Bachelor of Arts in Physics. The B.A. in Physics is well recognized by engineering schools and is the most frequently awarded degree by four-year schools with dual-degree programs. Students in all engineering subdisciplines can select the Physics degree, but students wishing to study chemical engineering may wish to consider the option of obtaining the B.A. in Chemistry from PLU. Most subdisciplines of engineering are available to students in the dual-degree program.

Formal agreements exist with Columbia University in New York City and Washington University in St. Louis. At both schools, dual-degree students form a community. They share residence facilities and often are enrolled in many of the same courses. PLU students who have participated in the dual-degree program tell us of their rich cultural and academic experiences at both schools, and they are routinely very pleased with their decision to have participated in the program.

Occasionally, PLU students choose to transfer to an engineering school that does not participate in the dual-degree program. PLU nonetheless recognizes these students as participants in the dual-degree program and awards them the appropriate B.A. degree upon successful completion of their program at the engineering school. Students should be advised, however, that they are responsible for arranging their own transfers and for assuring that they satisfy the entrance requirements of their chosen engineering school. The dual-degree program advisor cannot provide complete advising or transfer assistance to students who choose this transfer option.

Academic Expectations

The minimum GPA requirements for all baccalaureate degrees that would normally apply to a PLU student are not sufficient to gain entry into an engineering school in the dual-degree program.

Both Columbia and Washington University require a cumulative college grade point average of 3.0 or higher and grades of B or better in pertinent mathematics and science courses. PLU’s corresponding requirements are 2.0 and C-, respectively. Students who do not meet these requirements are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Students who choose to transfer to another engineering school may be able to gain admission with slightly lower grades than those required by Columbia and Washington University. Nevertheless, all prospective engineering students are well advised to use the higher standard as a more realistic indication of what will be expected of them in the engineering school.

Careers for Engineering Majors

Engineers work in the private and public sector, for small cities and large corporations, for research laboratories and large universities as well as for small colleges and small business. Many are self-employed as consultants for small projects, while others are part of a team of dozens working on major national or international projects. Areas of specialization include electrical, civil, mechanical, chemical, computer, industrial, geophysical, and biological engineering.

General Requirements

Completion of the General University Requirements as specified in the catalog. The following general requirements are waived for all dual-degree students:

  • Completion of a minimum of 128 semester hours on the PLU transcript.
  • Completion of a minimum of 40 semester hours from courses numbered 300 and above.
  • The requirement that at least 20 of the minimum 40 semester hours of upper division work must be taken at PLU.
  • The requirement that the final 32 semester hours of a student’s program be completed in residence at PLU.
  • The requirement that the senior seminar/project be completed at PLU. Senior projects from engineering school (a characteristic of ABET-accredited schools) will satisfy the PLU senior project requirement for dual-degree students upon approval of the project by the appropriate PLU department chair.

For a list of course offerings, view a PDF of the catalog »

Quick links