Lafayette College – Offering Engineering with a Liberal Arts and International Twist
Are you interested in getting an engineering degree but not quite ready to give up your interests in other areas like humanities or international studies? Do you crave to get hands-on experience as an undergraduate engineering student? Then, perhaps, Lafayette College in Easton, PA — just over the New Jersey border — is for you.
Lafayette is a small liberal arts school with about 2,500 students, almost one-quarter of whom have chosen to major in Engineering. Unlike many schools, Lafayette does not require any special application for those thinking about Engineering. All students apply through the general admission process.
The school offers majors in Chemical, Civil, Electrical and Computer, and Mechanical Engineering, and students graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. A major in Engineering Studies is also available for those students who want to focus more on liberal arts but with an engineering point of view. Students with this particular major graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
During a recent visit to Lafayette College, I was quite impressed by not only their approach to Engineering, but their facilities as well. As a liberal arts institution, the school believes strongly in providing students with a holistic education. There are distribution requirements that all students — including Engineering majors — must fulfill across varied disciplines. Class choices are many, and students find a wide range of great courses that educate them far beyond their chosen area of concentration.
Since Lafayette is a school that is strictly geared towards undergraduates, this has some real benefits when pursuing a course of study such as Engineering. Class sizes are small at all levels, and professors are very accessible. Students get to work with professors on research and projects that would otherwise only be available to graduate students at a larger school. The Acopian Engineering Center is over 90,000 square feet and the complex is dedicated to teaching strictly undergraduate engineering.
One of the most unique aspects of Lafayette’s engineering program is its international outlook. Lafayette states that it wants its students to go out into the world and be successful around the world — its engineers included! The school encourages global studies and likes its students to study abroad. At most schools, engineering students typically find studying abroad difficult to fit into their course schedule. Not at Lafayette! The school actively tries to integrate the international experience with its engineering studies. Students can take semesters abroad where they study engineering in countries such as Germany and Spain. Lafayette also offers engineering students Interim Term (the period between first and second semester which is a few weeks) study abroad options where students can earn credit. The Engineers Without Borders program which has students working on projects to assist communities in Honduras is also a reflection of Lafayette’s dedication to the international experience.
So, if you’re thinking about getting an undergraduate Engineering degree but seek a well-rounded and worldly college experience, check out Lafayette!
(For more of a look at Lafayette College, see Mark’s post on the weather and campus visits.)