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Harvey Mudd College–The Claremont College with a Clear Math and Science Focus

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Not so long ago I paid a visit to Harvey Mudd College, one of the five Claremont Colleges in the Los Angeles area. Harvey Mudd was a pleasant surprise. With its small size and razor sharp focus on math and science education, Mudd is the perfect place for a student who wants a strong grounding in the fundamentals of science and math, while still pursuing the riches of a liberal arts education.

Harvey Mudd has only 10 majors, but each major is designed to give students a strong foundation. Its core curriculum includes two full years of math, four semesters of chemistry, and three semesters of physics.

I was especially impressed with its major in engineering, which is more general in scope than what you might find at other universities that offer majors in each of the specialties (electrical, civil, mechanical, and so on). The philosophy at Mudd is that any engineer of whatever specialty needs to have a very strong background in physics and math, as well as the basic principles of engineering. Specialization will come later, of course, for most of Mudd engineers will pursue graduate degrees. The goal is to build a rock-solid foundation.

Personally, I like this approach in college. Instead of trying to be all things to all people and providing an endless smorgasbord of choices, Mudd focuses in on what its faculty believe to be critical to success in the profession, and delivers.

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