At Grinnell, students who plan careers in engineering have two options. A student may spend three years at Grinnell and two years in one of the engineering programs with which Grinnell cooperates: Columbia University, California Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Washington University. (Special arrangements can sometimes be made with other institutions.) Under normal progress the student receives a B.A. degree from Grinnell at the end of the fourth year and a B.S. degree from the cooperating institution at the end of the fifth year. Alternatively, a student may follow a complete B.A. course at Grinnell and, after graduation, undertake further study at an engineering school.
In either case, the prospective engineer studies the natural sciences as an integral part of a liberal education. Students are required to establish at Grinnell a strong foundation in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. A broad base of knowledge in the humanities and social sciences is also strongly recommended. The required science courses are those taken by any student with a serious interest in science, so a definite commitment to engineering is not necessary until enrollment at the engineering school.