Students planning advanced study in engineering may complete a full B.A. course at Grinnell before graduate school, or they can follow a 3-2 program in Engineering. The 3-2 program allows students to 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. or B.E. degree from the cooperating institution at the end of the fifth year. 

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 also is 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.

For more information about the 3-2 program, please contact the 3-2 Liaison Officer, Charles Cunningham.

If you would like to be added to the 3-2 Program e-mail list, please contact Stephanie Peterson.

Requirements for transfer to Columbia University, Washington University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, or California Institute of Technology

Typical Requirements of all four schools (please check affiliate's individual requirements) : 

  • Mathematics through Linear Algebra (Math 215) and Differential Equations (Math 220)
  • Two semesters of physics (Physics 131-132)
  • One semester of chemistry (Chemistry 129 or 210); more for chemical engineering programs
  • 3.3 GPA; higher GPA is required for some programs and some schools

Special Requirements: Columbia University ("Combined Plan")

  • One course in computing, a knowledge of C, C++, Java, Python, or MATLAB
  • One course of economics
  • 27 non-technical credit hours

Washington University ("Dual Degree")

  • One course in computing (CSC 161)
  • Fifteen hours of humanities and social studies, with at least six hours in humanities and at least three hours in social studies

California Institute of Technology ("3-2")

  • Recommended: two additional courses in physics (Modern Physics and Mechanics)
  • A year of chemistry
  • Twenty-four semester hours of humanities and social studies. At least six of these hours must be in humanities (art, history, languages, literature, music, philosophy) and at least six hours must be in social studies (anthropology, economics, political science, psychology)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ("Transfer Admission")

  • One additional semester of physics
  • Four courses in humanities and social studies
  • Persons interested in chemical engineering should have a year of organic chemistry
  • Those interested in environmental or biomedical engineering should have some cell biology
  • A major at Grinnell must be completed, but credit to complete it can be transferred back from the engineering school. Usually a Grinnell major in chemistry, computer science, mathematics, or physics is required

Please note that Grinnell College financial aid does not extend to the student's time at the engineering school. Check with the engineering school for their current financial aid policy.