NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Smith College’s pioneering engineering program has a new academic option: a bachelor’s degree in engineering arts.
The latest offering coincides with the Picker Engineering Program’s celebration of two other milestones. This year, the program will mark its 10th anniversary and the completion of Ford Hall, a state-of-the-art building that will be the new home for engineering as well as the molecular sciences.
When Smith launched the Picker Engineering Program, it was the first in the nation just for women and one that sought to position the study of engineering in a liberal arts context. To date, 138 students have graduated from Smith with a bachelor’s of science degree in engineering – an accredited degree that is sought by women who plan to pursue the professional practice of engineering.
The new degree expands upon the idea that engineering concepts add value to many other fields. Knowledge of engineering can enhance the pursuit of such varied interests as architecture, landscape studies, education, public policy, economics, energy policy and ethics.
“The new degree is designed for students who recognize the increasing importance of science and technology in all facets of life in today’s world yet don’t want to specifically become engineers,” said Linda Jones, Rosemary Bradford Hewlett '40 Professor of Engineering and director of the Picker Engineering Program. “If a student is interested in a field in which some depth in science or engineering is needed, the bachelor of arts in engineering arts may be her best bet.”
Each student intending to major in engineering arts will be required to prepare a short statement of academic focus by the end of her sophomore year that identifies her educational objectives.
The statement will detail the student’s choices of courses outside of engineering that provide a coherent context for the major both in terms of the understanding of engineering and the student’s educational objectives. An adviser will assist her in selecting a coherent course sequence.
A full 18 percent of admitted science majors for the fall of 2009 identified engineering as their interest, and 93 Smith students are currently seeking bachelor of science degrees in engineering in the accredited Picker Engineering Program.
Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. One of the largest women’s colleges in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,800 students from nearly every state and 62 other countries.