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Engineering

In 2004, Smith College made history when 19 women graduated as part of the first class of engineers ever from an all-women’s ABET-accredited engineering program. The reasons to study engineering at a women’s liberal arts college are compelling. As a creative endeavor at the intersection of design, science and mathematics, engineering draws on nearly all aspects of the human experience, including history, politics, economics, arts and societal aspirations. The work of engineers both exacerbates and solves some of our gravest societal problems, including climate change, disease, resource limitations and conflict.

Visit the Engineering Moodle page for program information, resources, and more.

Requirements & Courses

Goals for Majors in Engineering

The Picker Engineering Program has adopted the seven student learning outcomes suggested by ABET. For each learning outcome, the engineering faculty have identified specific performance indicators that can be measured—there are two to four performance indicators for each learning outcome. The learning outcomes are as follows.

  • An ability to identify, formulate and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science and mathematics.
  • An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental and economic factors.
  • An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  • An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental and societal contexts.
  • An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks and meet objectives.
  • An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
  • An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Engineering Science, Bachelor of Science 

Smith offers an undergraduate curriculum leading to an ABET-accredited degree in engineering science, the broad study of the foundational scientific and engineering principles that govern the practice of all engineering disciplines. The bachelor of science degree program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. The American Society for Engineering Education, identifying the critical need for broadly educated engineers, points out that the design of an engineering curriculum should “recognize the pitfalls of overspecialization in the face of an increasing demand for graduates who can demonstrate adaptability to rapidly changing technologies and to increasingly complex multinational markets.” An integral component of the program is the continuous emphasis on the use of engineering science principles in design. This culminates in a final capstone design project that incorporates broad-based societal aspects. Students are encouraged to pursue a corporate and/or research internship to complement their classroom instruction. Engineers must be able to communicate effectively and work in team settings. Smith’s highly-regarded writing intensive first-year curriculum ensures that engineering students begin their engineering curriculum with appropriate communication skills that will be refined during the remainder of their studies. Many engineering courses offered at Smith incorporate elements of teamwork and oral/written communication. 

Requirements
  1. Eight credits of math from the following: MTH 111MTH 112MTH 211, a topic of MTH 264
  2. Five math and science courses: MTH 212SDS 220PHY 210PHY 117 or PHY 119CHM 111 or CHM 118
  3. An additional lab science (5 credits) from the following: PHY 118PHY 119CHM 118CHM 222CHM 224BIO 130/BIO 131BIO 132/BIO 133 
  4. One computer science course from the following: CSC 110CSC 120CSC 205/ MTH 205CSC 210 or CSC 220
  5. Seven required engineering courses: A topic of EGR 100, EGR 110EGR 220EGR 270EGR 290EGR 374 and EGR 410D
  6. Five additional  technical depth courses, chosen in consultation with the major adviser.
    • At least four out of the five courses must be engineering courses at the 300 level or higher.
    • Special studies and honors credits can be counted toward this category by petitioning the department.
  7. A year-long capstone design course, taken in the senior year, that incorporates appropriate engineering standards and multiple constraints and is based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work. Students may satisfy the capstone design requirement through a design-based project with an individual member of the faculty (EGR 421D), or through a team-based industry or nonprofit-sponsored project (EGR 422D).  
  8. Liberal arts breadth, one of the following: 
    • Complete Latin honors distribution requirements
    • Complete requirements for another major or minor exclusively within Division I (humanities) or Division II (social sciences)
    • An approved proposal to fulfill the requirements for a minor that is not exclusively within Division I and/or II where a minimum of 5 proposed courses have a Smith College Latin honors distribution coding other than or in addition to N (natural science) and M (mathematics and analytical philosophy), for consideration and approval by the engineering program
    • An approved cogent proposal describing an alternative approach (e.g., concentration) including all courses the student will take to acquire curricular breadth, for consideration and approval by the engineering faculty in exceptional circumstances
  9. Book of Evidence Requirement: Bachelor of science in engineering science majors must complete a book of evidence with a minimum of 20 approved artifacts. These artifacts serve as evidence of the performance indicators that are linked to the program’s ABET student outcomes and mapped to the curriculum. 
Major Requirement Details
  • Engineering science majors with PHY 119 credit are not eligible to take PHY 118PHY 119 can fulfill the introductory physics requirement or the 5-credit lab-based science requirement but not both. 
  • It is strongly recommended that students complete all math, science, and 100- and 200-level EGR requirements by the end of the first semester in their junior year. 

Engineering Science Minor

The minor in engineering science enables students to study engineering in a meaningful and flexible way.

Requirements

Five courses

  1. A topic of EGR 100
  2. EGR 110
  3. Three additional engineering courses, at least one of which must be at the 300 level or higher, approved by an engineering academic advisor.

The minor requires prerequisite courses in math and science that depend on the set of engineering courses chosen by the student. The flexibility allows multiple pathways through engineering with different areas of focus.

Course Information

A topic in EGR 100 introduces potential majors and non-majors to the field of engineering through authentic practice (design). Other required courses introduce the fundamental engineering principles and concepts that underlie most fields and engineering and impart the skills and capacities that are necessary for deeper learning within engineering.

Seminars in an area of faculty expertise, while topically diverse, leverage the expertise of our faculty and their work as scholars. Additionally, these courses are connected to each other and to our required courses through deep and coherent knowledge of cross-cutting principles and authentic practices. More foundational technical-depth courses provide the basis for additional study in many areas of engineering.

Engineering majors receive priority registration in engineering courses listed as for "Engineering majors only."  All students wth the appropriate prerequisites are welcome on a space-available basis.

Courses

EGR 100df Topics: Engineering for Everyone-Design for the Future (4 Credits)

This class explores a range of future societal challenges before settling in on a “grand challenge” of particular interest to students to focus on with our design work. Through readings, discussions, short assignments and a semester-long collaborative design project, students work together to identify unmet needs and learn a process for creating solutions to meet those needs. Students start by developing an initial understanding of a need area through relevant background research and then spend the majority of their time continually improving solution ideas through prototyping, testing, feedback and revision. Enrollment limited to 20. {N}

Fall, Spring, Annually

EGR 100ee Topics: Engineering for Everyone-Energy and the Environment (4 Credits)

Through readings, discussion, labs, and lectures students learn about human activity related to energy usage and the consequences to Earth’s environment. This knowledge is applied to motivate, design and build scale models of net-zero energy buildings. Through simple lab exercises, students learn to program microcontrollers that measure temperatures and control features within their model buildings, and corresponding analyses enable students to demonstrate how energy from the sun can be utilized in design to reduce carbon-based energy sources. Enrollment limited to 20. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 100hh Topics: Engineering for Everyone-Challenges in Human Health (4 Credits)

We will explore broadly how engineering design approaches can be used to address a variety of challenges in human health. Through readings, discussions, lab experiences, short design assignments, and a semester-long team design project, we will work to identify open unmet biomedical needs, and learn a process for how to develop solutions to meet those needs. The emphasis will be on first gaining a throrough understanding of an unmet need, and then on continually improving solution ideas, through testing and seeking feedback on the current set of possible solutions, and learning from failure. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 100mr Topics: Engineering for Everyone-Mobile Robot Design (4 Credits)

Through readings, presentations and group activities, students are introduced to the principles of human-centered design. The engineering design process is explored through assignments that guide students in ideation, testing and documentation of an engineering system. Students engage in hands-on workshops to learn and practice new technical skills, and they apply these tools towards completing a semester-long collaborative project to design, build and program an autonomous mobile robot. Enrollment limited to 20. {N}

Fall, Variable

EGR 100sw Topics: Engineering for Everyone-Sustainable Water Resources (4 Credits)

We investigate and design water resources infrastructure – for hydropower, water supply, wastewater treatment, stormwater management, and irrigation. Those technologies are introduced through historical and contemporary examples, along with a theme of the importance of place in engineering design. In contrast to design as invention, this course puts the emphasis on the adaptation of common designs to particular places, as influenced by climate, physical geography, culture, history, economics, politics, and legal frameworks. Examples include the historic Mill River, Northampton’s water resources, Boston’s Deer Island wastewater treatment facility, San Francisco’s water supply system, California’s State Water Project and the Bay-Delta system, the Colorado River, and water recycling and reclamation. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 110 Fundamental Engineering Principles (4 Credits)

The design and analysis of engineered or natural systems and processes relies on a command of fundamental scientific and engineering principles. This course provides an introduction to these fundamental underpinnings through a study of the conservation of mass, energy and charge in both steady and transient conditions with non-reactive systems. Specific topics covered include a review of process variables and their relationships, open and closed systems, differential and integral balances, and basic thermodynamics. Prerequisite: MTH 112, may be taken concurrently. Enrollment limited to 20. {N}

Spring

EGR 220 Engineering Circuit Theory (5 Credits)

Analog and digital circuits are the building blocks of computers, medical technologies and all things electrical. This course introduces both the fundamental principles necessary to understand how circuits work and mathematical tools that have widespread applications in areas throughout engineering and science. Topics include, Kirchhoff’s laws, Thévenin and Norton equivalents, superposition, responses of first-order and second-order networks, time-domain and frequency-domain analyses and frequency-selective networks. Required laboratory taken once a week. Corequisite: PHY 210.Prerequisite: MTH 212. Enrollment limited to 20. Engineering majors only. {N}

Spring

EGR 270 Engineering Mechanics I (5 Credits)

This course introduces the basic theoretical concepts, procedures and methodologies needed to understand the mechanical behavior of objects in static equilibrium. Topics to be covered include 2d and 3d particle and rigid body equilibrium; analysis of frames, trusses, beams and machines; centroids; distributed loading; moment of inertia; internal forces and moments; and an introduction to stress and strain. In addition to developing competence in applying standard problem-solving procedures, students will also apply their understanding in real world contexts. Prerequisites: PHY 117 and MTH 112 or equivalent. Engineering majors only. Enrollment limited to 20. {N}

Fall

EGR 290 Engineering Thermodynamics (4 Credits)

Modern civilization relies profoundly on efficient production, management and consumption of energy. Thermodynamics is the science of energy transformations involving work, heat and the properties of matter. Engineers rely on thermodynamics to assess the feasibility of their designs in a wide variety of fields including chemical processing, pollution control and abatement, power generation, materials science, engine design, construction, refrigeration and microchip processing. Course topics include first and second laws of thermodynamics, power cycles; combustion and refrigeration; phase equilibria; ideal and nonideal mixtures, conductive, convective and radiative heat transfer. Prerequisite EGR 110; CHM 111 or CHM 118; and MTH 212 (may be concurrent). Enrollment limited to 20. Engineering majors only. {N}

Fall, Spring

EGR 312 Seminar: Atmospheric Processes (4 Credits)

This seminar explores key topics including atmospheric circulation, global warming, stratospheric ozone depletion and urban air pollution. How does ground-level ozone form and why is it harmful to people and agriculture? What are high-pressure systems and why are they associated with fair weather? How do clouds form and what impact do they have on our climate? What instruments are being used to measure the properties of the atmosphere and how do these instruments work? This course is recommended for anyone with a solid grounding in math and science and will be of interest to all students who want a better understanding of the environment. Prerequisites: CHM 111, EGR 110 and EGR 374 (may be concurrent) or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 12. Junior and senior engineering majors only. {N}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

EGR 314 Seminar: Contaminants in Aquatic Systems (4 Credits)

Chemical and microbiological contamination of freshwater is a growing concern around the world. Understanding how these contaminants behave in the environment is essential when considering ecosystem implications and engineering approaches towards remediation. Topics covered include water chemistry, water policy and regulation and chemical contaminant partitioning. The class explores how contaminants enter the ecosystem, the fate of these contaminants due to environmental action and the potential for remediation to help restore freshwater health using a course based research approach. In addition, current and historical water quality events are reviewed as case studies. Through the research-based course project, students have an opportunity to explore a chosen topic of interest related to water quality and/or aquatic chemical or microbiological contamination. Prerequisites: CHM 111 and SDS 220. Enrollment limited to 12. Junior and senior engineering majors only. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 315 Seminar: Ecohydrology (4 Credits)

This seminar focuses on the measurement and modeling of hydrologic processes and their interplay with ecosystems. Material includes the statistical and mathematical representation of infiltration, evapotranspiration, plant uptake and runoff over a range of scales (plot to watershed). The course addresses characterization of the temporal and spatial variability of environmental parameters and representation of the processes. The course introduces students to the Pioneer Valley, the cloud forests of Costa Rica and African savannas. Prerequisites: MTH 112 and SDS 220. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and senior Engineering majors only.

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 320 Signals and Systems (4 Credits)

The concepts of linear system theory (e.g., signals and systems) are fundamental to all areas of engineering, including the transmission of radio signals, signal processing techniques (e.g., medical imaging, speech recognition, etc.) and the design of feedback systems (e.g., in automobiles, power plants, etc.). This course introduces the basic concepts of linear system theory, including convolution, continuous and discrete time Fourier analysis, Laplace and Z transforms, sampling, stability, feedback, control and modulation. Examples are utilized from electrical, mechanical, biomedical, environmental and chemical engineering. The course includes several short laboratory experiences to help understand the relevant concepts. Prerequisites: EGR 220 and PHY 210. Enrollment limited to 20. Junior and senior Engineering majors only. {M}

Fall, Spring, Annually

EGR 322 Seminar: Acoustics (4 Credits)

Acoustics describes sound transmission through solids and fluids; the focus here is on sound transmission through air. This seminar provides an overview of the fundamentals of acoustics, including derivation of the acoustic wave equation, the study of sound wave propagation (plane and spherical waves), the study of sound transmission through pipes, waveguides and resonators impedance analogies, an overview of the acoustics related to the human auditory system and an introduction to room acoustics. The course includes several short hands-on experiments to help understand the relevant concepts. Prerequisite: EGR 220 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 12. Junior and senior engineering majors only. {M}{N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 323 Seminar: Introduction to Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) (4 Credits)

Miniature and micro-scale electromechanical systems (MEMS) have applications ranging from navigation systems in your phone to disease diagnosis at your doctor’s office. This course asks and answers questions related to MEMS fabrication, design and modeling. Application including inertial sensors, biological and chemical sensors, microfluidics and wearable devices are discussed. Students complete a final project by applying a MEMS sensor to an application of their choice. Prerequisites: EGR 220 and EGR 270. Enrollment limited to 12. Junior and senior engineering majors only. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 324 Seminar: Fundamentals of Microelectronics (4 Credits)

The electronic world relies on transistors, amplifiers and other microelectronic circuits. This course introduces the principles required to analyze and design basic microelectronic circuits. Topics will include the device principles of diodes, bipolar junction transistors and field effect transistors, the design of simple analog and digital circuits and microelectronic circuit analysis using simulation software (SPICE). Prerequisite: EGR 220. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 325 Seminar: Electric Power Systems (4 Credits)

Wind and solar energy? Power generation from coal and nuclear fuel? What are our options for maintaining the high standard of living we expect, and also for electrifying developing regions? How can we make our energy use less damaging to our environment? This seminar introduces students to the field of electric power, from energy sources, generating technologies (renewable, hydro, nuclear and fossil), electricity transmission and ultimate end-use by us. Topics include analysis and simulation of power systems, discussions of emerging smart grid technologies (home automation), as well as policy, environmental and societal aspects of energy use. A short project allows students to select and explore individual technologies or a small power system in more depth. Prerequisite: EGR 220. Enrollment limited to 12. Junior and senior engineering majors only. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 326 Dynamic Systems and Introduction to Control Theory (4 Credits)

Dynamic systems are systems that evolve with time, such as plants growing, populations migrating, systems storing energy (RLC circuits, rolling carts, heated building), national economy behavior, etc. They occur throughout nature and the built environment. Understanding dynamic systems leads to the ability to control them, so they behave according to the engineer's design. This course introduces students to both linear dynamic system and modern control theories, so that students will be able to design and control simple dynamic systems. Through design projects, students gain practical experience in designing a simple controller for a dynamic system. Prerequisites: EGR 220, CSC 110 or CSC 120, and a basic linear algebra from course such as PHY 210 or MTH 211. Enrollment limited to 20. Engineering majors only. {N}

Fall, Spring, Annually

EGR 328/ CSC 328 Seminar: Digital Circuits and Sensors (4 Credits)

Offered as CSC 328 and EGR 328. Previously EGR 390dc. Digital circuits are everywhere, from basic thermostat controls and stop light sequencers to smart phones, computers and even Mars Rovers! This course covers the basic building blocks for all electronics. Students investigate basic logic circuits, combinatorial logic and sequential logic with an introduction to the basic digital circuits such as encoders and multiplexers. The second part of the semester focuses on microprocessors, using the Arduino. Students will build a variety of circuits with input (from a computer, or from the environment via sensors) and programmed output (LEDs, sound, data sent to a computer), in order to learn how information from our analog world can be converted into digital data. There will be a lab about every other week, and a final project for students to explore an area of their choosing in more depth. Prerequisites: CSC 110 or CSC 120, and either EGR 220 or CSC 231. Enrollment limited to 12. Junior and senior engineering majors only. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 340 Seminar: Geotechnical Engineering (4 Credits)

What is quicksand and can you really drown in it? Why is Venice sinking? In this seminar students are introduced to the engineering behavior of soil within the context of a variety of real-world applications that include constructing dams, roads and buildings; protecting structures from earthquake and settlement damage; and preventing groundwater contamination. Topics covered include soil classification, permeability and seepage, volume changes, effective stress, strength and compaction. Students use a variety of approaches to learning including discussion, hands-on activities, labs, projects, field trips and in-depth explorations of topics chosen by the students. Prerequisite: EGR 270 or GEO 241. Enrollment limited to 12. Junior and senior engineering majors only. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 351 Seminar: Introduction to Biomedical Engineering (4 Credits)

There are countless challenges in medicine that engineering can help to address, from the molecular scale to the level of the entire human body. This course introduces students to engineering problem solving approaches to explore important biomedical questions. The class integrates learning of underlying biological systems with developing engineering thinking to examine those systems. Students use mathematical tools to interpret and model the behavior of various biological phenomena. Upon completion of this course, students are able to identify open medical needs and propose ways in which engineering can contribute to understanding and meeting those needs. Prerequisites: PHY 210 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 12. Junior and senior engineering majors only.

Fall, Spring, Annually

EGR 360 Seminar: Advanced Thermodynamics (4 Credits)

Significant challenges underlie our ability to effectively harness, convert and distribute energy. This course builds on a fundamental knowledge of thermodynamics to understand the operating principles behind, and characterize the limits of, energy generation and conversion technologies. Methods of power generation are examined, including combustion engines, nuclear reactors and hydrogen fuel cells. Topics covered in this course include: exergy, advanced cycle analysis, ideal gas mixtures, thermodynamic relations and energy analysis of reacting systems. Prerequisites: CHM 111, EGR 290 and MTH 212. Enrollment limited to 12. Junior and senior engineering majors only. {N}

Fall, Spring, Annually

EGR 363 Mass and Heat Transfer (4 Credits)

This upper-level course introduces the processes and accompanying mathematical representations that govern the transport of heat and mass, including advection, dispersion, adsorption, conduction, convection and radiation. Applications include environmental transport and mixing, cooling and heat exchange, and separation processes. Prerequisites: EGR 290 and EGR 374. Enrollment limited to 20. Engineering majors only. {N}

Fall, Spring, Annually

EGR 373 Seminar: Skeletal Biomechanics (4 Credits)

Knowledge of the mechanical and material behavior of the skeletal system is important for understanding how the human body functions and how the biomechanical integrity of the tissues comprising the skeletal system are established during development, maintained during adulthood and restored following injury. This seminar provides a rigorous approach to examining the mechanical behavior of the skeletal tissues, including bone, tendon, ligament and cartilage. Engineering, basic science and clinical perspectives are integrated to study applications in the field of orthopaedic biomechanics. Prerequisites: EGR 375. Enrollment limited to 12. Junior and senior Engineering majors only. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 374 Fluid Mechanics (5 Credits)

This is the second course in a two-semester sequence designed to introduce students to fundamental theoretical principles and analysis of mechanics of continuous media, including solids and fluids. Concepts and topics to be covered in this course include intensive and extensive thermophysical properties of fluids; control-volume and differential expressions for conservation of mass, momentum and energy; dimensional analysis; and an introduction to additional topics such as aerodynamics, open-channel flow, and the use of fluid mechanics in the design process. Required concurrent laboratory. EGR majors only. Prerequisites: EGR 270 and MTH 212. Enrollment limited to 20. {N}

Fall, Spring

EGR 375 Strength of Materials (4 Credits)

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of mechanics of materials from a static failure analysis framework. Structural behavior is analyzed, along with the material and geometric contributions to this behavior. Lecture topics are complemented with hands-on project work designed to help students make connections between the theoretical and experimental behavior of materials. Prerequisite: EGR 270. Engineering majors only. {N}

Fall, Spring, Annually

EGR 376 Materials Science and Engineering (4 Credits)

Periods in human history have been defined by advancements in new materials. Discoveries in Materials Science have lead the way to new technologies in every engineering discipline and continue to be at the forefront of developing fields such as biomaterials and nanotechnology. This course will provide a broad introduction into the world of Materials Science with a special emphasis on the relationship between the composition, processing, structure, and properties of metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites. EGR Majors only. Prerequisites: EGR 270 and EGR 290. Enrollment limited to 20. {N}

Fall, Spring, Annually

EGR 377 Seminar: Aerial Vehicle Design (4 Credits)

Remotely piloted and autonomous aircraft are increasingly being used in scientific research, agriculture, disaster mitigation and national defense. These small and efficient aircraft offer major environmental benefits while, at the same time, raise complex ethical and policy issues. This seminar introduces the rapidly growing field of aerial vehicle design and low-Reynolds number aerodynamics through a major project in which students design, fabricate and test a remotely piloted aircraft. Prerequisites: EGR 374, CSC 111, and either EGR 220 or CSC 270. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only.

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 388 Seminar: Photovoltaic and Fuel Cell System Design (4 Credits)

This seminar applies fundamental principles of thermodynamics, electrochemistry and semi-conductor physics to the design, modeling and analysis of renewable energy power systems. Concepts covered in this course include extraterrestrial radiation, solar geometry, atmospheric effects, polarization curve characteristics, system components and configurations, stand-alone and hybrid system design and load interactions. This course applies these theoretical concepts in a laboratory setting involving the design and testing of fuel cell and photovoltaic systems. Corequisite: EGR 290. Prerequisites: EGR 220. Enrollment limited to 12. Junior and senior engineering majors only. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 389 Seminar: Techniques for Modeling Engineering Processes (4 Credits)

The goal of this seminar is to introduce students to several approaches used to model, understand, simulate and forecast engineering processes. One approach covered is the use of artificial neural networks—a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) with connections to the brain. Other approaches covered are based upon probability and statistics and include auto-regressive moving average (ARIMA) processes. Although students learn about the theory behind these approaches, the emphasis of the course is on their application to model processes throughout the field of engineering. Some examples include earthquake ground motion, financial markets, water treatment and electrical systems. Acknowledging the interdisciplinary nature of AI, students also investigate the possibilities of machine consciousness. Enrollment limited to 12. Junior and senior engineering majors only. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 390fe Seminar: Advanced Topics in Engineering-Finite Element Modeling (4 Credits)

Computer simulations are an increasingly large part of engineering research and design, but how do we know if the results on the screen match reality?  This course is an introduction to finite element methods for the analysis of solids, fluids, and heat transfer.  Topics covered include the creation of 1D, 2D, and 3D models of engineering problems in COMSOL Multiphysics (a commercial engineering program), comparison of modeled results to laboratory measurements, and the evaluation of modeled results.  An emphasis will be not only on the creation of computer models, but also on how to validate those models with real world data.  Small projects and modeling homework assignments will lead to a more complex final project on a chosen topic of interest. EGR majors only. Prerequisites: EGR 270, EGR 290 and EGR 374. Juniors and seniors only. Enrollment limited to 12. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 390ge Seminar: Advanced Topics in Engineering-Geothermal Engineering (4 Credits)

Roughly two thirds of the energy used in a typical home in the United States is for heating and cooling.  Most often, this energy is produced by burning fossil fuels or pulling electricity from the grid to power inefficient space heaters or air conditioners.  Geothermal systems have been used since the 1970s to efficiently provide environmentally sustainable heating and cooling capacity for structures as small as homes or as large as hospitals.  Topics to be covered include the different types of geothermal systems used for heating and cooling, calculating heat exchange, evaluation of site geothermal potential, design of geothermal systems, as well as construction techniques and considerations.  Course activities will include discussions, design projects and field trips to ongoing geothermal construction sites (when possible).  Prerequisites: EGR 290. Enrollment limited to 12. Junior and senior engineering majors only. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 390rs Seminar: Advanced Topics in Engineering-Remote Sensing (4 Credits)

{N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EGR 400 Special Studies (1-4 Credits)

Engineering majors only.

Fall, Spring

EGR 410D Engineering Design and Professional Practice (1 Credit)

This two-semester course focuses on the engineering design process and associated professional skills required for careers in engineering. Topics include a subset of the following: the engineering design process, project definition, design requirements, project management, concept generation, concept selection, engineering economics, design for sustainability, design for safety and risk reduction, design case studies, teamwork, effective presentations, professional ethics, networking, negotiation and intellectual property. This course is required of all senior engineering students pursuing the B.S. in engineering science and must be taken in conjunction with EGR 421D, EGR 422D or EGR 431D. EGR majors only. Seniors only.

Fall, Spring, Annually

EGR 421D Capstone Design with Faculty (3 Credits)

This two-semester course leverages students’ previous coursework to address an engineering design problem. Students work on a design project sponsored by an individual member of the engineering faculty. Regular design meetings, progress reports, interim and final reports, and presentations are required. Prerequisites: Senior standing in engineering, EGR 220, EGR 270, EGR 290, EGR 374 and at least one additional 300-level engineering course, plus a clear demonstration of intent and a faculty sponsor. Corequisite EGR 410D.

Fall, Spring

EGR 422D Design Clinic (3 Credits)

This two-semester course leverages students’ previous coursework to address an engineering design problem. Students collaborate in teams on real-world projects sponsored by industry and government. Regular team design meetings, weekly progress reports, interim and final reports, and multiple presentations are required. This course requires an ability to work on open-ended problems in a team setting. Corequisite EGR 410D. Prerequisites: EGR 100, EGR 220, EGR 270, EGR 290, EGR 374 and at least one additional 300-level engineering course, or equivalent. Senior engineering majors only. Enrollment limited to 36.

Fall, Spring, Annually

EGR 430D Honors Project (4 Credits)

Independent work in any area of engineering with a faculty member for a total of 8 credits. This pathway is separate from the capstone design experience required for the B.S. degree. Senior engineering majors only. Requires permission of the department.

Fall, Spring, Annually

EGR 431D Honors Capstone Design with Faculty (4 Credits)

Honors version of EGR 421D. Corequisite: EGR 410D. Engineering majors only. Requires permission of the department.

Fall, Spring, Annually

About the Program

Upon entering Smith, every student who has indicated a potential interest in engineering is encouraged to stop by the engineering office (Ford Hall 155) and get connected to the program.  In addition to a student's liberal arts advisor, the Director and Assistant Director of the Picker Engineering Program can provide guidance.  Additional resources for first-year students can be found here.

Advisers for all declared engineering majors are members of the engineering faculty.

Declaring the major

Students who decide to major in engineering need to submit two forms:

  1. The declaration of the major is submitted to the Class Deans Office.
  2. The departmental advising form, located in our Forms section, is submitted to the engineering administrative office in order to assign the student an adviser.

Advising Expectations

Students are expected to meet with their adviser at least once a semester to discuss academic interests and to seek help in planning courses and registering for classes.

Students who wish to apply prematriculation credit toward their degree are required to follow the college guidelines found on the registrar’s website. These guidelines include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • only 16 prematriculation credits may be applied toward a Smith degree; and
  • no more than 32 credits of combined summer, interterm, Advanced Placement or other prematriculation credits may be used.

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure through the registrar’s office that all approved credits appear on their transcript.

Prematriculation Credit

Advanced Placement Exam (Score of 4 or 5) EGR Requirement Satisfied
Biology Additional Lab Science
Calculus AB MTH 111
Calculus BC MTH 111 & 112
Chemistry CHM 111
Physics 1 or 2 None
Physics C: Mechanics PHY 117
Physics C: E&M PHY 118
Statistics None
International Baccalaureate Higher Level Exam (Score of 5, 6 or 7) EGR Requirement Satisfied
Chemistry CHM 111
Mathematics MTH 111 & 112
   
International Cambridge A Level Exam (Score of A or B) EGR Requirement Satisfied
Chemistry CHM 111
Mathematics MTH 111 & 112
   

Transfer Credits

Students who take courses at other institutions for summer school, junior year away or Five College study must obtain written approval from the engineering program prior to taking them. Engineering students should consult their academic adviser and the Study Away Guide for additional guidance. Students should seek approval using one of the departmental forms found below.

Core Courses

To obtain approval for a core course complete the Departmental Supplement for Petition to Transfer Credit (PDF).

Technical Electives

To obtain approval for a technical elective complete the Departmental Supplement for Non-Standard Technical Elective (PDF).

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Grading Option

Within the 128 credits required by Smith College, a maximum of 16 credits (Smith College or other Five College) may be taken S/U. A student is permitted to take engineering major requirements S/U but should only do so after careful consultation with her academic adviser.

Students who decide to major in engineering need to submit two forms:

  1. The departmental advising form (our Forms section) is submitted to the engineering administrative office in order to assign the student an engineering academic adviser.
  2. Once you have received an email with the name of your advisor, please complete the Program of Study Declaration Form.

When to Declare

Students considering an engineering major are asked to declare their major by spring recess of their first year. It is essential that students considering engineering have completed PHY 117 and MTH 112 before the start of the fall semester of their sophomore year.

Registration to engineering classes will automatically be blocked if all prerequisites or core requirements have not been satisfied at the time of registration.

To lift that block, you must petition both the engineering program (see our Forms section) and the registrar (see Waiver of Restrictions).

Departmental forms are often required when pursuing course work that deviates from the approved engineering curriculum. 

The plan of study identifies the coursework needed to complete the major/minor and allows each student to document a path toward completing the major/minor. Students review, update and discuss their plan of study with their adviser each semester.

Bachelor of Science in Engineering Plan of Study 
Minor in Engineering Plan of Study.pdf

Capstone Design Intent Form

Capstone Design Intent Form

Advising

Declaring a major/minor and getting an advisor 
First-Year Advising Resources 
Petition to take EGR 270 and EGR 220 outside of sophomore year

Request for Extra Time

Request for Extra Time to Complete the Engineering Major

Study Away

Study Abroad Planning 
Princeton_Smith_Exchange

Special Studies

Students who wish to register for Special Studies (EGR 400) are required to complete the college’s Special Studies/Advanced Studies Registration Supplement form that is available on the registrar website. If a student plans to use the Special Studies (EGR 400) as a technical-depth course then the student is also required to complete the Petition for Technical Depth courses (see below). For more information, see the Special Studies tab.

Course Approvals

Petition to replace a required course with a non-Smith course 
Petition to replace a required course with a Smith course 
Petition for Technical Depth courses 
Waiver of Prerequisities Form

For additional information on transfer credits, please see the Credit Guidelines on The Academic Program page.

Study abroad is an exciting opportunity, and many engineering majors find programs abroad offering engineering core courses and technical electives.

Because of the required course load for the engineering major, and the time required to become proficient in a second language, most engineering students select to study either in an English-speaking country, or a country for which they already speak the local language.

For more information about the study abroad application process, see our Forms section.

Credit Approval

Core Courses

To receive credit for core courses, seek approval using the Departmental Supplement for Petition to Transfer Credit form, located on the Forms page.

Technical Electives

To receive credit for core courses and for electives, seek additional approval using the Departmental Supplement for Technical Elective form, located on the Forms page.

More Information

Study Abroad Lunch Meeting for Sophomores

Early each fall semester, a lunch meeting is held for all sophomores interested in applying for a semester or year abroad. Representatives from the Office of International Study and the engineering department will be there to answer your questions.

The Picker Engineering Program engages students in the knowledge and tools of engineering and prepares graduates to be critical thinkers and resilient learners. We foster an inclusive community that welcomes diverse perspectives. Have a question? Contact egradmin@smith.edu. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about the program.

What engineering degrees does Smith offer?

Smith College offers an accredited bachelor of science degree in engineering science (S.B.). The degree is offered for students who are thinking they would like to practice professionally as engineers. The S.B. is an ABET-accredited degree rooted in the fundamental engineering principles that govern all engineering disciplines. After completing a foundational set of core courses, students choose from a variety of electives to pursue an area of technical interest. An integrated curriculum of liberal arts, science, math and engineering courses provides the breadth and depth needed to think critically, act reflectively and make informed decisions.

Can I specialize in one area of engineering?

The challenges of the 21st century require broadly educated engineers capable of working collaboratively and adaptively across disciplinary boundaries. To meet this need, Smith S.B. degree in engineering science provides a strong foundation in the fundamentals of all engineering disciplines. In pursuit of the S.B, students complete five upper-level technical depth courses. These courses, taken at Smith, the College of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst or elsewhere, enable students to pursue an area of topical or disciplinary interest, such as electrical engineering or sustainable energy. These technical-depth courses are selected in close consultation with the student’s faculty adviser.

What courses should a first-year student consider if they are interested in engineering?

Please refer to our document of specific advice for first-year students.

What AP, IB, A-level exams does the program count towards its requirements?

Please see page 2 of the First Year Advising Resources. If a particular exam is not listed, then it does not count towards the requirements for engineering.

Can I pursue a second major as an engineering student?

In addition to 13 engineering courses, the S.B. degree requires nine courses in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science. As a result of this curriculum, and our commitment to a liberal education, it’s difficult to pursue a second major in math, computer science or a natural science. Pursuing a second major in a humanities or social science discipline is challenging but doable. For a deep interest in computer science, mathematics or natural science, a student could consider pursuing a minor in one of those areas.

What do S.B. graduates do after Smith?

Smith graduates have a range of choices. Picker Engineering Program graduates can be found across the globe, working in places such as Lockheed Martin, Tesla Motors, AIR Worldwide, Exxon Mobil, Boeing and the Department of Labor. The majority of graduates eventually pursue a graduate degree at places such as Berkeley, Brown, Cornell, Harvard, Dartmouth, John Hopkins and Princeton. The S.B. degree is also considered the first step toward becoming a licensed professional engineer. Undergraduates enrolled in ABET-accredited programs are eligible to sit for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, which is the first step in the process. More information about the FE and professional licensure is available at NCEES.

What opportunities are there to study away?

Study abroad is an exciting opportunity, and many engineering majors find programs abroad that offer engineering courses. Because of the required course load, and the time required to become proficient in a second language, most students pursuing the S.B. study either in an English-speaking country or a country for which they already speak the local language.

What is the Princeton Exchange?

Smith College and Princeton University established an engineering exchange program to expose junior year students from both schools to different learning environments. The Princeton Exchange requires an application, due in January of a student’s sophomore year, and accommodates up to two students per year.

What opportunities are there for internships in industry, government or nonprofit organizations?

The Lazarus Center for Career Development connects students with many paid internships and career opportunities. Additionally, Smith’s Praxis program funds students to work at substantive, unpaid summer internships related to their academic or career interest.

In their senior year, S.B. engineering students work in teams on projects sponsored by industry or government through our yearlong Design Clinic. Many of the companies that sponsor design clinic projects also seek students for internships and jobs after Smith.

What opportunities exist for research with faculty?

Individual faculty members often involve students in their research. Students should inquire directly with faculty whose work interests them. Smith’s Summer Research Fellows Program (SURF) provides funding for students to pursue independent research in collaboration with a faculty adviser for 10 weeks during the summer. Two programs, STRIDE and AEMES, provide opportunities for first- and second-year students to work with faculty on research projects. Students are also encouraged to seek out NSF-sponsored REU programs (Research Opportunities for Undergraduates) at other colleges and universities throughout the country.

Faculty

Andrew Guswa

Engineering

L. Clark Seelye Professor of Engineering and Director of the Picker Engineering Program

Andrew Guswa

Susannah Howe

Engineering

Director of the Design Clinic and Senior Lecturer in Engineering, Junior Class Dean

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Borjana Mikic

Engineering

Rosemary Bradford Hewlett 1940 Professor of Engineering

Borjana Mikic

Paul Voss

Engineering

Associate Professor of Engineering

Placeholder Image

Engineering Staff

Sue Froehlich 
Laboratory Supervisor

Martin J. Green 
Assistant Director

Kristin Morse 
Program Assistant

Engineering Alum Council

Stephanie Annessi Tangard ’14 
Program Manager 
Werfen  
Groton, MA 
Term ends June 2024

Caitlyn Butler ’04 
Associate Professor & Graduate Program Director, Civil and Environmental Engineering 
UMass Amherst 
Northampton, MA 
Term ends June 2024

Rachel Entwistle ’05 
Director, Program Management 
HeartFlow, Inc 
San Francisco, CA 
Term ends June 2024

Shaneil Lafayette ’18 
Product Manager 
Equinix 
Washington DC 
Term ends June 2027

Vilma Goodman Reyes ’12 
Lead Engineer 
Cytiva 
Dedham, MA 
Term ends June 2027

Meghan Sheehy ’04 
Senior Product Manager in Systems Architecture Division of GE Power 
General Electric 
Longmeadow, MA 
Term ends June 2027

Linda Sorto ’07 
Senior Engineering Manager 
The Boeing Company 
Lake Stevens, WA 
Term ends June 2027

Marice Uy ’09 
Program Manager, PMO 
Zoox 
San Francisco, CA 
Term ends June 2024

Opportunities & Resources

Picker engineering students are creative and committed to academic rigor, continuous self-discovery, effective communication, critical thinking, socially responsible decision making and global citizenship as engineers of a sustainable future. Smith has established partnerships to facilitate exceptional opportunities, including access to Smith’s alum network as well as avenues for internships, research and employment that expose students to specific fields and let them complement their academic studies with practical experiences.

Smith College and Boston University’s College of Engineering are pioneering a collaboration that enables Smith College students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science to gain early admission to the Master of Science programs in engineering at Boston University and access enriching research experiences at Boston University as undergraduates. The partnership with Boston University provides early admission and reduced tuition and fees for graduate school.

Smith College has partnered with Princeton University to establish an exchange program for junior year students that will expose students from both schools to vastly different learning environments and better prepare women to enter and succeed in the field of engineering.

Smith Students

At Princeton, Smith students will be exposed to an engineering community that includes about 750 undergraduates (of about 4,600 total), 500 graduate students and 130 faculty members across six engineering departments: chemical engineering; civil and environmental engineering; computer science; electrical engineering; mechanical and aerospace engineering; and operations research and financial engineering. The course offerings and research facilities and opportunities are extensive.

Princeton Students

At Smith, Princeton students will have an opportunity to live and study in a community where small classes afford extensive opportunities for close contact and collaboration with faculty and peers in a curriculum that stresses integration with the liberal arts, and where 100 percent of the engineering students and over 60 percent of the faculty are women. The Picker Engineering Program has special strengths in biomedical engineering and engineering for sustainability.

Program of Study

Students will exchange in the spring semester of their junior year. The typical load is four courses at both institutions, though a course load of up to five can be accommodated. Students can choose from any of the courses offered at both institutions. Typically, a program of study would comprise two or three technical courses, junior independent work or a junior project course, and no more than one course in the humanities. Students are encouraged to carry out an independent research project during the term. Programs of study will be approved by advisers at Princeton and Smith.

Independent Research Project

A visiting Smith student will be a member of the department that matches best with their primary interests. Smith students who choose to do an independent research project and who earn a semester average of a B+ or better will be invited to continue their independent research project into the summer between their junior and senior years in order to complete a substantial piece of research. The summer component of the visiting student’s research program would be supported by a stipend from the faculty member with whom the research is conducted. All visiting Princeton students will be a part of the Picker Engineering Program and are welcome to contact a faculty member directly if they are interested in pursuing an independent research project. Students may be directed to faculty members at Princeton or Smith to further explore research opportunities.

Admission

Prior to applying for admission to the program, students must discuss course and research opportunities with their academic adviser or department representative, the Picker Engineering program assistant at Smith, or Princeton’s associate dean for undergraduate affairs of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. See the Forms page for more information and the application.

Application Deadline

Applications from Smith students must be submitted by February 1 of the year before the intended exchange. If accepted, the Smith student must submit a leave of absence form to the junior class dean by December 1.

Visiting the Campus

A visit to the other campus in the fall term of the junior year will help facilitate exploring potential independent research projects and courses to be taken.

Tuition & Fees

Smith College students accepted for the Smith-Princeton Exchange Program are charged their normal home college tuition and fees. These costs are paid to Smith College. Students on financial aid normally receive their regular assistance while on the exchange program.

Housing and Student Life

Housing is in Princeton University dormitories for juniors and seniors. Room and board charges will be paid directly to Princeton University.

Dining

Several dining options exist, including purchase of a Princeton University dining contract, independent self-catering, and a possible membership in an eating club.

Transportation

Students provide their own transportation to and from Princeton.

Campus Exchange

Members of undergraduate engineering societies and departmental organizations play an active role in welcoming visiting students and involving them in the engineering community and undergraduate life at the exchange college or university.

Princeton Life

With the exception of varsity intercollegiate athletics, which are bound by strict NCAA rules, visiting Smith students are welcome to explore participation in all types of extracurricular activities that interest them.

Smith Life

Northampton is a lively town of 30,000. Residential life at Smith is considered an important part of a student‘s education. Smith is committed to a co-curricular environment that enhances and enriches the academic program: residential living is an integral part of that education.

More Information

Smith Contact

Contact Assistant Director Martin Green, 413-585-7516.

Princeton Contact

Contact Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs Peter Bogucki, 609-258-4554.

The relationship between Smith and Dartmouth’s engineering program goes back decades. A partnership between Dartmouth Engineering and the Picker Engineering Program streamlines the application process and provides scholarship support to Smith engineering graduates interested in pursuing a Master of Engineering Management at Dartmouth.  

Download the Information Sheet below for additional details:

 

Tufts School of Engineering offers undergraduate STEM majors from Smith College an accelerated path to a master’s degree in one of 15 programs of study. The partnership with Tufts University provides a streamlined application process and lower tuition cost.

The College of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst offers accelerated MS programs to Smith engineers. Engineering students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher will be automatically admitted, with no application fee and no need for GREs. These programs are currently offered in five fields of study, and details can be found at the 4+1 Accelerated MS Programs page.

Purpose

The fund shall be used to support initiatives that will foster entrepreneurial spirit among students in the Picker Engineering Program

What is Entrepreneurial Spirit?

Entrepreneurial spirit comes in a variety of forms, but is typically marked by curiosity, creativity, resourcefulness, and resilience. People with entrepreneurial spirit frequently take the initiative to seek out and solve problems to improve the status quo. They are motivated by challenges, and have a willingness to take risks. Their efforts often (but not always) take the form of new business ventures that seek to add value to society. 

Who can apply for funding?

Individuals or teams of students who are engineering majors or minors. Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

What can this fund support?

  • Direct expenses (supplies, tools, travel, etc.) for an entrepreneurial project
  • Travel to conferences or workshops
  • Summer wages (must have a faculty advisor)

How to apply?

Send a proposal to Kristin Morse (egradmin@smith.edu), who will pass it on to the review committee. Proposals should include

  • Brief description of the activities and expected outcomes
  • Budget
  • Timeline
  • Name and contact information for one reference (faculty or staff; project supervisor, if appropriate)

How are funds dispersed?

Purchases for supplies or equipment are made through a requisition form and direct payment by the program. For other expenses (travel, etc.), the student incurs an expense and works with Kristin Morse (egradmin@smith.edu) to submit receipts and reimbursement forms through Workday. If reimbursement presents a hardship, the student can work with Kristin on other approaches.

What are the reporting requirements?

  • 1 Powerpoint slide with photos
  • 1-page report of outcomes

The Picker Engineering Program recognizes the value of attending identity-based professional conferences for engineering, such as SWE, NSBE, SHPE, and others. As such, we provide financial support to engineering majors who wish to attend such conferences.

Who can apply for funding?

Individuals or groups of engineering majors. Groups of students attending together will receive higher priority for funding, as peer-to-peer learning and collaboration can enrich the experience. Higher priority will also be given to students who have not previously received funding.

What can this fund support?

  • Travel
  • Food and lodging
  • Registration fees

How to apply?

Send a proposal to Kristin Morse (egradmin@smith.edu), who will pass it on to the review committee. Proposals should include

  • Name of the conference and web link
  • Dates of the conference and dates you plan to attend
  • Names of students 
  • Budget (include supplemental support from other sources if appropriate; if you are not proposing to use the $1000 of funding per person per year that is available though the SGA and Lazarus Center, please explain why)
  • Explanation of how you meet the expectations regarding preparation, economy, and reporting (described below) 

Expectations

Over the years, we have found some best practices to get the most out of these conferences. As such, students must meet these expectations to receive funding.

  • Commitment to preparation for the conference, such as preparing a resume or elevator pitch, reviewing companies who will be attending the job fair, working with the Lazarus Center, etc.
  • Commitment to being economical; examples include sharing rooms, seeking low-cost transportation, etc.
  • Sharing elements of the experience upon return; examples include giving a presentation in an engineering forum or other format, making a video about your experience and what you learned, drafting a memo that can be shared with other engineering students, etc.

How are funds dispersed?

The primary form of access to funds is via reimbursement. The student incurs an expense and works with Kristin Morse (egradmin@smith.edu) to submit receipts and reimbursement forms through Workday. If reimbursement presents a hardship, the student can work with Kristin on other approaches.

Design Clinic

Design Clinic is a two-semester course in which students collaborate in teams on actual applied design projects sponsored by real clients in industry and government.

Applied Design at Smith

The Picker Engineering Program

Despite its central importance in society, engineering stands virtually alone as a professional degree with a small and declining participation by women. The Picker Engineering Program addresses this problem by using the resources and expertise of a women’s college to create a positive learning environment for women to study engineering. The program offers a supportive learning community, a flexible curriculum and female role models, exploring societal contexts in problem solving using pedagogies that increase engagement and address problems in engineering education.

Smith’s liberal arts environment enables students to contextualize engineering in the framework of bigger societal questions and to think in different ways as they collaborate on interdisciplinary teams. The program is learner-centered in its curriculum and pedagogy. Students work closely with faculty to design individualized plans of study that address both their learning goals and the technical requirements of the profession. Research-based teaching helps students to develop a deep and integrated understanding of engineering concepts and to work creatively to generate new theories, products and knowledge.

See what students have to say about their experiences.

Contact Picker Engineering Program

Ford Hall
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-7000

Program Assistant: Kristin Morse