Throughout its history, Lafayette College has sought to integrate engineering and the liberal arts. The Bachelor of Arts (AB) in Engineering degree program was envisioned as a bridge between the two disciplines, educating “sociotechnical engineers.”

1969 AB in Engineering Degree Proposal

  • “Society  needs more liberally-educated persons with technical backgrounds. The technology to remedy or alleviate many of man’s pressing public-sector problems exists; the major obstacles are nontechnical—e.g. economic, cultural, organizational, legal, political. This is true of housing, environmental pollution, food, education, and so on. These obstacles require the attention of professionals who know what technology can do, can work as or with engineers, and who have the necessary socio-political inclinations and capabilities.”

In 1970 the College offered the Bachelor of Arts in Engineering for the first time. Coincidently, the previously all-male institution welcomed women to Lafayette College in 1970 as well, with 146 female students on campus for the first time.

In 2008 the program underwent an overhaul in focus and curriculum and the program was renamed Engineering Studies.

In 2014 Associate Professor of Engineering Studies Benjamin Cohen, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Jenn Stroud Rossmann, and then Chair of Engineering Studies and Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Kristen Sanford presented Introducing Engineering as a Socio-technical Process at the 121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition in Indianapolis, IN.

In 2019 Professor of Mechanical Engineering Jenn Stroud Rossmann, and then Chair of Engineering Studies and Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Kristen Sanford presented An Integrative Education in Engineering and the Liberal Arts: An Institutional Case Study at the 126th ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition in Tampa, FL.

The program celebrated its 50th anniversary in the 2020-21 academic year.

In 2020 Professor of Mechanical Engineering Jenn Stroud Rossmann, then Chair of Engineering Studies and Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Kristen Sanford, Associate Professor of Engineering Studies Julia Nicodemus, and Associate Professor of Engineering Studies Benjamin Cohen presented The Sociotechnical Core Curriculum: An Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies Degree Program at the ASEE’s Virtual Conference.