Engineering happens in the real world, every day, all around us, and the challenges that face society require engineering solutions. This means the social, economic, managerial, and policy environments determine both what kind of problems are solved and how those solutions are put into place in society.
For example, providing clean water requires not only the engineering of retrieval, distribution, and treatment systems, but also a determination of where such systems should be implemented, what type of systems are appropriate, and how they will be financed. Similarly, achieving sustainable energy requires diplomatic, political, and societal changes as well as improvements in energy generation and distribution technologies.
In the 21st century, business is global, companies expect employees to fill multiple roles, and the age of the specialist is rapidly coming to an end. The increasing demand for professionals with interdisciplinary skills calls for innovation in undergraduate education—a fusion of engineering and the liberal arts that equips students with a new and diverse set of problem-solving tools.
This distinctive bachelor of arts in engineering could be considered the ultimate liberal arts degree because it requires students to delve more deeply into each of the four divisions on campus (engineering, humanities, science, and social sciences) than any other degree offered at Lafayette College. The curriculum empowers students to meet society’s current and emerging complex, multi-disciplinary challenges. The degree is designed for students who want both specific engagement with an engineering discipline and a broad knowledge base that will help them in our technologically-driven world. By design, traditional engineering programs do not typically offer such a unique opportunity.
The degree requires substantial coursework in engineering and the liberal arts, as well as science and math, and prepares graduates to be technological integrators in fields such as business, education, engineering, law, medicine, and public policy. Students develop engineering habits of mind: the design process, approaches to problem solving and design, and analytical skills. In short, they learn to think like engineers—to understand the engineering approach and methods, and to apply these techniques and to employ this way of thinking in whatever career path they choose.
The minor in architectural studies, offered with the department of art, gives students a solid grounding in the liberal arts and the tools they need to succeed in graduate architecture programs. Learn more about the minor in architectural studies.
Students who are non-engineering majors, but who take our courses, find links to their own fields. They develop an understanding of how engineering can inform and connect to a number of other disciplines and address contemporary issues in public policy, economics, energy, systems analysis, environmental management, and other areas.