(excerpted from "Columbia School of Engineering and Applied Science Combined Plan Program in Engineering):

The Combined Plan

The first dual-degree program in the U. S., the Combined Plan was instituted at Columbia University because it provides the perfect model for an engineering education. Students study broadly in the humanities, social sciences, arts, mathematics, and sciences before entering an intense program in an engineering or applied science discipline. . . .

The Combined Plan is designed to give the student the best of both worlds -- liberal arts and engineering.

The Plans


Pre-engineering coursework

  • Mathematics
  • The full sequence of Calculus (3 terms)
  • Ordinary Differential Equations
  • Physics
  • Mechanics
  • Optics and Thermodynamics
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Modern Physics (not required for Civil, Industrial, and Mechanical Engineering or Computer Science)
  • Chemistry
  • Two terms of Chemistry with laboratory
  • Computer Science
  • One term of computer programming language
  • Non-technical coursework

  • At least two terms of physical education are required.
  • At least twenty-eight credits in the humanities and social sciences are required. (Must include English composition and one term of economics).


    Prospective students apply for admission to the School of Engineering and Applied Science using special Combined Plan application forms. Applications are available from the pre-engineering liaison professor at affiliated colleges, or from the Office of the Combined Plan. There is no application fee.

    Applications to the program may be submitted at any time after the completion of the sophomore year. As an engineering education is sequential, students are admitted to the fall semester only.

    Admission is considered on a rolling basis, and applicants will be informed of their status shortly after all necessary materials are received by the Combined Plan Office. The application deadline is March 1.

    In addition to the pre-engineering and non-technical coursework requirements, the following criteria are considered in evaluating applications:

    Institutional Recommendations All applicants must be assessed by the Combined Plan liaison (or committee).

    Grade Point Average A cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B) is required. Students below this standard may be considered if they submit additional letters of recommendation from at least one science or mathematics professor, and submit a written statement explaining how their grades are not a true index of their academic ability.


    Under the combined Plan, a student may elect to pursue any one of the following programs: (Reed selections authorized from available options)

    (Program details for each of these programs are available from Professor John Essick, Reed dual degree liaison)

    You may directly access the Columbia University www page for the School of Engineering and Applied Science Three-Two Program if you like.

    Link to Reed Dual Degree Programs

    or to California Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, or Washington University program description.