Physics Department

Three-Two Program

DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS in Engineering, in Computer Science, in Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics, and in Computer Science and Engineering.

In order to offer students a broader selection of majors, Reed College has affiliated with several cooperating institutions with which students may undertake a program that will allow them to graduate with degrees from both institutions.

These programs are variously known as "3/2" programs, "dual degree" programs, or "combined plan" programs – usage is evolving – but in every case such a program essentially involves three years at Reed followed by two years at the cooperating institution.

The Reed component of the program entails the following:

  • Satisfying all general college requirements:
    1. introductory humanities
    2. the six-quarter physical education requirement
    3. the group requirement -- three units from each of three groups:
      1. Humanities and the Arts;
      2. History and Social Science;
      3. Natural, Mathematical, Psychological Science;
  • Earning at least 22 units of credit, at least 20 of which must be earned at Reed (at most, only two transfer units may be applied to distribution requirements).
  • Satisfying all requirements of a major (including the junior qualifying examination) excepting thesis and other courses attaching explicitly to the senior year.
  • Satisfying any pre-requisites for admission to the cooperating institution (these vary somewhat from institution to institution and will be detailed on each program's descriptive page).

Students participating in these programs are required to maintain registration (for which there is no fee) at Reed during the years spent at the other institution. Special registration forms and information are available from the Reed College Office of the Registrar.

Students potentially interested in pursuing a dual degree program are encouraged to identify themselves to the Dual Degree Program Coordinator, Professor Noah Charles, (503) 517-5031, early in their Reed careers in order to be in a position to receive information about campus visits, career advising seminars, and the like.

The cooperating institutions generally require a particular grade point average (GPA) in order that a student be recommended by Reed for continuation. Although it is the policy of Reed College to encourage students to evaluate their own academic progress independent of the existence of course grades, this requirement of the cooperating institutions must be kept in mind by students in combined programs.

 Programs with the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, California -- CIT or Caltech), with Columbia University (New York City, New York), and with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, New York -- RPI) offer the bachelor's degree in engineering or in computer science. Some of these also offer programs leading to the master's degree. The CIT program, in addition to engineering and computer science, also provides for possible combined majors in astronomy and in various earth and planetary sciences.

Because the question of whether to become a licensed engineer is one that needs to be considered at some point by every prospective engineer, here is a description of the engineering license provided by Columbia University (April 11, 1995) that addresses the issue:

A license to practice engineering is a critical document for many engineers in professional work. The engineer in a position of responsibility in the practice of engineering is often required to prepare engineering reports and/or plans. For such documents to be useful, they must be signed by a licensed engineer. Unlicensed engineers who sign an official report or engineering plan will be subject to fine and censure.

A license is also necessary for most engineers in consulting engineering work, and is often required for engineers working for large firms doing engineering related work.

In general, two examinations are required to qualify for a license. The first examination is based on the basic fundamentals in engineering education, usually taken in an undergraduate engineering program. Those who are taking an undergraduate program leading to the B. S. degree can take the first examination during the second semester of their senior year. However, those who have taken only the M. S. degree (and not the B. S.) will not be able to take the first examination until five or six years after receiving the M. S. degree. The second examination, based largely on professional engineering practice, can be taken approximately five years after successfully completing the first examination.

(Columbia University Combined Plan Program, School of Engineering and Applied Science, April 11, 1995.)