Admit It! If you’re interested in engineering, you’ve probably already crossed William & Mary off of your list of schools to look at, apply to, enroll in, etc. Makes sense right? W&M doesn’t have an engineering program, but, despite that, maybe you shouldn’t cross it off your list so soon. Here are the reasons why.
1) While W&M doesn’t have an engineering major, we do offer majors in numerous subjects that support the study of engineering: chemistry, physics, biology, math, environmental science and computer science just to name a few. Want to be a chemical engineer, consider majoring in chemistry and then getting a graduate degree in engineering. Likewise for those of you who are interested in software engineering. Major in Comp Sci at W&M and then get a graduate degree in engineering.
2) W&M has a 3:2 program in engineering through which a student spends three years at W&M likely majoring in one of the subjects listed above and then spends two years at either Columbia University’s engineering school or Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s engineering school. At the end of five years the student graduates with two bachelors degrees (one in their primary major from W&M and one in engineering from either Columbia or RPI).
3) W&M is among the top 50 producers of science and engineering PhDs in the nation. Only three public universities made the list and William & Mary is one of them. So even though we don’t have a formal undergraduate program in engineering, our alumni are achieving doctoral degrees in science and engineering at rates higher than most other colleges and universities.
4) You can get a liberal arts education at W&M and still be an engineer. According to the article linked in point three, liberal arts universities provide students more opportunities for undergraduate research, for small classes and for getting to know faculty (who of course are writing your recommendations for graduate school). These opportunities can be priceless for those interested in gaining admission to the nation’s top graduate programs. Additionally, liberal arts schools allow students to receive a broad education. Future engineers will learn about English, history, economics, sociology, geology, and a host of other subjects in addition to learning about science and engineering at a liberal arts institution whereas at flagship universities it may be more likely that engineering students will enroll almost exclusively in engineering courses. The liberal arts education provides students with the ability to develop writing and speaking skills, critical thinking skills, analytical abilities and research methods; all key attributes possessed by the nation’s top PhD candidates.
So, don’t cross W&M off your list future engineers. Take a closer look at our physics and chemistry majors, or at our 3:2 program or at our graduate school admission rates. We might just be the school for you after all.
Wendy Livingston (’03, M.Ed ’09)
Senior Assistant Dean of Admission