3-2 Engineering Program for Students Interested in Engineering

Although Carleton does not offer an official pre-engineering track, there are a number of options to prepare students to pursue engineering after Carleton.  This site focuses on one of these options:  the 3-2 Engineering Program, also called the Combined Plan Program or Dual-Degree Program. 

The 3-2 Engineering Program is shorthand for various programs that allow students to spend three (or four) years at Carleton and two (or three) years at an engineering school, receiving multiple degrees:  a B.A. from Carleton and a B.S. and/or M.S. in engineering from a partner engineering institution.  

For discussion of the multiple options for pursuing engineering after Carleton in addition to the 3-2 Engineering Program, see Frequently Asked Questions for Liberal Arts Students Interested in Engineering.

The 3-2 program allows students to spend three years at Carleton and two years at an engineering school receiving dual degrees, a B.A. from Carleton and a B.S. in engineering from a partner engineering institution. There are also 4-2 (B.A./B.S), 3-3 (B.A./B.S./M.S.), and 4-3 (B.A./B.S./M.S.) versions of the program available to interested students. We currently have a formal partnership with Washington University.

Although many students enter Carleton with an interest in the 3-2 engineering program, the more popular route for Carleton students into engineering is to apply directly to a graduate (or occasionally an undergraduate) engineering program of their choice after four years at Carleton. Students who choose this route into engineering are encouraged to supplement their major coursework with classes relevant to the particular area of engineering they wish to pursue.

Several curriculum guides have been provided to help students know which Carleton courses are appropriate to help them transition into engineering careers after Carleton. Students not interested in the formal dual degree programs should download the General Engineering Curriculum Guide, which suggests courses that you might want to add to your Carleton Transcript. None of the courses are required and the courses you select will depend on your Carleton major and engineering area(s) of interest.

The pre-engineering advisor can help you decide which courses are most appropriate for your future goals. For students interested in the 3-2, 3-3,4-2, or 4-3 programs, the Washington University curriculum guide tells you which Carleton courses meet the specific course requirements for their program.

The table below indicates which programs are available:

Program StructureDegrees ObtainedAdmission Type
3-2 or 4-2B.A. / B.S.Preferred
4-2B.A. / M.S.Preferred
3-3B.A. / B.S. / M.S.Preferred
4-3B.A. / B.S. / M.S.Preferred

Students wishing to pursue these programs are strongly advised to meet with the Pre-Engineering Advisor, who serves as the liaison for these programs, as early as possible in their Carleton careers. This is especially true for students interested in the 3-2 and 3-3 programs who must satisfy Carleton’s distribution requirements, an integrative exercise in an appropriate field (e.g., chemistry, mathematics, computer science, or physics), and the partner school course pre-requisites during their 3 years at Carleton.

As part of the 3-2 and 3-3 programs, Carleton’s total credit requirement and senior residency requirement are waived; however, the student is expected to meet all of the other graduation requirements. Unlike the 4-2 program where students graduate with their class, in the case of the 3-2 and 3-3 programs, a Carleton degree is awarded at the completion of the 5 year program.