Frequently Asked Questions
- What will I major in at SHU?
Mathematics, Chemistry or Computer Science.
- What engineering discipline can I major in at RPI or Columbia?
RPI: Biomedical Engineering, Chemical & Biological Engineering or Industrial Management Engineering.
Columbia: Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Applied Physics, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science Engineering or Engineering Mechanics.
- How long will it take me to graduate? What degrees will I earn?
After 5 years, you will graduate with 2 bachelors degrees, one from SHU and one from RPI or Columbia. Depending on your exact choice of majors at SHU & at Columbia/RPI, and any AP/transfer credits you enter with, a semester with an overload or some summer coursework may be required.
- Why is the SHU degree awarded after 5 years instead of 4?
The SHU degree is awarded based on credits being transferred back from Columbia/RPI (although you will have completed the major requirements for a degree at SHU, you won’t have 120 total credits in just 3 years). Awarding both degrees at the end of 5 years means you remain an undergraduate student for the entire program, ensuring your eligibility for corresponding federal financial aid.
- What good are two Bachelors degrees instead of a Bachelors + Masters?
Unlike many other fields, in engineering, Masters degrees are not considered necessary for employment and the pay differential is not high enough to be worth it. Industry experience is valued much more highly, so most engineers get to work right away with a Bachelors degree and, if interested in pursuing a graduate degree, do so after a few years of work experience (and often get the graduate degree paid for by their employer).
- Why not just go to an engineering school to begin with?
The specific combination of two Bachelors degrees that you’ll earn in the 3+2 program (one in a liberal arts discipline, one in and engineering discipline) makes graduates highly sought after by employers – it shows you have both technical credentials and hands-on experience, as well as the oral and written communication skills, problem solving mentality, and understanding of social & historical contexts that a liberal arts background provides. It prepares you to be a leader in an engineering field, not just a technician. And, if you decide in your first or second year that engineering isn’t the right fit for you, you have all the options of a comprehensive liberal arts university to explore.
- How do I decide what engineering major to pursue?
We will have several co-curricular opportunities throughout your three years at SHU to explore different engineering fields and topics (e.g. visits to local engineering firms, talks from practicing engineers in various disciplines, hands-on design challenges, etc.)
- Do I pay SHU tuition or RPI/Columbia tuition?
You will pay SHU tuition for the 3 years you are enrolled at SHU, and then pay RPI/Columbia tuition for the 2 years you are enrolled there.
- Will I get to keep the scholarships I got at SHU when I transfer to Columbia or RPI?
No. Each school administers their own financial aid processes, which you apply for along with your combined plan transfer application. Note that Columbia only offers need-based aid and does not award merit scholarships.
- Do I have to apply to RPI/Columbia too? If so, when?
Initially you only need to apply to SHU. You then submit an application to RPI/Columbia.
- How do I pick Columbia vs. RPI?
We encourage you to visit each campus during your 2nd or 3rd year.
- Can I apply to both Columbia & RPI?
Technically, yes - but most students will cater their plan of study to one particular program so may not be eligible for the other.
- If I meet the prerequisites am I guaranteed admission to RPI/Columbia?
For AY2016-2017, students who’s application demonstrates they’ve satisfied all RPI prerequisites (according to one of the three defined RPI tracks) are guaranteed admission to RPI. For AY2016-2017, students who’ve satisfied all Columbia prerequisites will be considered favorably in the Combined Plan Competitive Application Process at Columbia; the guaranteed admission agreement with Columbia is anticipated to go in to effect beginning AY2017-2018.
- I have more questions about Columbia admissions specifics.
See Columbia’s Combined Plan FAQ.
- I’m a student athlete. Can I play my sport at Columbia/RPI?
You are not guaranteed a spot on RPI/Columbia team but may contact coaches there to try out as a walk-on.
- Do I get to walk at SHU’s graduation? Which one?
Yes, you are invited to return to SHU to walk with your “social class”, i.e. after your 4th year of undergraduate studies (although you will not receive your SHU diploma until completion of the entire 3+2 program).
- Where will I live/will I get on-campus housing?
Columbia guarantees transfer students on-campus housing for the first year.
- I have more questions. Who should I talk to?