Purdue and Wabash College to offer dual degree program

December 14, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE and CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. - Wabash College students interested in engineering will be able to pursue a combined, dual degree program in partnership with the Purdue University College of Engineering beginning fall 2011.

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Students who participate in the program will earn a bachelor of arts degree from Wabash and a bachelor of science in one of four engineering disciplines from Purdue.

Students begin their education at Wabash, where they will complete much of their degree in three years. Once the student has completed the recommended set of courses with a minimum grade point average of 3.0, he will be granted admission to Purdue. Students will enroll in either mechanical, electrical and computer, chemical, or multidisciplinary engineering.

Wabash President Pat White said the benefit for students is a firm grounding in the liberal arts accompanied by a world-class engineering degree.

"It is significant that this innovative work was driven by faculty in mathematics, physics, and chemistry at Wabash," White said. "The interconnections among the sciences will be at the heart of this program as students learn to think across disciplinary boundaries to perfect preparation for the creative and practical action that goes into engineering."

Leah Jamieson, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering at Purdue, said: "The partnership is important to the College of Engineering's mission of working with other higher education institutions in Indiana to grow the number of students with a broad and integrated education in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields."

Chad Westphal, Wabash assistant professor of mathematics and one of the program's designers, noted that Wabash and Purdue are geographically close. "This represents a local connection between a major university and a top-notch liberal arts college," he said.

Michael Harris, Purdue associate dean of engineering for undergraduate education, said: "The partnership with Wabash College provides us with the opportunity to bring exceptional undergraduates into engineering from an institution with strong science programs. Students with dual degrees in science and engineering are well suited for graduate studies in areas such as biotechnology, medicine, nanotechnology, nanoelectronics, catalysis, energy, and engineering and science education."

Westphal said Wabash students will have to be driven to succeed since they must complete their Wabash requirements in three years. "It won't be easy, but it will be worth it," he said.

Purdue media contact: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu  

Sources: Leah Jamieson, 765-494-5346, lhj@purdue.edu

                  Michael Harris, 765-494-4966, mtharris@purdue.edu