The B.S.E. program at Princeton is intended to educate future leaders in many different areas — including engineering practice and research, business and finance, public service, and other professions — through the teaching of fundamental engineering principles and techniques with their applications to modern problems in a global societal context. To this end, B.S.E. students are challenged to conceptualize and solve technical problems, work together in teams, express themselves clearly and convincingly, evaluate evidence critically, and appreciate the ethical, social, economic, and cultural environments in which they will live and work.
B.S.E. students enroll in four courses for the first term of the first year and in four or five courses in each succeeding term, following a sequence appropriate to their individual programs. The school requirement for the B.S.E. degree is at least 36 courses in the four years of study. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors must complete at least four courses each term, with a minimum of 17 courses by the start of junior year and 26 courses by the start of senior year.
A student must obtain a background in mathematics, physics, and chemistry by successfully completing the following courses or their equivalents:
Mathematics (four semesters)
- 103 Calculus
- 104 Calculus, or equivalent
- 201 Multivariable Calculus, 203 Advanced Multivariable Calculus or 216 Multivariable Analysis and Linear Algebra I, 202 Linear Algebra with Applications, 204 Advanced Linear Algebra with Applications or 217 Honors Linear Algebra, or equivalent
Physics (two semesters)
- 103 General Physics or 105 Advanced Physics, 104 General Physics or 106 Advanced Physics, or equivalent
Chemistry (one semester)
- 207 Advanced General Chemistry: Materials Chemistry or 201 General Chemistry, or equivalent
While none of these requirements may be satisfied by a course taken under the Pass/D/Fail option, in many instances one or more may be met by advanced placement. Except under unusual circumstances, the physics, chemistry, and 100-level mathematics requirements must be fulfilled by the end of first year.
Computer proficiency is a requirement for the B.S.E. degree fulfilled by taking COS 126 General Computer Science. Students with adequate preparation as determined by the Department of Computer Science may substitute COS 217 Introduction to Programming Systems or COS 226 Algorithms and Data Structures. This requirement must be satisfied before the beginning of the junior year. This requirement may not be satisfied by a course taken under the Pass/D/Fail option. A course taken at another school may not be used to satisfy this requirement.
The choice of upper-level courses will reflect the student's individual interests, as well as the plan of study of the department in which the student is concentrating or any interdepartmental program in which the student is participating.
A coherent program of courses in the humanities and social sciences, combining breadth and depth, is an essential part of every B.S.E. student's program of study. B.S.E. students must complete a minimum of seven courses in the humanities and social sciences. B.S.E. students are required to take one course in four of the following seven areas: epistemology and cognition, ethical thought and moral values, language course (at the 107/108 level or above), historical analysis, literature and the arts, culture and difference, and social analysis. (See General Education Requirements for full descriptions of these distribution areas.) The remaining three required courses and additional courses may be taken in any fields in the social sciences and humanities.
The ability to write English clearly and precisely is a University requirement that must be satisfied by completing a writing seminar in the first year. The writing seminar does not count as one of the seven humanities and social science courses.