Overview of the Program

Our pre-engineering program is meant for students who are not quite sure whether they want to be an engineer or who might want to consider some other choice of major, such as physics, chemistry, computer science, or even English or history. Hartwick’s pre-engineering program will allow you to try out other choices while still remaining on track for an engineering degree within five years.

Please note: Hartwick College focuses on offering fall, January, and spring term undergraduate courses in person, however circumstances may require us to offer a small number of courses in this department through distance education. In times of emergency, following regulatory guidelines, all classes may temporarily need to be delivered through distance education, including online. We also offer a slate of courses online in the summer to help our students make progress towards their degrees. With support from an academic advisor, students needing particular courses may have other online options as well. If you have questions about the way courses are delivered in your program, please contact your Department or Program Chair.

“I think I want to be an engineer when I graduate from college, but I am not really sure. I don’t really understand what the difference is between an engineer and a scientist.”

Does that sound like you? If so, then maybe the pre-engineering program at Hartwick is the best choice for you.


While at Hartwick, pre-engineering students must take the same Liberal Arts in Practice courses required of every other Hartwick student. Most students in the program choose to major in physics, chemistry, mathematics, or computer science because those majors provide the best preparation for later studies in engineering.

No matter what major you choose, you must take three terms of calculus and a course in differential equations, two terms of general chemistry, and two terms of physics. In addition you must take a course in computer science and a course in economics. Certain engineering programs require additional courses.

You must maintain at least a B+ average (3.30) while at Hartwick. You should earn grades of A or B in most or all of your math and science courses. In addition, you must have good work habits, as judged by the pre-engineering liaison in consultation with your instructors.

For more information about our majors in chemistry, computer science, or physics review all the requirements and current courses in the College Catalog.



If you enter the 3-2 pre-engineering program at Hartwick, you will choose a major in some subject and fulfill all of the usual requirements for that major. You also must fulfill all of the general education requirements. There also are certain other courses that you must take to prepare for the engineering college. These include some basic math and physics courses and others depending on the particular kind of engineering that you want to pursue. If you should decide at any time during your college career that you do not want to continue on the pre-engineering track, it is a simple matter to continue with your choice of major at Hartwick and graduate in four years.

During your three years at Hartwick, there is a pre-engineering liaison who will be able to answer questions about the program. During your third year, you will meet with the liaison to evaluate your progress. You then apply to the engineering school. This will generate a request from the engineering college to the liaison to make a recommendation to the engineering college. The criteria for a positive recommendation from Hartwick is a solid GPA (generally As and Bs), as well as completion of the basic courses that are required by the engineering college. Those courses vary, depending on the particular type of engineering. If you are missing some of the required coursework, you might still gain admission, but it is not guaranteed.

There also is a 4-2 master’s degree program at Columbia University, but this is not part of the pre-engineering program. One could apply to this program as a graduate student after you have your Hartwick degree.


Hartwick has cooperative agreements with both Clarkson University and Columbia University. Students in our pre-engineering program spend three years at Hartwick College taking math and science courses as well as a mixture of social sciences and humanities. In their fourth year, they transfer to either Clarkson or Columbia, where they spend the next two years studying engineering courses. At the end of five years, a student who completes the program earns a B.A. (or B.S., depending on the major) from Hartwick and an engineering degree from the other university.


There is no pre-engineering major at Hartwick. You need to select a major that is most closely aligned with the type of engineering you have an interest in. (a chemistry major for chemical engineer, physics for civil, electrical or mechanical engineering etc.)

There are no courses with a pre-engineering prefix. Pre-engineering means that you take all of the needed “bedrock” courses that all engineers need to take: mathematics, physics, chemistry and computer science.

You should choose a type of engineering that you are interested in, and best of all have some experience in — say a high school technology or science class. The major you select at Hartwick should reflect this choice.

Hartwick has no GPA requirement, however Columbia University has a very stringent set of GPA requirements in place, including but not limited to a 3.30 GPA. For Clarkson University admission, you need to maintain a good enough GPA at Hartwick to garner strong letters of recommendation.

The pre-engineering program at Hartwick has agreements in place with Columbia University and Clarkson University.

After completing your work at Hartwick, you can apply to any post graduate institution you want to. However, the Hartwick pre-engineering program only covers the two schools listed above.

Yes, we have placed students at RPI, RIT, Georgia Tech, and University of Virginia, among others.

No, the 3-2 program merely says that if you can complete your program of study in three years (and complete all of the requirements of the host institution) you can apply at that time.

Columbia University now requires you to complete your major requirements and all of the general education requirements before you apply. If that takes more than three years, that is okay. At Clarkson University, if some courses for your major are not yet complete in three years, you can take the courses at Clarkson, and we will accept them at Hartwick, completing your Hartwick degree.

You complete a B.A. (or B.S.) degree from Hartwick and from the host institution.

The 4-2 Master’s Program at Columbia University has nothing to do with the 3-2 program. One applies to this as a graduate student, like anyone else. There is no agreement in place with Hartwick on the 4-2 program.

Financial aid packages are usually negotiated by institution, so the answer is no. Columbia University does have their own financial aid office that you can contact.

For a candidate whose native language is not English, they must demonstrate English language proficiency as directed by Columbia University or Clarkson University.

You need to contact the graduate office at Clarkson or Columbia universities. This will instigate a process in which a form will be generated for you to fill out. It will also send a message to the program liaison requesting a letter of recommendation. This is the process at Columbia University, it is similar at Clarkson University.


Larry Nienart

Professor of Physics

Still Have Questions?

Contact Dr. Larry Nienart, Professor of Physics,