3-2 Engineering Program

Oxy students in the physics lab

The 3-2 Engineering Program combines the best of two worlds, resulting in two bachelor’s degrees in five years—one from Occidental College and the other from either Columbia University or the California Institute of Technology.

If you’re interested in both engineering and the liberal arts, you have unique options at Occidental. The 3-2 Engineering Program offers a rigorous path to two degrees for qualified students. You can also pursue engineering through the completion of a four-year degree at Oxy (often in physics, math or computer science), which prepares you for a two-year master’s program at another institution. Oxy students can follow any of these pathways to engineering and we encourage you to reach out to one of the advisory committee members to discuss your interests.

Advisory Committee

Course Sequences

The 3-2 Engineering Program

3-2 Engineering FAQs

The 3-2 Engineering Program is a rigorous course of study that allows qualified students the opportunity to study at Oxy for three years before finishing off their undergraduate education with an additional two years at either Columbia or Caltech. At the end of the five years, the student receives two degrees: a bachelor of arts in “the combined plan" from Oxy and a bachelor of science in engineering from the engineering institution.

The 3-2 program provides a dynamic and comprehensive education: an undergraduate experience that covers the liberal arts and sciences as well as engineering. Students choosing the combined plan at Oxy do not commit themselves exclusively to an engineering major, offering a flexibility that is particularly advantageous for capable students whose abilities and interests span multiple fields. In addition, Oxy’s intimate scale allows students unique opportunities for summer research and special honors projects.

The program has three course sequences to choose from, depending on the student’s career goals. Most students follow the recommendations of the physics sequence, but those interested in either chemical engineering or computer science/operations research can choose to follow the other sequences.

The program is rigorous, and first-year students should learn about the requirements early on so they can start following the 3-2 curriculum their first semester. While at Oxy, a minimum GPA of 3.5 (both overall, and separately in math and science) must be maintained to be eligible. Apart from choosing the sequence of courses, students don’t need to formally declare the combined plan until their junior year. Students should be aware that Caltech does not gaurantee admission, and generally expects a higher GPA.  Beginning for students entering college in the Fall of 2019, Columbia will also no longer guarantee admission.

Students may want to remain flexible in their choice of major by adding electives in science or mathematics that correspond to an alternative major. This allows students to delay a final decision between the 3-2 Combined Plan and a regular four-year degree in science or mathematics at Oxy. Students with a four-year degree can, of course, pursue a two-year master's degree in engineering at any engineering institution.