A Reflection on Why I Chose the Dartmouth Dual Degree Program

Just before my senior year of high school, I attended a summer program called the Power to Move at Central Connecticut State University. Through this program, I met an amazing mentor and worked with a team of students to modify toy ride on, motorized cars for children with limited mobility. It was through this experience I recognized my interest in working with my hands and became interested with engineering.

Adding the roll cage and steering wheel button modification to a ride on car, 2018

I developed a particular interest in biomedical engineering and I wanted to be able to explore the field early. I knew the Amherst – Dartmouth dual degree program would allow me to do that. 

The Dartmouth dual degree program is a partnership between Dartmouth and several liberal arts colleges. The timeline for the Amherst-Dartmouth program is 2-1-1-1, 2 years being spent at Amherst, followed by junior year at Dartmouth, back to Amherst for senior year, and a fifth year at Dartmouth. The completion of these five years results in the opportunity for a Bachelor’s of the Arts from Amherst and a Bachelors of Science in Engineering from Dartmouth. 

Some Highlights of the Program

  • Depth and Breadth

You are able to take classes across a wide variety of engineering disciplines (like mechanical, chemical, electrical, biomedical, aeronautical, and material science engineering). I really appreciated this, because I knew having some flexibility would allow me to deeply engage in branches of engineering which I otherwise have limited exposure to and help me feel confident in choosing future paths.  

  • Application Based Learning 

Classes promote hands-on learning and the development of practical skills with projects that transform theory into application, and many courses involve projects. Even with the remote classes, we were still able to engage with the hands on building process thanks to the remote design kits. 

  • Explore a new learning perspective 

As a biochemistry and biophysics major at Amherst, taking engineering classes have introduced me to a new learning perspective, which has inspired me to think differently about the things around me. Taking classes in a more technical/ application based curriculum has also given me perspective about different teaching methodologies, which has been eye opening. 

  • Build Communication Skills

The dual degree program also made it possible for me to engage with a liberal arts education while studying engineering. At Amherst I have been able to communicate with students pursuing a wide range of fields from music to psychology to political science, and at Dartmouth I have been able to exchange ideas with engineers from various liberal arts colleges. Both these experiences have helped me hone my communication skills and are preparing me to communicate engineering topics to a non engineering audience. 

Are you a first or second year interested in engineering and/ or the Dual Degree Program?

If so, where can you start?

The first person I talked to regarding my interest in the program was Professor Loinaz, in the Physics department. Professor Loinaz is the Amherst chair of the Dual Degree program. I would highly recommend reaching out to him if you are even a little bit interested in pursuing engineering and want to learn about different paths you can take to get there / the dual degree program. 

The prerequisites for applying include taking calculus (Calculus I, Calculus II, and  Multivariable Calculus), one Computer Science class (111 or above), one in general chemistry (151/155) , and two courses in introductory physics (both 116/ 117 or 123/124). 

Applications are due mid-February, typically falling during the second semester of sophomore year. The application consists of 2 recommendations, a general plan for what courses you would like to take at Dartmouth, transcript, and an essay question.

Here’s a link with more information about the program https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/global-learning/study_abroad/all_programs/node/535766 

With best wishes for finals season,


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