The Program

Anchored by a human-centered, inclusive approach and design-thinking methodologies, engineering study at Boston College will be bolstered by a global viewpoint, ethical underpinnings, and distinctive capstone projects that address real-world challenges.

Overview

The Engineering Department at Boston College is housed within the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. The undergraduate Human-Centered Engineering (HCE) program integrates BC's core liberal arts curriculum with courses in foundational and advanced engineering that emphasize societal responsibility. Engineering majors can expect a confluence of classroom learning, reflection opportunities, and experiential learning that extends beyond the BC campus.

At a Glance

What degrees are offered?

Students will graduate from the program with a bachelor of science.


How many credits?

The program requires 124 credits with two thirds in engineering, mathematics, and science topics and one third in liberal arts and humanities.


How will I learn? 

Through a combination of campus-based classes, reflection opportunities, and project-based experiences that extend beyond BC.


Are there opportunities to work in teams?

Yes! Students will have ample opportunities to collaborate with peers and faculty both within and outside of the program.


Where will I be on campus?

Based within the Integrated Science and Engineering Center, the HCE program will be in close proximity to Higgins Hall (Biology and Physics), the Merkert Chemistry Center, and the prestigious Carroll School of Management.

Curriculum

Students will be exposed to foundational and advanced engineering topics such as the following (list is subject to change):

  • Introduction to Human-Centered Engineering and Design
  • Human Factors in Engineering Design 
  • Engineering for Development
  • Engineering Foundations Studio (includes topics such as Dynamics, Circuits, Transport phenomena, Thermodynamics, Environmental Systems)
  • Introduction to Data Science and Machine Learning
  • Advanced electives
  • Collaborative Service Engineering Project
  • Senior Impact Project

 

Engineering Foundations Studio

As sophomores, students will embark on a year-long exploration of central engineering topics—from statics to thermodynamics—before selecting an area of concentration. The 16-credit Engineering Foundations Studio course takes a distinctive project-based approach to learning, challenging students to collaborate and solve problems in theme areas such as energy, environment and health.

Solving complex problems requires interdisciplinary training and hands-on learning.

 

Thermodynamics Panel
Thermodynamics Panel
Thermodynamics Panel

Experiential Learning

With its emphasis on equitable problem-solving practices, the HCE program challenges students to authentically integrate the needs of society into their engineering practice. Fundamental to this approach is stepping outside the classroom to interact with users in the real world. As juniors and seniors, students will have the opportunity to broaden their experiences internationally, either through their capstone projects or by collaborating with faculty on global research.

Distinctive Features

 

Human-centered Design

Students will learn to work with stakeholder groups, using design-thinking strategies to develop engineering solutions that work for real people.

Engineering Core

Before declaring a concentration, all students will gain a solid foundation in engineering topics through the Engineering Fundamentals courses.

Junior Collaborative Project Lab and Senior Impact Project

As juniors and seniors, students will step outside the classroom and apply their engineering skills to real-world, human-centered projects.

Reflection

During weekly reflection sessions, students will engage with the ethical dimensions of engineering by considering their training in the context of the needs of society.

Math and Science

As a foundation to their engineering studies, students must successfully complete basic math and science requirements including calculus and physics.

Liberal Arts Core

By taking liberal arts classes outside their major, engineering students will begin to stimulate rich interdisciplinary interactions with peers across the college.

Career Opportunities

A degree in human-centered engineering can lead to numerous career paths, such as the ones below. 

Product Design Engineer in Healthcare Sector

Environmental Policy Consultant

Engineer at Alternative Energy Startup

 

 

Technical Analyst at Social Impact NGOs

Graduate studies in Engineering

Program Manager in High-Tech Sector

 

Accreditation

The Human-Centered Engineering program is being designed to meet the standards of ABET, the main body for accreditation of engineering programs in the United States. 

An engineering program cannot apply for ABET accreditation until after it has graduated its first class. With that in mind, we expect to apply for ABET accreditation in the year following the graduation of the class of 2025. The accreditation will be applied retroactively to the previous year’s class.

How do I apply?

The Human-Centered Engineering (HCE) program is a highly-selective program housed within the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. To apply, students should designate HCE as their intended area of study on the common application when applying to Boston College.

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