The Bachelor of Science in Engineering will require 120 credits, with two thirds in engineering, mathematics, and science topics and one third in liberal arts and humanities. Projected course offerings include: Introduction to Human-Centered Engineering and Design, Human Factors in Engineering Design, Engineering for Sustainable Development, Data Science, Introduction to Machine Learning, and Applications of Control Theory and Robotics.
“Boston College's enduring strength is rooted in the University's ability, developed over many generations, to uphold core elements of our tradition while identifying and investing in emerging contemporary opportunities,” said Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley. “This commitment to engaging the spirit of the age helps fuel our investments in the Schiller Institute and its academic programs. The launch of an undergraduate engineering degree promises to position Boston College and our graduates to help lead the way on ethical, human-centered explorations of the possibilities and perils of technology in the 21st century.”
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.
“We find ourselves in a unique position based on the complex problems the planet now faces and a seismic shift that is taking place in undergraduate engineering study,” said Vice Provost for Research Tom Chiles, who has led the planning efforts. “Introducing the Human-Centered Engineering program builds upon our mission to educate students and improve the lives of others. Drawing upon our liberal arts offerings and our professional schools will allow us to offer a broad-based, interdisciplinary program of human-centered engineering, which many traditional engineering programs have struggled to develop.”
Approved by the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences Education Policy Committee, the new major is marked by several distinctive characteristics, including:
- Human-centered design: Guided by a significant human-centered design focus, students will learn to work with stakeholder groups, using design-thinking strategies to develop user-oriented engineering solutions. Students will develop an understanding of the intersection of technology and society, as well as an appreciation for technology’s positive and negative impacts on the world.
- Engineering core: Students will be exposed to a set of engineering subjects through the Engineering Fundamentals Studio course, providing a shared knowledge base during sophomore year that can support later specialization.
- Concentration areas: Students in the program will be required to build depth in a particular field of engineering by taking three advanced courses in a concentration area of their choice. Available concentrations might include mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, or environmental engineering.
- Reflection: Each semester, students will be given time for weekly reflection. The objectives of these sessions will help tie together the components of their technical, engineering education; integrate their engineering education with their core classes; and examine their training in light of the needs of society.
The creation of the program coincides with the launch of the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society in a state-of-the-art science and engineering center slated to open in the fall of 2021, and the centerpiece of a $300 million investment in the sciences. The institute will become the hub for applied and innovative research that addresses complex problems by incorporating aspects of design thinking, implementation and data science, making/prototyping, entrepreneurship, and interdisciplinary collaboration across and beyond the BC community. Central to the Schiller Institute is interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty and students to identify solutions to society’s more pressing challenges in the areas of energy, health, and environment while also educating the next generation of science leaders.