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    Jul 17, 2024  
American University Catalog 2019-2020 
American University Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Dual Degree Engineering: The Combined Plan Program

Program Director and Faculty Liaison:  Teresa Larkin, Department of Physics

American University is an affiliate of Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). In cooperation with Columbia University, students have the opportunity to pursue a five- year or six-year dual degree program, resulting in the award of two bachelor’s degrees. In this 3-2 or 4-2 dual degree program students spend three or four years at American University followed by two years at Columbia University. Students typically concentrate in a major field in the College of Arts and Sciences at American University in order to combine the advantages of both liberal arts and professional education.  This program option is available to all students at American University, regardless of their major, providing all of the prerequisite coursework has been taken and other requirements for admission to the program have been met.

Students are strongly encouraged to choose a major field in one of the natural sciences, mathematics, statistics, or computer science at American University. Students may choose to complete a major in the arts, humanities, or social sciences, provided that the engineering program requirements are also satisfied. This option requires careful planning and may result in an extra semester or more of coursework. In addition, this option may require a student to pursue a double major at American University to satisfy Columbia University’s Combined Plan Program admission requirements, which include a significant number of courses in the sciences.

Students pursuing this degree option work closely with the faculty liaison and an advisor in the major field of study. They work together to individually tailor course selections to meet the student’s interests and needs. Throughout the course of their studies, students must obtain a minimum B grade for all courses so noted in the Combined Plan Program at Columbia University. Completion of all requisite courses must be done during the three or four years of study at American University and prior to their application to the Combined Plan Program.  Students apply to the Combined Plan Program in the spring of their senior year at American University.  Upon acceptance into the Combined Plan program, students will complete two additional years at Columbia concentrating on the engineering program option they were accepted into.  Typically, students receive both degrees (i.e. their degree from American University and their degree from Columbia University) upon completion of their studies at Columbia. 

The engineering program options at Columbia University include Applied Mathematics, Applied Physics; Biomedical Engineering; Chemical Engineering; Civil Engineering; Computer Engineering; Computer Science; Earth and Environmental Engineering; Electrical Engineering; Engineering Mechanics, Industrial Engineering, Engineering Management Systems or Operations Research; Materials Science and Engineering; and Mechanical Engineering.

* Note: MATH-321 Differential Equations (3)  and ACCT-240 Principles of Financial Accounting (3)  must be taken prior to Columbia for any student with interests in the Financial Engineering major.  

Admission to the Program

Students should view Columbia University’s Combined Plan Program Admissions website for information about admission requirements.  In order to be eligible for the competitive review, applicants must meet the requirements from the Curriculum Guide that was issued in the fall semester they began college.  While at American, students work directly with the Program liaison to ensure the proper requisite courses are taken.

To be considered in Columbia’s competitive review process, it is recommended that an applicant successfully meets all of the following requirements:

  • Full-time enrollment at American University for at least the past three years
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.30, inclusive of all coursework taken
  • Minimum pre-engineering GPA of 3.30, inclusive of all science and mathematics prerequisite coursework.  Additionally, a minimum grade of B (3.0) must be obtained on the first attempt in all science and mathematics prerequisite coursework
  • Successful completion of both the foundational and major-specific prerequisite coursework by the end of the spring semester of application
  • Successful completion of the degree and major requirements of American University by the end of the spring semester of application
  • Favorable recommendation letters: one each from the Combined Plan liaison, a science instructor and a math instructor
  • Proficiency in English as directed by Columbia on their website

Course Requirements

The engineering program at Columbia University has basic foundation course requirements for all students. These courses are outlined on Columbia University’s Combined Plan Program Admissions website, and can also be obtained from the faculty liaison. Additional major-specific requirements will apply depending on the student’s intended area of study at Columbia University.