The Bulletin: School of Engineering

Mission Statement

A Unique Learning Environment

The Tufts University School of Engineering offers a rigorous engineering education in a unique environment that blends the intellectual and technological resources of a world-class research university with the strengths of a top-ranked liberal arts college. Our size and educational philosophy support a distinctive sense of community, a diversity of perspectives, and a student-centric learning environment. Engineering curricula across a wide spectrum of majors emphasize project-based learning, the nurturing of leadership skills, and cultivation of creativity through innovative design. Close partnerships with Tufts’ cadre of excellent undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, coupled with a long tradition of collaboration, provide a strong platform for interdisciplinary education and scholarship. Proximity to a thriving Boston metropolitan area facilitates close relationships with local industry and research labs, student internship and employment opportunities, and the committed engagement of seasoned practitioners in the school professoriate.

Mission

  • To educate engineers committed to the innovative and ethical application of science and technology in addressing the most pressing societal needs
  • To develop and nurture twenty-first-century leadership qualities, perspectives, and skills in our students, faculty, and alumni
  • To develop and disseminate transformational new knowledge and technologies that further the well-being and sustainability of society
  • To provide national leadership in enhancing the role and visibility of the engineering profession in the education of our youth and the development and implementation of public policy

Degree Requirements

Undergraduate Programs

The School of Engineering offers sixteen undergraduate programs leading to a Bachelor of Science.  These are:

  • Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering (BSBME)†
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering (BSCHBE)†
  • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (BSCE)†
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering (BSCPE)†
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (BSCS)*
  • Bachelor of Science in Data Science (BSDS)
  • Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE)†
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering – program in Architectural Studies (BSE-Arch)
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering – program in Environmental Health (BSE-EH)
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE)
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics (BSEP)
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering Sciences (BSES)
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering (BSEVE)†
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Factors (BSHFE)
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME)†
  • Bachelor of Science (BS)

* Accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.

† Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

As described in the Accreditation section of this Bulletin, Tufts University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE).  Several of the undergraduate programs offered within the School of Engineering are specifically accredited through the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) or Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET. Students wishing to be recognized as practicing professionals, especially those who wish to become registered professional engineers, are strongly encouraged to pursue an ABET-CAC or ABET-EAC accredited degree. Whereas these ABET-CAC and ABET-EAC accredited programs are the most structured, the School of Engineering also offers several, more flexible degree options for students interested in general engineering, engineering science, data science, engineering physics, human factors, architecture, and environmental health. In addition, students may pursue an individualized program of study leading to the Bachelor of Science with no major.

Degree Requirements

All degrees offered within the School of Engineering have the same set of nine requirements. The School of Engineering uses course attributes to identify courses that can be used to satisfy the specific credit requirements in requirements i-v.  Attributes include SOE-Engineering, SOE-Computing, SOE-Mathematics, SOE-Natural Sciences, and SOE-HASS. The SOE-HASS attribute is used to generally identify courses in the humanities, arts, and social sciences that are approved for students pursuing a degree program offered within the School of Engineering. The School also uses SOE-HASS-Humanities and SOE-HASS-Social Sciences attributes to identify approve coursework in each of these areas.

Degree programs offered within the School of Engineering require at least 120 SHU of coursework comprising:

  1. At least 30 SHU of coursework having attribute SOE-Engineering or SOE-Computing†
  2. At least 30 SHU of coursework having attribute SOE-Mathematics or SOE-Natural Sciences
  3. At least 24 SHU of coursework having attribute SOE-HASS
  4. At least 3 SHU of coursework having attribute SOE-HASS-Humanities
  5. At least 3 SHU of coursework having attribute SOE-HASS-Social Sciences
  6. Introductory Writing as English 1 or English 3
  7. Introductory Engineering as Engineering 1
  8. Introductory Computing as either Engineering Science 2 or Computer Science 11
  9. Major Requirement for the selected program of study (determined by the department offering the degree program)

† Programs accredited by the EAC of ABET require at least 45 SHU of engineering topics consistent with the EAC general and program-specific accreditation criteria. 

The School publishes degree requirements that apply based on the year of matriculation.  A complete listing of requirements (i.e., school requirements plus the details of the major requirement) may be found online.

Second Majors

Students pursuing a major within the School of Engineering may undertake a second major with the consent of the respective department in the College of Liberal Arts or the School of Engineering. To do so, the student must notify the department of the second major at least one semester before graduation. No more than half the semester hours used to fulfill one major requirement may be used to satisfy the requirement for a second or subsequent major requirement in the School of Engineering or concentration requirement in the College of Liberal Arts.  Students following the Bachelor of Science in engineering and the Bachelor of Science in engineering science are considered to have engineering and engineering science, respectively, as majors and may participate in second-major programs. Students following the Bachelor of Science with no major may not participate second-major programs.

Undergraduate Minor Programs

In addition to completing the courses for the major requirement, undergraduates may elect to enroll in a minor program in the College of Liberal Arts or the School of Engineering. All courses used in fulfillment of the minor program must be taken for a grade. Students may receive no more than two minors. Students following the Bachelor of Science with no major may not receive minors.

Academic Policies

Pass/Fail Option

The spirit of the pass-fail option is to encourage academic exploration. A maximum of 8 courses taken under pass-fail grading may be counted toward a degree in the school of engineering pass-fail credits may not be applied toward the SHU requirements for SOE-Engineering + SOE-Computing and SOE-Mathematics + SOE-Natural Sciences.  In addition, ENG 1, EN1, ES2, and COMP11 may not be taken pass-fail.  Courses that fulfill a major requirement may not be taken pass-fail unless specifically excepted by the program description as recorded in the Bulletin.  Normally, no more than one course per semester may be taken pass-fail. No distinction is made between regular courses that students elect under the pass-fail grading and those courses in which grading is pass-fail. Refer to the academic calendar for deadlines. After the deadline, the only choices are to complete a course under the existing grading system or to withdraw for the remainder of the term. Forms are available here.

Due to the extraordinary pedagogical changes made in the middle of the Spring 2020 and extended into the Fall 2020 semester, students were allowed to take courses on an exceptional pass/fail basis. Exceptional pass (EP) encompasses all grades from A+ through D-. An exceptional pass does not affect the grade point average; a failing grade is averaged into the grade point average. Courses taken under the EP/F grading method, for which a student has earned an exceptional pass, cannot be repeated for credit. Students who elect EP/F grading will not be able to later request reversion to the letter grade.

Due to the exceptional pass/fail policy enacted in spring 2020 and extending into fall 2020, courses taken EP/F during that semester will count toward a student’s degree requirements.

Pre-Matriculation Credit

Students are limited to 27 semester hours of pre-matriculation credit toward their degree. Pre-matriculation credit may not be used to satisfy the minimum requirements for coursework in the humanities and social sciences. Students must complete at least 3 SHU of coursework having attribute SOE-HASS-Humanities and at least 3 SHU of coursework having attribute SOE-HASS-Social Sciences as a part of their program of study subsequent to matriculation. 

Dean’s List

Each semester, students who have been enrolled with a minimum of 12 semester hours, received letter grades in a minimum of 9 semester hours, completed every course in which they were enrolled with no work incomplete, and earned the minimum grade point average of 3.2 will be placed on the Dean’s List in recognition of their academic achievement. An indication of Dean’s List status will be placed on their permanent record.

Degrees with Honors

Distinction (cum laude) is conferred at commencement on deserving students who earned an academic average of 3.20 or higher.

High distinction (magna cum laude) is conferred at commencement on deserving students who have an academic average of 3.50 or higher.

Highest distinction (summa cum laude) is conferred at commencement to deserving students who have a cumulative grade point average of 3.80 or higher.

These nominations are approved by a special vote of the faculty.

The above criteria may be replaced by special evaluation of the Tufts academic record if substantial transfer credit is submitted in fulfillment of the degree requirements, or if the degree program is of unusual duration. Students whose permanent record includes a serious disciplinary infraction will not normally be eligible for degrees with honors.

Tau Beta Pi

Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society, founded in 1885, affords engineering students the same recognition for high scholastic achievement and exemplary character as is provided for liberal arts students in Phi Beta Kappa. The Tufts chapter is designated as Delta Chapter of Massachusetts.

Thesis Honors Program

The Thesis Honors Program allows students to pursue a program of independent study usually leading to a senior thesis and a qualifying examination. The principal purpose of the program is to give special impetus to the development of self-reliance, individual initiative, habits of critical analysis, and correlation of knowledge. Students pursuing a Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (CIS) thesis are eligible for thesis honors. Because this is an honors program, admission is normally restricted to students whose names have appeared on the Dean’s List at least two times before their senior year. Students may take on an honors thesis with one semester on the Dean’s List if they have transferred to Tufts or have received special permission from their department. The application process should be completed during the junior year, including the summer of the senior year. The student is responsible for finding an advisory committee (one principal advisor who is a full-time faculty member in the School of Engineering, and at least one other full-time faculty member from the faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, or industry expert). Admission to the program requires formation of an advisory committee, consent of the student’s advisor, and approval of either the student’s major department or, in the case of a CIS thesis, the CIS Board. The membership of the advisory committee and the title of the thesis must be registered with the Academic Resource Center.

The advisory committee will be chaired by a full-time faculty member in the School of Engineering. Exceptions to this rule may be made at the discretion of the department chair for the student’s major. The committee will direct the student’s reading and research or other technical work, and will guide the student in preparing for a qualifying examination in the area of investigation. All such programs will include six semester hours (with at least 3 semester hours toward the concentration elective). The thesis should be of quality comparable to a paper publishable in a peer-reviewed journal. Its subject and scope will be agreed on in advance by the student and sponsor and approved by the committee. The completed thesis will be presented for consideration no later than two weeks before the last day of classes of the student’s final semester.

Each candidate for a degree with thesis honors is required to undergo examination on the thesis and on the principal area of investigation. The specific character of the examination is determined by each advisory committee and may be oral, written, or both. After the defense, a final copy of the thesis, in electronic form, should be submitted to the Tisch Library archive.

The advisory committee is empowered to determine the level of thesis honors to be awarded, basing its recommendation on an evaluation of the thesis. Degrees are designated bachelor of science with highest thesis honors, with high thesis honors, or with thesis honors. (Thesis honors will be indicated on the student’s transcript, but not on the diploma.) Students who, in the judgment of the advisory committee, have not attained the standards required for a thesis honors designation, but whose work is worthy of a degree, are recommended for the bachelor of science degree subject to the general regulations. Students who, in the judgment of the advisory committee, have attained the standards required for a thesis honors designation may also receive the degree summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude, in accordance with the procedures governing degrees with distinction.

After the defense, a final copy of the thesis should be submitted to the Digital Collections and Archives (DCA). The DCA will accept thesis submission electronically as an alternative to submitting a bound paper copy. Please contact the DCA for more information on how to submit your thesis. For important information about guidelines and deadlines, as well as advice and support for writing a thesis, visit the Senior Honors Thesis website.

Undergraduate Internship Programs

Internships provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to apply their education and skills directly toward a field-based situation, with an off-site organization.

Many internships are paid positions that are performed on a full-time basis over the summer months, or for approximately ten to fifteen hours a week during the semester. These internships may be awarded transcript notations without any academic credit.

Students may receive credit toward degree requirements for which the following conditions must be met: the internship proposal is approved in advance by the department, a faculty mentor has supervisory and technical control of any work that receives credit, and a written report is submitted that will be evaluated by the faculty mentor and the outside institution supervisor.

Engineering students are encouraged to pursue curricular and extra-curricular work experiences, but each engineering student is limited to enroll in 3 SHU of internship, at most, totaled over the undergraduate program. For an international engineering student to engage in Curricular Practical Training (CPT), the student must be registered for a co-op or be enrolled in a one-or-more credit internship concurrent with the CPT experience.  Undergraduate international students who wish to participate in the CPT program should contact the International Center. 

The Office of Engineering Internship helps qualified engineering students identify potential internship opportunities.

Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Degrees Program

The School of Engineering offers exceptional engineering students the option of pursuing a combined bachelor of science and master of science degree (BS-MS) as a thesis or non-thesis program.

Students seeking admission to the program must submit an application by March 15th of their junior year or December 15th of their senior year. Tufts undergraduate students with a cumulative GPA of 3.20 are strongly encouraged to apply. Please note that applicants not meeting the GPA requirement will still be considered and reviewed by the department.

Acceptance by the department and MS program in which the student intends to complete the master’s portion of the program is required. Two graduate-level courses are allowed to count toward the master’s degree requirements as long as they carry the designation of the department in which the master’s portion of the combined degree program is to be completed. Combined-degree students must pay four years of undergraduate tuition and two semesters of graduate tuition (plus continuation fees as applicable).

Combined-degree students are required to fulfill all the requirements of the bachelor’s degree program and graduate before moving into the master’s portion of their program. Students who do not receive their bachelor’s degree by August of their senior year must continue to enroll as an undergraduate and pay undergraduate tuition.