An Olin engineering education starts with people and connects to the real-world

The Olin academic experience springs from a simple but powerful idea: engineering starts and ends with people. An Olin education begins with understanding what people need and exploring opportunities to make a difference in their lives.

It continues as students develop the skills, knowledge, and experiences to become people who can engineer a better future for the world.

Throughout, Olin students develop an approach to lifelong learning that prepares them to understand complexity and know not only how to solve problems, but how to identify which problems to solve.

Olin’s academic approach emphasizes hands-on learning, collaboration, and tackling real-world problems – starting on day one and continuing through students’ capstone experiences.

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Learning takes place everywhere.

For Olin students, learning is not limited to classrooms. Meaningful learning takes place in multiple settings, including traditional faculty-led classes, independent studies and research, as well as student-led courses. It also happens in student-clubs and engineering competition teams. Students explore the boundaries of knowledge and innovation working on research projects with faculty – and by pursuing new ideas and passions through independent studies, and co-curriculars where students, faculty, and staff come together around common interests.

Hands-on and project-based from day one

Olin’s project-based approach begins the first semester with classes that provide hands-on engineering experience.

Every Olin student dives into design with Design Nature, a first-year course in which they design and build mechanical systems inspired by animals that hop, crawl, and swim. Later in the curriculum, students get off campus in the Collaborative Design course to observe, interview, and interact with user groups, then design products and services that create value for people.

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Learning bridges multiple disciplines

Students in all majors take a common set of classes that connect areas of engineering and integrate math, science, humanities, and social science. Olin faculty work and teach together, bridging disciplines.

It is not unusual to take a class co-taught by faculty from two or more disciplines.

A culture of collaboration in and out of the classroom

Many Olin courses are taught in a studio environment, emphasize hands-on activity and cooperative exploration, and offer students the flexibility to choose projects that align with their interests. Outside of class, students find many opportunities to collaborate and take leadership roles in teams and clubs.

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Majors + Concentrations

At many engineering schools, curriculum and majors are highly specialized, requiring students to take many courses in their major, but offering few opportunities to take classes in other fields.

Olin’s curriculum follows the liberal arts tradition that allows students to discover and try new things as they pursue their education. Our curriculum combines technical and engineering education with a strong emphasis on the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Entrepreneurship to prepare students for the challenges they will face as engineers in the real world.

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