About Our Curriculum

Olin’s curriculum prepares graduates to engineer a better future for the world

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. 

See our Learning Outcomes

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An Olin education prepares students to recognize the complexity of the world and understand the relationship of their work to individuals, society, and the environment.


What’s unique about Olin’s curriculum?

A focus on hands-on engineering

Olin students begin real, hands-on engineering with three classes in the first semester and continue to build on their skills throughout their time here.

Learning connected to real-world challenges

Olin students work on projects that focus on real-world problems and have many opportunities to pursue research and project work both inside and outside the classroom.

Collaborative, project-based learning

All courses emphasize team- and project-based learning, classroom approaches that go well beyond listening and test-taking.


Olin students have the flexibility to choose majors, courses, and projects that align with their interests.

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Olin's education is very project-based.

There's a class traditionally taken your first semester of sophomore year, called Principles of Integrated Engineering. And they say the first day you decide what your project is going to be. The entire project is the journey of you getting there and demonstrating what you learned and what you did with a team of advisors."

Carlos Godinez


Learn more about Phoenix Racing

Engineering begins and ends with people

Our engineering curriculum puts people first. Beginning in their first year, Olin students explore the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences as well as Entrepreneurship and user centered design, as core parts of their education.

These courses and experiences help students grow as critical and contextual thinkers, thoughtful creators, and persuasive communicators.

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Entrepreneurship focused on creating for real people

We believe in a definition of entrepreneurship that focuses on developing people over products, and sustainably creating positive impact in the real world.

Throughout the curriculum, students are encouraged to put creating real value for real people at the forefront of everything they do.

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Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences as core disciplines

We believe Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (AHS) are absolutely central for engineering students, and offer insight, purpose, and direction to their educational experience.
Olin AHS courses help students think and understand more about others and themselves.

Explore Olin’s Majors & Concentrations

Olin offers three engineering majors and concentrations that offer diverse and flexible learning opportunities.

Learn more

Opportunities beyond Olin's campus

Cross-Registration at Babson, Brandeis and Wellesley

Olin offers cross-registration agreements with Babson College, Brandeis University and Wellesley College. These agreements increase the academic offerings available to Olin students beyond engineering.

Learn more
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Study Away

One of the founding principles of Olin College was that every student should have the opportunity to have a learning experience “away” from the College. Olin has over 35 pre-approved study away institutions, and students also have the opportunity to create a self-designed away experience.

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Grand Challenge Scholars Program

Olin’s Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP) helps students leverage their educational experiences and participation in the Olin community to galvanize lifelong learning and community participation. The focus of the program is on developing the self ("I"), developing Olin ("we"), and developing the world ("all of us"). The program culminates with the creation of each student's personal vision and mission snapshot, reflecting their identity, values, experiences, and goals to date. Olin's GCSP uses a combination of formal courses and informal experiences to help students grow into their identities, participate in a community of practice, and find a role for themselves in fulfilling Olin's mission of doing good in the world.

Olin Public Interest Technology Clinic (PInT)

PInT (as in “Public Interest Technology”) is a student-led effort to cultivate pathways and opportunities for Olin's students, faculty, and staff to be creators, engineers, designers, artists, and activists who leverage and deepen their powerful technical and creative skills for justice, equity, inclusion, and doing good in the world. PInT recently received a grant from the New America Foundation to support the team (PInT), and to create a fellowship. The PInT Summer 2020 Fellowship is a fully-funded program that will allow up to three of Olin College’s engineering students to work at public interest organizations and advance Olin’s mission to recognize needs, design solutions, and engage in creative enterprises for the good of the world. A stipend is provided as well as a budget for travel, housing and supplies. 

As part of PInT’s greater effort to create strong career pathways for engineering students to make the world better, this fellowship will expand awareness of public interest careers for engineers. PInT Fellows can choose to seek or create summer internships at public interest organizations such as government offices, public institutions, non-profits, community-based organizations, advocacy campaigns, foundations, environmental organizations, and more. The aim is for Fellows to find an organization that is doing things they are passionate about, where they can potentially affect positive change.

For more details, including application materials, visit the PInT site.

PInT is a founding chapter of the Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN), a major initiative of the New America Foundation


The Music Program at Olin, including OCO

The Olin Conductorless Orchestra (OCO) – an ensemble, minus conductor – features instrumentalists in leadership, communicative, and collaborative roles!

The Olin Conductorless Orchestra (OCO) – an ensemble, minus conductor – features instrumentalists in leadership, communicative, and collaborative roles. Dedicated to orchestral performance in the concerted spirit of chamber music, the orchestra forges individual participation, active listening, and group-motivation into performances that have established it as the only conductorless orchestra composed of engineers - in the world!