Engineering Undergraduate Experience

A Columbia Engineering education combines the technical acumen of a world-class research university with the broad humanist and liberal arts exposure of Columbia’s renowned Core Curriculum. The result? An active, roll-up-your-sleeves culture of imagining, creating and solving. It’s made possible by a diverse, energetic and intellectually curious student body focused on a better future—and enhanced by ready access to ample resources, world-class facilities and field-leading faculty.

Engineering Common Courses

The Core Curriculum has been one of the defining features of a Columbia education for more than a century. Columbia Engineers take part in this unifying educational tradition alongside their Columbia College peers by taking a modified Core Curriculum, which integrates the same emphasis on critical thinking, debate and respect for ideas while preparing engineers for their lives as innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders. 

Engineering students take approximately half of Columbia College’s Core requirements, as well as technical courses that will ground you in the five major areas of inquiry.

Technical Core:

  • The Art of Engineering
  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Physics
  • Technical Electives
  • Non-Technical Electives

From the Core Curriculum:

  • One of: Literature Humanities, Contemporary Civilization, or Global Core
  • Either Art Humanities or Music Humanities
  • University Writing
  • Physical Education

In the first year, Columbia Engineering students take The Art of Engineering, a hands-on design course that introduces scientific concepts re-framed in engineering terms. 

Broad exposure. Diverse experience. 

As a Columbia Engineering student, you’ll become more than an engineer. Through a range of courses and experiences beyond the classroom, you’ll gain the skills and perspectives to discover visionary solutions and find answers to the world’s greatest challenges.

The Columbia Makerspace

Columbia’s 3,000 square foot MakerSpace offers a wide variety of tools—from 3D printers to laser cutters and CNC tools for digital fabrication—for projects, hobbies, building prototypes or tinkering with a new idea.

Columbia Design Challenges

Columbia Design Challenges encourage students from across the University to devise interdisciplinary solutions to urgent societal needs. From fighting Ebola and building sustainable workspaces in India, to increasing access to clean water in Rio de Janeiro and generating innovative technology for New York City’s participation in the 2020 Census, our students work on real problems to help find real solutions.

Senior Design Expo

The annual Senior Design Expo showcases the collaborative projects of seniors with their peers, applying their knowledge to solve an engineering challenge while researching, designing and producing an original prototype.



students presenting on over 50 projects at the Senior Design Expo



Columbia Engineering faculty across nine departments



entrepreneurs trained at the Columbia Startup Lab



of undergraduate research opportunities with Columbia Engineering faculty

Research that matters.

The Columbia engineers who pioneered inventions like X-ray technology and the mass-production of antibiotics worked at the very cutting edge of technology in their lifetime. Today, we’re doing the same. And with unmatched undergraduate access to research opportunities across a wide range of centers, institutes and initiatives, you can hit the ground running toward a successful career and world-scale impact. 

Explore all research