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 s.f. 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.



undergraduate presentations at the Annual Engineering Research Symposium



faculty in nine departments



entrepreneurs fostered by the Columbia Startup Lab in five years

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

Nanotechnology Initiative

An interdisciplinary community within the University, the Nano Initiative is dedicated to supporting and developing research efforts in nanoscience and technology, as well as quantum science and technology—fields with untold potential to revolutionize industry sectors ranging from information technology and transportation to energy, environmental science and beyond.

Artificial Intelligence

Working closely across disciplines and with resources like Columbia's Data Science Institute, Columbia students and faculty are shepherding the development of a new wave of AI technologies. These advances have the potential to permeate and transform every field—from medicine and finance to materials discovery, social interactions and free speech.

Regenerative Medicine

Multidisciplinary research brings together bioengineers, clinicians and systems biology scientists to create innovative procedures and therapies that can help the human body heal itself, whether that means recovering from heart attacks, improving brain function or fighting cancer with bacteria.

Electrochemical Energy Center

The Electrochemical Energy Center has a vision: to chart an urgently needed pathway toward a clean energy future by leveraging a world-class research team that spans multiple departments at Columbia. Electrochemical reactions are the driving force behind next-generation batteries, future fuel, carbon capture and conversion, and the decarbonization of manufacturing industries.