2. Advice By Major

Before you can design your course schedule, you will need to gather some information on the various majors and suggestions for A and B term course selection.  Click on the links below to view Major “notes” and sample course charts.

Please note you will only be selecting your courses for A and B term this summer.

Abbreviations to note before reading further:

Majors

 

Undecided

If you are undecided about your major there are several course options that you can select that will work for any of our majors.  By including a math and science (physics or chemistry) course as two of your three courses each term, you will keep your options open for any major at WPI.  Your third course should be selected from either the Great Problems SeminarHumanities, or Social Science.  

Course Suggestions

A term

  • Math
  • Science (BB/CH/PH)
  • HUA / SS / GPS

B term

  • Math
  • Science (BB/CH/PH)
  • HUA / SS / GPS

If you select Chemistry or Physics for A term, you should continue with the same science in B term.

Engineering Undecided

If you think that you may want to major in engineering then you should consider taking physics as your science course for A and B Term.  It is also strongly recommended that you consider some of the introductory engineering courses. Mechanical Engineering (ES 1310ME 1800ES 1020). Robotics Engineering (RBE 1001) and Chemical Engineering offer an introductory course in B term (CHE 1011), Biomedical Engineering offers BME 1001 in B term, and Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE 1799) offers a seminar during A and B terms. The other engineering majors offer their introductory courses in C and D Term. You will learn more about these course offerings later in the Fall.  Please consult the appropriate major link in this list for more information on the introductory course options available.

Course Suggestions

A term

B term

Aerospace Engineering Notes

As an Aerospace Engineering Major, students are encouraged to complete their Math sequence (MA 1021-1024) during their first year. It is also recommended to take PH 1110-1120 or PH 1111-1121 sequence in A and B term. For your third course, selection from the humanities, social science, or GPS is encouraged.

Course Suggestions

A term

B term

Please note: GPS courses can only be used to fulfill the HUA, SS, or the free elective requirement for Aerospace Engineering majors.

Architectural Engineering

Course Suggestions

A term

  • Math
  • CH 1010 (If already have credit for CH 1010, take PH 1110/1111)
  • HUA or SS or GPS

B term

  • Math
  • CH 1020 (If already have credit for CH 1020 and took PH 1110/1111, take PH 1120/1121)
  • AR 2114 or SS or GPS

Please note: GPS courses can only be used to fulfill the HUA, SS, Chemistry, or the free elective requirement for Architectural Engineering majors.

Biochemistry Notes

Biochemistry majors should plan to take Chemistry I-IV (CH 1010CH 1020CH 1030, and CH 1040) as the basis for most of the subsequent chemistry and biochemistry information they will learn. CH 1010 and CH 1020 review material that is generally found in high school chemistry courses, and may not be necessary for students with a good chemistry background.  CH 1030 and CH 1040 are highly recommended for majors in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering and most areas of Biology. These courses also provide an introduction to working in a laboratory, a key part of the skills necessary to become a biochemist. Since biochemists work at the interface of chemistry and biology, a background in biology is also essential. For those students who have had biology in high school, we recommend taking Cell Biology (BB 2550 - A term) and Genetics (BB 2920 - C term). For those students who have no biology background, BB 1035-Intro to Biotechnology (A term) should be taken first. Biochemistry majors should also take mathematics, preferably calculus, throughout the first year. Additional courses can be selected from the Humanities, Great Problems Seminars, and Social Sciences. 

For those students with good high school chemistry backgrounds, we recommend that they take the available credit exams, offered during New Student Orientation.  We have developed one of these for each of the general chemistry courses, and they must be taken in order.   A grade of 70 or better on the CH 1010 credit exam will result in credit being given for the course, and allow the student the opportunity to take the credit exam for CH1020.  If students test out of CH1010, we recommend that they consider a first year seminar in the fall, in place of the chemistry courses.

Course Suggestions

A term

B term

Potential Biochemistry majors who have specific questions regarding the major and distribution requirements should contact any Biochemistry faculty member or the department head. A full list is provided here.

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Course Suggestions

A term

  • Math / HUA / GPS
  • CH 1010
  • CS 1101 or BB 1035 or BB 2550

B term

  • Math / HUA / GPS
  • CH 1020
  • CS 2102 or BB 1001

Biology & Biotechnology Notes

Students planning to major in Biology & Biotechnology can enter the curriculum in several different ways.  The introductory sequence for Biology & Biotechnology majors includes Introduction to Biotechnology (BB 1035, A & C terms), Biodiversity (BB 1045, C term) and Human Biology (BB 1025, D term).  Students who take Introduction to Biotechnology in A term may choose to take Molecular Biology (BB 2950) or Microbiology (BB 2002) in B term.

 

Most Biology and Biotechnology majors, and all students planning careers in the health professions, should take the introductory chemistry sequence. Molecularity (CH 1010 ) and Forces and Bonding (CH 1020) are taught in A and B terms and again in C and D terms. Equilibrium (CH 1030) is a C term offering.  As chemistry is foundational to the study of biological systems, all of these courses will fulfill distribution requirements for the major.

 

Mathematics for biology majors should include the fundamentals of calculus, including differentiation  (MA 1021, A, B and C terms) and integration (MA 1022, A, B, C and D terms).  For students whose preparation does not include precalculus, Calculus with Preliminary Topics (MA 1020) is offered in the fall semester.  After completing or receiving credit for Calculus I and II, students may elect to take statistics, an area of mathematics essential to biological data analysis.  Statistics courses include MA 2610, Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences (D term) and MA 2611 ( A, B, C and D terms) and 2612 (B and D terms), Applied Statistics I and II. 

 

A well-balanced schedule should also include courses outside of science and mathematics.  These include courses in the Humanities and Arts and Social Science and Policy Studies. Students planning careers in the health professions may choose to take courses in the social sciences to include PSY 1400, Introduction to Psychological Science (B term) and SOC 1202 Introduction to Sociology and Cultural Diversity (D term).  Biology & Biotechnology majors may also be interested in the Great Problems Seminars, which variably carry credit in Humanities and Arts or Social Sciences, and Basic Science or Engineering.  Topics of particular interest may include the seminars related to global health and nutrition.

 

Course suggestions: These are suggestions.  Choices should depend on advanced placement, and individual areas of interest.  No particular course is essential in any given term.

Course Suggestions

A term

  • CH 1010
  • BB 1035
  • HUA or GPS or MA 1020 or 1021

B term

 

Biomedical Engineering Notes

Students are encouraged to fulfill their physics and chemistry requirements in their first year and to postpone taking any biology courses until their sophomore year. Biology courses at the 1000-level are generally not recommended unless students have no background in biology.  Students who are interested in learning about the breadth of the field of biomedical engineering should consider taking BME 1001 in B term of their freshman year. 

Course Suggestions

A term

  • HUA / SS / GPS
  • Math
  • Science (CH or PH)

B term

  • HUA / SS / GPS / BME 1001 
  • Math
  • Science (CH or PH)

Chemical Engineering Notes

Students interested in or considering chemical engineering as a major should start their first year in the chemistry sequence (CH 1010-1040) and in the calculus sequence (MA 1021-1024).

An option available during B term is a course describing the broad discipline of chemical engineering, CHE 1011. An introduction is provided to first principles of chemical engineering, as well as environmental, health, safety, management and ethical issues in chemical engineering practice. This course is particularly recommended for students wanting to know more about chemical engineering so that they make a more informed choice about their major field.

Course Suggestions

A term

B term

Please note: GPS courses can only be used to fulfill the HUA, SS, or the free elective requirement for Chemical Engineering majors.

Potential Chemical Engineering majors who have specific questions regarding the major and distribution requirements should contact any Chemical Engineering faculty member or the department head. A list is provided here.

Chemistry Notes

Study in general chemistry is fundamental to all disciplines in science and engineering. The basic general chemistry course sequence consists of four parts: CH 1010, CH 1020, CH 1030, and CH 1040. The entire sequence begins in Term A only.  CH 1010 and CH 1020 both review material that is generally found in high school chemistry courses, and may not be necessary for students with a good chemistry background.  CH 1030 and CH 1040 are highly recommended for majors in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering and most areas of Biology. For majors in some areas, only the first half of the sequence will be needed; for this reason, CH 1010 and CH 1020 are offered again in Terms C and D, respectively.  

For those students with good high school chemistry backgrounds, we recommend that they take the available credit exams, offered during New Student Orientation.  We have developed one of these for each of the general chemistry courses, and they must be taken in order.   A grade of 70 or better on the CH 1010 credit exam will result in credit being given for the course, and allow the student the opportunity to take the credit exam for CH 1020.  If students test out of CH 1010, we recommend that they consider a Great Problems Seminar in the fall, in place of the chemistry courses.

Chemistry majors should also take mathematics, preferably calculus, throughout the first year.

Course Suggestions

A term

B term

Potential Chemistry majors who have specific questions regarding the major and distribution requirements should contact any Chemistry faculty member or the department head. A full list is provided here.

Civil & Environmental Engineering Notes

Students interested in Civil and Environmental Engineering should use their first year of study to satisfy math and science requirements, including calculus (MA 1021-1024) and chemistry (CH 1010-1020). Students with advanced standing in math can continue with differential equations (MA 2051) and statistics (MA 2611). For the third course each term, most students prefer a course in the Humanities, Social Science, or a Great Problems Seminar.

Course Suggestions

A term

B term

Computer Science Course Notes

The Computer Science introductory curriculum emphasizes program design; as part of this focus, the order in which languages are introduced is Racket/Scheme, followed by Java and then C/C++. Students should choose courses for this year according to the following guidelines:

Computer Science Majors

CS majors can follow one of two paths into the CS curriculum. The choice of which path to take should be based on the student's prior programming experience:

Most students should take:
1. CS 1101 Introduction to Program Design (offered in Terms A and C), followed by
2. CS 2102 Object-Oriented Design Concepts (offered in Terms B and D)

Students having substantial previous programming experience are encouraged to take:
3. CS 1102 Accelerated Introduction to Program Design (offered in Term A only), followed by
4. CS 2102 Object-Oriented Design Concepts (offered in Terms B and D)

(substantial previous programming experience might be obtained through a "4" or "5" on the Advanced Placement Computer Science exam or through prior programming background covering at least functions, lists, and recursion. CS1102 doesn't assume experience with any particular programming language. Students are encouraged to contact the CS department at undergraduate@cs.wpi.edu if they need help assessing their readiness for CS1102.)

The goal for all CS majors should be to complete CS 2102 by the end of the first year. Those students wishing to pursue the major at a more aggressive pace may consider taking as many as four CS courses the first year: CS 1101 or CS 1102 in Term A, CS 2102 in Term B, are encouraged.

Most CS majors will take four mathematics courses in the first year and round out the rest of the schedule with science, Humanities & Arts or GPS courses.

Course Suggestions

A term, select three courses from:

  • GPS or HUA
  • Math
  • CS
  • Science (e.g. Physics or Biology)

 

B term, select three courses from:

  • GPS or HUA
  • Math
  • CS
  • Science (e.g. Physics or Biology)

Electrical & Computer Engineering Notes

Students considering ECE as a major should enroll in ECE 1799 (Frontiers and Current issues of Electrical and Computer Engineering).  Students enrolled in ECE 1799 will receive 1/6 unit of credit for the full semester and is in addition to your three course load per term.  The class will meet once a week for one hour during the fall semester (A & B terms) and the students will participate in reading, writing and some other hands-on and interesting out of classroom activities.

Please Note: The Seminar is taken in addition to your three courses per term.

Students interested in ECE should begin their science courses with Physics. *The PH 1111-1121 sequence is preferable to PH 1110-1120, but both are completely acceptable. It is recommended to take CS 1004 (offered in A &C terms) within your first year if you do not have any programming background.

The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) program begins with two introductory courses ECE 2010, Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering. (This course is offered every term, including summer, to make it easier for students to plan their schedules). ECE 2010 can be followed by either ECE 2029, Introduction to Digital Circuit Design, or ECE 2019, Sensors Circuits, and Systems.  Students with programming background who have been able to take CS 2301 can follow ECE 2010 with ECE 2049, Embedded Computing in Engineering Design.  Many students interested in ECE take ECE 2010 and ECE 2029 in consecutive terms once they have completed Calculus I and II and Physics I and II.

*Do not take the PH 1111 or PH 1121 sequence unless you are starting your Math sequence with at least Calc 3 (MA 1023). 

Course Suggestions

A term

B term

Environmental Engineering Notes

Students interested in environmental engineering should use their first year of study to satisfy math and science requirements, including calculus (MA 1021 – 1024) and chemistry (CH 1010 – 1040). Students with advanced standing in math can continue with differential equations and statistics. For the third course each term, most students prefer a course in the Humanities and Arts, Social Sciences, or GPS, but may also consider additional science courses (PH, BB, GE).

Additional information on the Environmental Engineering program may be found at the program website.

Course Suggestions

A term

  • Math
  • Science (CH 1010)
  • HUA / GPS / SS or Science (PH/BB/GE)

B term

  • Math
  • Science (CH 1020)
  • HUA / GPS / SS or Science (PH/BB/GE)

Environmental and Sustainability Studies Notes

Students who are interested in this major, are encouraged to visit the website to learn more.

Course Suggestions

A term

  • Math
  • CH / BB
  • GPS / HUA / SS

B term

  • Math
  • ENV 1100
  • GPS / HUA / SS

Potential Environmental and Sustainibility Studies majors who have specific questions regarding the major and distribution requirements should contact Professor Krueger.

Interactive Media & Game Development Notes

WPI's Interactive Media & Game Development (IMGD) majors receive a base education in both the technical and artistic aspects of interactive media.  There is particular emphasis on programmers and artists working closely together, providing invaluable experience for their post-graduate years.  IMGD majors are also provided with a base of knowledge in mathematics and science, which serves as a foundation for IMGD professional activities or post-graduate studies.

Technical

Course Suggestions

A term

B term

Artistic

Course Suggestions

A term

  • IMGD 1001
  • AR 1100 (If course is closed, consider an English/Writing or Music course instead)
  • Math or Science

B term

  • IMGD 1000
  • Consider an English/Writing or Music 
  • Math  or AR 1101

Humanities and Arts Courses to consider as English courses: EN 1251, EN 2210, EN 2211, EN 2232, EN 2234, EN 2238, EN 2243, EN 2251, EN 2252, EN 3237, and EN 3248. Writing courses to consider are WR 2211 and RH 3211. 

Courses to consider as Music courses: MU 3611, MU 3612 and MU 3613. MU 3613 does not require any music reading background.

Potential IMGD majors who have specific questions regarding the major and distribution requirements should contact Tricia Desmarais.

Mathematical Sciences Notes

Mathematical Sciences majors can choose to take courses either in the regular calculus sequence MA1021 – MA 1024, or if they are entering WPI with credit for MA 1021, MA 1022, they are encouraged to consider MA 1033 and MA 1034. Please see the math placement exam to choose the regular calculus course that's right for you.

The sequence MA 1033 Calculus III: Introduction to Analysis III and MA 1034 Calculus IV: Introduction to Analysis IV is an alternative to the MA 1023, MA 1024  sequence in A and B terms.  The sequence is designed to give a deeper and more mathematically rigorous presentation of the relevant calculus topics.  If you really enjoy math and have credit for Calculus I and II already, you should consider this sequence instead of the MA 1023-MA 1024 sequence.

Course Suggestions

A term

  • Math
  • Basic Science or SS (Specifically ECON 1110 or ECON 1120 for Actuarial Math Majors)
  • HUA / CS / GPS

B term

  • Math
  • Basic Science or SS (Specifically ECON 1110 or ECON 1120 for Actuarial Math Majors)
  • HUA / GPS

Potential Mathematical Sciences majors who have specific questions regarding the major or distribution requirements should contact Professor Capogna or Professor Petruccelli.

Potential Actuarial Sciences majors who have specific questions regarding the major or distribution requirements should contact Professor Abraham.

Mechanical Engineering Notes

Students with an interest in mechanical engineering are encouraged to engage early in the discipline by taking one or two introductory courses in the first year. Introduction to Computer Aided Design (ES 1310), Introduction to Engineering (ES 1020), and Materials Selection and Manufacturing Processes (ME 1800) are three excellent ways to learn how mechanical engineers design and make artifacts for the modern world.

Course Suggestions

A term

B term

Physics Notes

The programs of study in Physics are designed to fulfill the needs and interests of students over the range from "pure" to "applied" or engineering science. All programs within the Physics major include a common group of recommended courses which provide the foundational beginning with the great themes of physics-matter, motion, forces, energy, and the nature and concepts of electricity and magnetism.

Course Suggestions

A term

B term

Pre-Health Notes

WPI offers pre-professional advising programs for pre-health, including pre-med, pre-vet, pre-dental, or pre-optometry. Students take specific courses, in addition to their major course work, to prepare for entry into professional schools and exams such as MCAT, DAT, GRE and OAT. Course advice for students interested in pursuing any of the mentioned pre-professional programs may follow the course advice below. Students with specific questions regarding these programs can contact Aleshia Carlsen-Bryan, acarlsen@wpi.edu within the Office of Academic Advising.

A Term

B Term

Robotics Engineering Notes

The goal of WPI’s Robotics Engineering program is for graduates to be proficient in Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, and to be able to use these skills to design and construct robots for many different applications. Students are encouraged to take a Math course each term along with either Physics sequence PH 1110-1120 or PH 1111-1121.  Most students should take at least 3 Humanities and Arts courses in their freshman year.  RBE majors should plan to take Introduction to Robotics, RBE 1001, during the first year, typically during C or D term. Students who are exceptionally well prepared and wish an early start to robotics should take Introduction to Program Design CS 1101 or CS 1102 in A Term and Introduction to Robotics (RBE 1001) in B term. If you are undecided about your major and interested in RBE, we encourage you to take RBE 1001 during B term, rather than C or D term to help you make your decision. For those students who are sure of their major being Robotics, we encourage you to take it during C or D term.

*Please note: Students who will be taking RBE 1001 in B term should begin with the Physics sequence in A term. Also, students selecting PH 1111-1121 should take Calc 3 or higher in A term

Course Suggestions

A term

B term

Potential Robotics Engineering majors who have specific questions regarding the program and distribution requirements are welcome to contact the RBE Office at rbe@wpi.edu or 508-831-6665.

School of Business


Management (MG), Management Engineering (MGE), or Management Information Systems (MIS) Major

In the School of Business we encourage students to work on basic courses during their first year.  These would include:

  • Math:  MA 1021 and 1022;
  • Science: CH 1010 and CH 1020 for MGE with Chemistry concentration; MG, MIS, and non-engineering MGE concentrators may choose from a combination of BB, CH, and PH;
  • Humanities and Arts; and
  • Business Context and Mindset Cluster courses (BUS 1010, BUS 1020, BUS 2020). 

Course Suggestions

A term

  • BUS 1010 / BUS 1020 / BUS 2020 / ECON 1110
  • Math or Science
  • HUA / GPS

A term

  • BUS 1010 /  ECON 1120
  • Math or Science
  • HUA / GPS

Industrial Engineering Notes

Industrial Engineering (IE) is a major within the School of Business. Through IE, majors learn about the analysis, effective design, and implementation of integrated systems of people, materials, information, equipment, and technology. Many Industrial Engineers serve as a bridge between engineering and management because they are concerned about both the technological and organizational impact of changes. Sample titles of first jobs for our IE graduates include operations analyst, business analyst, and process engineer/analyst, among others.

First year students who are interested in Industrial Engineering should take mathematics and science courses – at least three calculus courses and statistics and either (a) two courses in chemistry and one in physics or (b) one course in chemistry and two in physics along with humanities and arts courses for the Humanities and Arts Requirement, and a social science course or an introductory level engineering course.

Course Suggestions

A term

  • HUA / SS / GPS
  • Math
  • Science (CH or PH)

B term

  • HUA / SS / GPS
  • Math
  • Science (CH or PH)

Potential Industrial Engineering, Management, Management Engineering, and Management Information Systems majors who have specific questions regarding the major and distribution requirements should contact Marge Gribouski, Associate Director of Programs in the School of Business.

Social Science & Policy Notes

The department offers majors in systems dynamics, economic science, psychological science, and society technology and policy. Course selections for these major programs should begin by choosing a social science course as you first course. Please consult the list of social science course offerings to make the appropriate choice.

Course Suggestions

A term

  • SS
  • Math or Science
  • HUA / GPS

B term

  • SS
  • Math or Science
  • HUA / GPS
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Last modified: September 19, 2014 16:07:42