School of Engineering
The sixteen majors in the School of Engineering at Tufts were designed for collaborative, interdisciplinary thinkers and builders who like to get their hands a bit dirty. Engineers never work in isolation, and that is why we place a heavy value on collaboration and communication both within and across disciplines. We also believe that there is never one right way to do anything. Throughout their time at Tufts, students develop the skills to troubleshoot and problem solve.
Project-Based Engineering Education
One of the hallmarks of Tufts Engineering is what we like to call a project-based engineering education. As a first-year student, one of your first classes will be a hands-on, non-technical, project based engineering class designed to get you working in a team to begin learning the engineering design process. Some examples of these classes taught in the past include The Music & Art of Engineering, Simple Robotics, Climate Change Engineering, Engineering in Crises, and Biomechanics.
You will end your Tufts engineering journey by working together with a group of your classmates to complete a senior design project. This year-long project will test your engineering skills and will also grant you the opportunity to dive deep into an area of engineering that interests you. Past projects have included a water-resistant headband for visually imparied swimmers, a voice assistant to teach millennials about finance, and a wearable pollution patch. Click here to explore last year’s senior design projects.
Equal parts playful and practical, the projects that students develop in Tufts engineering courses range from educational tools to robotic haunted houses to model buildings that can withstand earthquakes. This hands-on, high-touch approach runs throughout your time at Tufts. From prototyping medical devices in Biomedical Engineering to developing a thread-based data glove with your senior design project team, project-based learning is at the core of Tufts Engineering.
Quotes from students:
“In my Intro to Engineering: Renewable Energy class, we had weekly labs that focused on a variety of different topics related to renewable energy. We built small windmills and tested their efficiency - all during my freshman fall! The best project, however, was building our own dye-sensitized solar panel with one important ingredient: raspberry jam!” - Ansgar Jordan ’22
“My favorite engineering memory would definitely be during Intro to Engineering: Biomechanics. We were split up into groups for the semester; building a prosthetic leg out of common objects. After building it we had to test it out ourselves trying to walk with it. This was hands down my favorite project done at Tufts so far, and how I met one of my best friends.”- Zoe Hsieh ’22
Research in an Intimate Environment
Our School of Engineering blends resources of a top-tier research institution with the strengths of a small liberal arts college. With our emphasis on the undergraduate experience, Tufts offers students the opportunity to collaborate with faculty across all disciplines on their research projects. In fact, 60% of our undergraduates participate in research before graduation. From Professor Fiorenzo Omenetto’s work on chemically-sensing fabrics to Professor Eric Hines’ work in offshore wind energy to Professor Susan Landau’s research on the intersection of technology and privacy, faculty and students alike are collaborating to solve tough problems related to human health, sustainability, the human-technology interface, and beyond.
Tufts is also one of the institutions with the easiest ability and heftiest faculty support for undergraduates to conduct their own independent research. If you are someone who wants to dive deep and conduct your own, self-designed research, the Tufts Summer Scholars Program can help you secure funding to conduct research of your own design for ten weeks over the course of a summer.
Tufts Summer Scholars of the past have included an Electrical Engineer who researched facial recognition algorithms, focusing on how algorithms behave with alternative images. A Tufts Civil Engineer spent the summer researching the Malden River just north of Boston. Throughout his research, he discovered resources that would aid the progress of five different projects, including the creation of a railway-to-pedestrian bridge.
Through programs like Summer Scholars, Tufts provides all students with the tools to cultivate their passions academically and professionally in a dynamic and supportive environment.
Quotes from students:
“As part of the Biomedical Engineering Department, there is a research track that allows students to work in a lab for at least a semester and do their own research. I worked in the Oudin Lab, which focuses on triple-negative breast cancer research. During my first semester, I focused on cell culture and the role that particular ECMs play on cell proliferation. During my second semester, I worked to design a 3D printable device that helps stabilize tumors during an assay that tracks cell migration on chemo-therapy treated tumors. Overall, I loved the experience and learned an incredible amount about research! I am very grateful for the experience!” -Becca Crawley ’22
Nimble and Adaptable
Tufts engineers aren’t just math and science wizards. They are also kind, creative, collaborative, logical, enthusiastic, and down to earth. Collaboration is an especially big theme in our School of Engineering. On most problem sets that you complete as an engineering undergraduate, the first question will be “Who did you work on this with?” It is an expectation that you are working together to solve problems – because that is how engineering works in the real world! Our students understand that they need to be able to communicate and work with a wide variety of people to best solve the world’s most pressing problems.
This past year, faculty, staff, students, and alumni from the Computer Science Department came together to create the Tufts CS Code for Good, a program that matches current students with various community service organizations and projects. You will foster close relationships not only on the Tufts campus, but we also make sure that you understand the power and importance of embedding yourself into the broader communities that us Jumbos call home.
Quotes from students:
“Working together and sharing our different perspectives have enriched my experience and made me a better student. In between assignments, we try to find ways to relax and enjoy each other’s company, whether it be watching a movie or having a meal together. In a lot of ways, my peers in my major have become some of my closest friends, so when I think back on my engineering experience, I will definitely remember all of the time we spent in classrooms and the library working together.” - Brendan Amorin ’22
“My favorite professor so far has to be Professor Monica Pheifer. She teaches Engineering Management (EM51), and I took her class my sophomore fall semester. Not only did I love her class (hence why I became an Engineering Management minor), but she was also always positive and had high energy - which was contagious! She loved what she was teaching, and she kept it very real. I learned so much about real-world engineering in her class, and it was hard to disengage. Even now, I still use what I learned from her class, and it has led me to notice and ask intelligent and insightful questions during job processes and in other instances.”- Michelle Ma ’19
Tufts engineers don't simply ask if something can be created - they ask how and why. Deeply immersed in both engineering technical work and the liberal arts, Tufts engineers are nimble and adaptable in and outside of the classroom. Multidisciplinary learning is vital to understanding engineering issues in the context of the larger world. Tufts engineers connect ideas from various disciplines – philosophy to mechatronics – to become the engineers of the 21st century. Our flexible engineering program challenges traditional curriculum restrictions by allowing engineers to choose a second major or a minor from either the School of Engineering or the School of Arts and Sciences.
Each engineering major and minor promotes an ethical and interdisciplinary approach, including significant strength in the areas of human health, sustainability, and the human-technology interface. We like when engineers look at the big picture and the broad implications of their work - we call this engineering with a conscience.
Quotes from students:
“I used to always be torn between choosing to be an educator or an engineer. Coming to Tufts was amazing in many ways. One of the best things Tufts has done for me is giving me the opportunity to minor in Engineering Education. One of the required classes for my minor was Society and Education, taught by professor Steven Cohen. This class really challenged my views and assumptions on education in America. It made me open my eyes to all the things that come into play when it comes to building and organizing schools.”- Madeline Fabela ’23
“Tufts Engineering is, in my eyes, the perfect balance. While all of us are engineers at heart, we all have other passions and curiosities that might differ from engineering or STEM completely. What makes Tufts Engineering so special is that while you are getting amazing engineering knowledge from world-class professors and while you have access to great resources such as the Nolop Makerspace or research opportunities, you can still keep that other fire burning by taking classes outside of your major. This allows you not only to pursue other interests, but also to connect with other students who aren't engineering majors. Personally, I probably have more friends who aren't engineers compared to those who are - both are equally amazing however - and the lack of a divide between Engineering and Arts & Sciences really helps keep Tufts as a whole more unified.”- Ishan Ahuja ’23
Bray Laboratories, Halligan Hall, the Science and Technology Center, the Science and Engineering Complex, and the Collaborative Learning and Innovation Complex are among the many different spaces where our engineers immerse themselves in problem solving, tinkering, and inventing.
These makerspaces, facilities, and lab spaces are home to professors and students working together to carry out ground-breaking research and design projects. If you are someone who enjoys tinkering and building, the Nolop Fabrication, Analysis, Simulation, and Testing (FAST) Facility in the Science and Engineering Complex is one place (of many!) where you can indulge your creativity. Equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters, woodworking and metalworking tools, a full time staff member to help you out and answer your questions, and more, you can quickly prototype a project (for class or just for fun!) and work with and learn from your peers. Nolop is open to every member of the Tufts community.