Through their new partnership in engineering education, Bowdoin and the University of Maine?Orono (UMaine) aim to boost the number of Maine engineers who pursue a career in their home state. The program, available only for Maine residents, will expand the "3-2" shared studies engineering program already in place at Bowdoin.
The "3-2 Option" requires three years of study at Bowdoin and two years of study at the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University, the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, the California Institute of Technology, or, as of recently, UMaine.
Upon completing all five years of study, students receive a degree from both Bowdoin and the given engineering school. With both a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science degree, students can start a career in engineering or continue to graduate school.
Professor of Physics and Astronomy Dale Syphers, who manages the pre-engineering curriculum at Bowdoin, described the new program as an attempt to do something "meaningful and long-term" for Maine.
"Before you know it, you're tied in and working in the state," Syphers said of students who would receive their engineering degrees in Orono.
Currently, only one or two students per class take advantage of the 3-2 engineering program, which is more than 40 years old. Although a few entering first years are usually interested in the program, Syphers said that these students often choose different paths to engineering or simply lose interest.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Bill Shain expects that two or three students at most in each class will enter Bowdoin with plans of following the 3-2 program with UMaine.
"The hope is it will reach a few talented math/science students a year from Maine, who had ruled out a liberal arts college," Shain wrote in an e-mail to The Orient.
Bowdoin offers a similar program in legal studies. Students can receive a B.A. from Bowdoin and a J.D. from Columbia in six years.