CORVALLIS, Ore. – With the goal of helping students succeed by offering more options and flexibility, the Oregon State University College of Engineering is embarking on a new curriculum model, including changing the way students are admitted to the college.

The college is replacing its professional program (Pro-School) model with a “continuous progression model” beginning with the 2019-20 academic year, Scott Ashford, Kearney Professor and Dean of the College of Engineering, announced today.

“The new model will allow the college to provide a better distribution of engineering courses over the four-year degree, allowing students opportunities to immerse in engineering fundamentals early on, to have the flexibility to change engineering majors early without unnecessary roadblocks, and to potentially obtain their degree at a lower financial cost,” Ashford said.

Since 1981, the college has operated as a pre-professional/professional college. Every engineering student began as a pre-engineering student to build foundations in math, physics, chemistry and engineering principals, then applied to the Pro-School of one of six specific programs.

A student had to be accepted into Pro-School prior to being allowed to take upper-division engineering coursework. Under the new model, students will enter academic programs directly rather than being identified as a pre-engineering or a general engineering student. This change helps students identify more with their college and program, Ashford said.

“Replacing Pro-School with a more sensible continuous progression model based on maintaining a minimum GPA and progression towards degree completion will give our students more opportunities to thrive in engineering, while earlier identifying alternative paths to success for those who struggle,” he said.

The new model is part of a larger curriculum reform the college is working on, Ashford added.

“Everyone I know is in favor of replacing Pro-School,” said sophomore biological engineering major Aaron Arvidson. “Pro-School just means extra stress and added time doing the application. And now we won’t be competing against other students to get into classes meant for our specific majors.”

Lars Larson, a junior in ecological engineering, said the new model will give students more time to explore their options.

“I think it will open up a lot more flexibility in terms of how you choose your classes early on, rather than locking you into a certain path,” he said.

Five schools – Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering; Civil and Construction Engineering; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering; and Nuclear Science and Engineering – and one department, Biological and Ecological Engineering, comprise the college.

Total enrollment in the College of Engineering is about 9,000. In 2018, the college awarded nearly 1,900 degrees, roughly 1,500 of them undergraduate degrees.

College of Engineering

About the OSU College of Engineering: The college is a global leader in artificial intelligence, robotics, advanced manufacturing, clean water and energy, materials science, computing, resilient infrastructure and health-related engineering. Among the nation’s largest and most productive engineering programs, the college awards more bachelor’s degrees in computer science than any other institution in the United States. The college ranks second nationally among land grant universities, and fifth among the nation’s 94 public R1 universities, for percentage of tenured or tenure-track engineering faculty who are women.


Story By: 

Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039
[email protected]


Scott Ashford, 541-737-5232
[email protected]

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