Opportunities for Engineering Students

The multiple dimensions of modern engineering include deep and broad technical knowledge, a sophisticated code of ethics, and competence in the interpersonal and professional skills required to work effectively with and through others. Such skills include, but are not limited to, the ability to work in and lead diverse teams; to think critically about context and impact; to understand their own and others’ values, motivations, and perspectives; and to communicate effectively with diverse groups of people. These skills are developed inside and outside the classroom, most notably through experiential learning opportunities. 

Experiential learning is often defined as learning by doing or “hands-on” learning. In our context, experiential learning encompasses opportunities to gain both technical and non-technical competencies through participation in project teams, undergraduate research, co-op and internships, international experiences, entrepreneurial activities and project-based courses.  

Engineering Communications Program

The most important objective of the Engineering Communications Program (ECP) is to enable undergraduate engineering students to develop strategies for learning to learn how to act effectively and efficiently as communicators. In cooperation with several departments in Cornell Engineering, engineering faculty, various organizations and businesses, even departments outside the college, ECP offers undergraduate students many different options to fulfill the Engineering Communication Requirement (previously called the "Technical Writing Requirement). Each of these options emphasizes learning to learn how to communicate in a very particular context. For example, ECP offers seminar-style courses entirely dedicated to communications instruction. There are Writing-Intensive courses in which communications instruction is offered in a specific discipline. And by participating in the Writing Intensive Co-op, students receive communications instruction integrated with workplace experience.

Engineering Leadership Program

The mission of the Engineering Leadership Program is to grow powerful leaders who take on our world's biggest challenges with knowledge, skill, insight and courage. We achieve this through classes and seminars, supplemental instruction in design courses, the Engineering Leadership Certificate Program, and other means. Because we believe great leadership development engages the heart and the mind, we emphasize empirically derived knowledge combined with personal inquiry and growth.

Engineering Project Teams

Cornell Engineering Project Teams offer students a unique, multifaceted learning opportunity. Entirely led and run by undergraduates, project teams collaboratively solve complex problems while gaining real-world engineering experience. Project team participation complements world-class classroom and laboratory learning, providing students with opportunities to hone leadership and professional skills alongside teammates from across the college and university. Adding depth and a multidisciplinary approach, project teams are comprised of students from diverse academic backgrounds including all engineering disciplines, business, and the arts. Each team is divided into several sub-teams, so beyond sharpening technical skills, students can gain experience and expertise in business, design, marketing, fundraising, education, operations, and logistics. Faculty advisors and a dedicated project team staff provide technical and administrative support to each team and the overall program. Participants can earn academic credit for their work on a project team, which is particularly unique to this program.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

As an active participant in the university-wide Entrepreneurship@Cornell program, Cornell Engineering has a wide range of courses, events, and experiential learning activities designed to help students begin their journey of business creation and success in any engineering discipline.

International Experiences

There are a variety of options available for engineering students interested in studying abroad. Cornell Engineering supports five exchange programs- University of Cantabria, University of Comillas-ICAI, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.  In addition, the Office of Global Learning manages numerous programs for Cornell students. Students should start planning as early as possible -- the first year is not too early to put plans into motion!  Engineering Advising is available help students think through the process.

Research Experiences

Research affords students the opportunity to interact closely with faculty and, in many instances, to develop valuable industry connections. When involved in research, students will also find themselves working with peers who share their passion for learning. Check out an overview of undergraduate research at Cornell and guidance on getting started through the University's central Office of Undergraduate Research. Undergraduate engineering students and their faculty mentors may apply for semester or summer funding awards, administered through Engineering Learning Initiatives, to support undergraduate research engagement. Although some students may receive support through individual faculty research grants or may instead opt to gain academic credit for a research project, the college's Student Grant Program offers an additional source of support. Funds may be used to provide student wages or to cover project expenses.

Simpkins Family COMPASS Program

Cornell Engineering graduates are known for their technical prowess, but employers are often looking for something more. The Simpkins Family COMPASS Program connects first- and second-year students with alumni mentors who provide an experienced engineer's perspective on the teamwork and leadership skills students should develop. Mentorships are structured through a 2-credit course that teaches critical thinking and decision-making tools that help students determine which opportunities to seek and which to forego as they design their undergraduate experience based on their goals, values, and competing interests.