First-Year Exploration

Currently enrolled Harvard College students are encouraged to explore their potential interests in Mechanical Engineering by meeting with Christopher Lombardo (Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering).

The sample schedules below show a typical path through the first two-years for a preconcentrator interested in MechE.  These sample schedules are provided as a guiding example, and students may decide on an alternate path. We strongly recommend that students interested in any of the engineering areas begin taking mathematics in their first semester and plan to complete their math, chemistry, and physics requirements within the first two years.  Leading up to a declaration of the Mechanical Engineering during the sophomore year, students will work with concentration advisers to construct an individual degree program that matches their specific interests within MechE while simultaneously fulfilling all of the concentration requirements.

First-Year Fall

Foundational Math 

ES 51 or CS 50


First-Year Spring

Foundational Math

ES 51 (if needed) or ES 54


Sophomore Fall

Foundational Math (if needed)


CS 50 (if needed)

Sophomore Spring

Foundational Math (if needed)

Physics (if needed)

ES 54 (if needed)

ES 120

Tips for MechE students:

  • MechE students should complete ES 51 by sophomore fall
  • Almost all MechE students take ES 120 in sophomore spring

Frequently asked questions

Where do I start?
  • Start taking math (according to placement) and science in your first year
  • Talk to a concentration advisor (ADUS) in any of our fields to chat about your options

  • Take one of our introductory courses 

  • Join a SEAS club (HCES, EWB, HURC, etc...)

What math should I start in?

Students should start math freshman fall according to their placement (i.e., start at Math Ma, 1a, 1b, or Math/AM 21a) and continue each semester until completion of the 21a/b series, which is required of all students. SB students starting in Math 1b and beyond will need to take additional advanced math courses beyond foundational math.

What’s the difference between Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) and Bachelor of Science (S.B.)?
  • SB: 20 courses, engineering design courses, including individual capstone design project in ES100 (this is a required thesis), ABET-accredited (for professional licensure)
  • AB: 14-16 courses, more flexible requirements, can do research thesis, can do joint concentration
How can I get involved in research?
  • Term-time: SEAS labs welcome undergraduates to work on research projects during the term

    • Can do research for credit with an ES 91r

  • During summer: Students regularly join SEAS labs with funding through PRISE, HCRP, HUCE

    • Many students participate in research at other universities through NSF REU programs

What kinds of internships can I do?
  • Research internships are available through SEAS and national labs. See above.

  • Industry internships are available and can be found by attending SEAS career fairs or talking to the SEAS Experiential Learning Director, Keith Karasek (