First Year Program in Engineering

Start your engineering education off right

Engineering is one of the most challenging—and fascinating!—academic disciplines you may choose to study at Western New England University. To help you succeed as you explore your many options within the field, the College of Engineering has developed a dynamic First Year Program. Driven by our philosophy of innovation from day one, this two-semester program exposes you to our five majors of study through hands-on projects led by full-time faculty.

As a first year engineering undergraduate at Western New England, you will:

Get hands-on experience working on real-world engineering projects

Engineering students at Western New England roll up their sleeves to start acting and thinking like professionals right from the first day, working on product development projects using key engineering tools to help you develop research and analysis skills. This broad view lays the foundation for understanding how the various disciplines within engineering work together in real-world application while also helping you to match your interests and talents with the right major for you.

Work closely with expert faculty instructors and academic advisors

As a first year engineering student, you will spend six hours a week in a supportive, studio-learning environment with our outstanding educators and mentors.

  • The close attention you get from our superb faculty is an important facet of the First Year Program, one that sets Western New England apart from other schools.
  • You won’t be taught by graduate students here.
  • You will be given true engineering experiences, taught by faculty with industrial experience who will engage students and inspire a desire to pursue a career in engineering.
  • Faculty teaching first-year courses means you get to know them, and develop them as mentors, early on.

Take Introduction to Engineering, fall semester

In this hands-on course, you'll gain real engineering experience working on teams on actual design projects.

  • Design and build a Fully Autonomous Multitasking Robot.
  • Learn about engineering design, including energy optimization, good maneuverability, and intelligent sensing of the environment.
  • Pick up skills by learning to solder parts, machine and assemble metal parts, read and implement wiring diagrams, and program a microcontroller using Arduino, an open-source electronics prototyping platform. 
  • Get lots of individual attention and experience: Class sizes are limited and there are only four people to a team.

As you design and build your prototype to compete against other teams, you’ll start to understand the important skills of problem-solving, communication, and teamwork—essential building blocks for a successful career in engineering.

Take Data Acquisition and Processing, spring semester

The skills you’ve learned in the first semester are built on in the second:

  • Conduct experiments that involve the collection and processing of data. 
  • Learn to interpret problem statements and their translation into language that can be understood by software such as MATLAB and LabVIEW.
  • Learn about new-product development by designing and building a smart product to be exhibited at the end of the semester.
  • Design real-world products, such as a smart fish feeder, a window that adjusts its own opening based on either outside weather conditions or indoor/outdoor temperature differences, a dog door that only opens for your dog, or a backpack that beeps if you walk away from something that should be inside, such as a laptop.

These courses challenge you to begin to understand the engineering process, which starts with the essential question, “What is the need?” As you determine how to work toward satisfying that need, you'll begin to look at the world through the eyes of an engineer!

Faculty Advising

The First Year Program features regular advising and mentoring meetings, part of a system designed to smooth student transition from high school to the College of Engineering. These meetings, which begin during the second week of the semester, provide opportunities for advisors to get early feedback about how students are doing and discuss their academic needs and professional goals.

Through its small size and open access to faculty and research facilities, the College of Engineering offers an outstanding engineering education that has enabled our graduates to find success in graduate or professional school, such as medical and law school, and the engineering profession. For these men and women, success in engineering can be traced to having the advantage of a great first year program. Are you ready to join them?

Alumni Mentoring

Western New England is fortunate to have an extremely supportive alumni family. These accomplished engineers, working across a broad spectrum of disciplines, provide crucial support to current engineering students:

  • The Alumni Mentoring Program, which connects alumni with current freshmen to help prepare them for careers in their field, provide networking opportunities, and offer guidance for the all-important first job search.
  • Alumni Panels through which groups of alumni provide student audiences with personal insights into careers in engineering.
  • Alumni Day is held each April and offers alumni an opportunity to speak to engineering classes about their profession and gather with students and faculty for lunch.
  • The Engineering Symposium—held on the Western New England University campus, this annual event includes alumni and industrial presenters who discuss current trends affecting the field of engineering.
  • Internships—students gain added value from these experiences when the participating sponsor is also an alumnus of Western New England University.