Skip to content
Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions


Cornell Engineering Experience

Dates: June 24-August 8, 2017 (6 weeks)
Credits: 6-8 credits
Eligibility: current juniors, seniors
(see eligibility requirements)
Apply by: May 5, 2017


Are you excited by math and science? Do you want to improve the world? Would you like to envision and implement solutions to the important challenges of our time? If so, we invite you to Cornell this summer to explore diverse and exciting career opportunities in the practice of engineering.

In this six-week program, offered in collaboration with Cornell's distinguished College of Engineering and taught by R. Bruce van Dover, you'll enroll in the three-credit course Exploration in Engineering (ENGRG 1060).

In addition to ENGRG 1060, you'll expand and tailor your experience by enrolling in one or two additional courses from the more than fifty on this website. You may choose a course in a field such as computer science, math, biology, or physics to complement the main engineering class or broaden your studies by selecting a course in an area such as art, economics, or even psychology.

During ENGRG 1060's laboratories, design experiences, and lectures, you'll learn about a wide range of traditional and emerging engineering developments presented by designers and researchers active in fields such as:

  • mechanical, aerospace, electrical, and civil engineering
  • material science, engineering physics, and earth science
  • chemical, biological, biomedical, and environmental engineering
  • computer science, operations research, systems, and information engineering

In the lab you’ll focus on basic energy-related exercises, such as measuring the output of photovoltaic cells and constructing a basic fuel cell.

In the design experience you will team up with fellow students to solve a challenge that brings together aspects of design and technology drawn from several engineering fields. Through this project you'll expand your engineering knowledge, gain insight into the engineering design process, and maybe even begin to develop an idea with marketable value. In addition, you’ll experience the synergy of collaborating with your peers and Cornell engineering student mentors in the creative process.

During the term you will also have the opportunity to tour the College of Engineering, meet with representatives from the College of Engineering's admissions office, and visit a cutting-edge facility such as Cornell's Nanofabrication Facility, the Center for High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS), the Nanobiotechnology Center, the Center for Materials Research, or the co-generation power plant, as scheduling permits.

Challenge yourself and discover whether an engineering career might open up virtually unlimited and exciting possibilities for your future!

Course expectations

By the end of the course, students will:

  • understand what engineering is, how it is practiced, and the scope of specific fields;
  • understand the career roles that exist within the engineering profession;
  • understand the systems design process followed by all successful engineered product development efforts; and
  • develop written and oral communication skills.


You'll be enrolled in the three-credit course Exploration in Engineering Seminar (ENGRG 1060).

This course meets Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:30-5:00 p.m., with labs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays, 1:00-4:30 p.m.

Maximum enrollment: 99

In addition, you’ll select one or two additional courses (totaling no more than 8 credits) from the more than fifty on this website (see the six-week course roster).


Completion of a pre-calculus or calculus mathematics course as well as a course in chemistry or physics are helpful, but a strong interest and motivation to develop further your creative abilities and effective team-work skills are the most important prerequisites for the Exploration in Engineering Seminar.

Required textbook and materials

Title Author Cost
Engineering Your Future: Comprehensive, 8th Edition William C. Oakes and Les L. Leon $TBD
Engineering: A Very Short Introduction David Blockley $0

Oxford University Press will bundle these books at the price of the first book only; this bundle will be available only at The Cornell Store.

  • A scientific calculator that includes at least trig, log, and exponential functions
  • An i>clicker, new or used*

*The i>clicker is a radio frequency device that allows students to respond to questions the instructor poses in class. Information about using i>clickers is available from Cornell Information Technologies.

The textbooks and other items listed above will be available at The Cornell Store.

Special scheduling


  • Tuesday, July 4: In observance of Independence Day, we will not have classes.
  • Mondays, July 10 or 17: College Admissions Workshops, 2:30–3:45 p.m.
  • Monday, July 24: College Fair, 4:00–6:00 p.m., Statler Hall Ballroom

Checkout dates and times

Before making travel plans, review the checkout dates and times for your program. We strictly adhere to these deadlines.

Program director

R. Bruce van Dover

After earning a BS in electrical engineering/engineering physics from Princeton University and a PhD in applied physics from Stanford University, R. Bruce van Dover joined Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, where he conducted research in the science and technology of superconducting, magnetic, and electronic materials and devices. He is a co-inventor of an important high-temperature superconductor.

In 2002 van Dover joined Cornell University as a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering to more fully engage his interest in undergraduate and graduate education.

Van Dover has produced more than 300 research publications, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles and holds sixty-nine U.S. and international patents. He has lectured on these materials in Europe and Asia and at many U.S. universities.

Van Dover is a senior member of the IEEE, a fellow of the American Physical Society, and chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

"Engineering demands a unique mix of inspired creativity balanced with technical rigor and critical analysis. Engineers figure out how things work and use scientific discoveries to create innovative solutions to practical problems. They cover the spectrum from design and evaluation to testing and maintenance.

"Engineering is an activity that is as broad as the range of human endeavor, and engineers acquire valuable skills that can be applied anywhere. For me, the greatest thrills have come from working on projects that have the potential to make a positive difference in how we live. Students should realize that, as engineers, they can change the world."
—R. Bruce van Dover

Student experiences

"Exploring engineering was a new experience; I have never taken a course like this. It was challenging, but I was able to apply my knowledge of chemistry, physics, and math. I felt comfortable, but very challenged. It was a good feeling." — Claire Boyan, 2016

"I realized the importance of teamwork and learned to ask for help from others. Also, by cooperating with others, I extended my social network and made friends from different countries with different cultural background, which was really a valuable experience." — Yao Yao, 2016

"My professor was very relaxed and made the course very enjoyable. He was also very knowledge and passionate about energy issues." — Sophia Arzumanov, 2016

"This course brought teams of students together to create a product, which required each member to be able to communicate and work with a variety of people from different backgrounds. The coursework was challenging, yet rewarding; I was able to learn new material and see exactly how it could be applied in the real world." — Anthony Mangiacapra, 2015

"One of my goals was to ensure that I would like engineering as a major and a career in the future. This class reinforced my plan that I should pursue engineering. " — Evan Kumar, 2015

"I learned a lot about all the different types of engineers there are out there in the world, and it furthered my desire to become one. My professors were there for me every step of the way. This has been the best summer of my life and I will never forget it." — Jordan Dykman

"I gained a better understanding of engineering, college-level course work, Cornell University, and campus life, and I met new people. Industrial and mechanical engineering were my favorites from the program. All of my professors were interesting and knew a lot about their subjects." — Mackenzie Sorem

"Summer College really helped me decide that I want to be involved in engineering. I have found that there are a lot of ways to combine my interests in both electronics and chemistry from lectures during the program." — Michael Hankowsky

Student blogs