Pre-Engineering Program

What is the pre-engineering program?

The pre-engineering program at the University of Montana is a two year program that helps students determine if they are interested in engineering and prepares them to transfer to a University with an accredited engineering program.  The program focuses on developing a fundamental knowledge of physics, chemistry, and mathematics.  In addition, students take classes in English, communication, the social sciences, and humanities.  Students in the pre-engineering program can transfer to a University of their choice, but the program has been designed as a 2 + 2 program between the University of Montana and Montana Tech.

What is the 2 + 2 program between the University of Montana and Montana Tech?

This is a four year degree program where students spend two years at the University of Montana in Missoula and two years at Montana Tech in Butte to complete their engineering degree.  If a student does not meet all of the prerequisites before starting the program or chooses to take fewer than the recommended number of courses per semester, it may take longer for them to complete their degree in engineering.

What are the different types of engineering?

There are over 20 recognized fields of engineering, and within each field there can be many sub-disciplines. These include: aerospace, agricultural, biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, environmental, industrial, marine, materials, mechanical, mining and mineral, nuclear, and petroleum engineering.  A good source for information about the different disciplines, nature of the work, employment outlook, and salaries is the US Department of Labor web site.

Who are Engineers?

An engineer is a person who has a good grasp of fundamental physical and chemical principals and mathematics that they apply to design, develop, test, and produce products and services.  In short Engineers are problem solvers that consider efficiency, cost, reliability, and safety when conducting their work.  Creativity is a skill that is important in a competitive world, and the ability to generate ideas is as important as the ability to do real detailed calculations. What you do as an engineer affects other people, therefore, it is essential for engineers to develop good communication skills. People live and work in the buildings designed by engineers, they drive on the freeways, and they use appliances, computers, phones, and an endless list of other devices.  An engineer can design the best coating for an electronics chip, but if they can not communicate their ideas verbally, in writing, and through calculations it will be difficult to see the idea realized.

What course load should a pre-engineering student take per semester?

The number of credit hours that a student should take each semester is based on their own personal circumstances, including the number of hours per week they work and family obligations. In general, for science and engineering classes, it should be assumed that a student will spend 3-4 hours/credit hour/week in class, studying, and solving homework problems. For example, if a student takes 12 credit hours, that is the equivalent of 36 to 48 hours/week. Therefore, for this example it would not be recommended for the student to work more than half time. A student who is working full time should limit their course load to one or two classes per semester.

Regarding specific courses students might select, there are courses spread across several departments which can be useful for pre-engineering students.  For a list of recommended pre-engineering courses students can take while at UM, please refer to the following:

If planning to transfer to Montana Tech, see Pre-Engineering Courses: Transfer to MT Tech.

If planning to transfer to Montana State, see Pre-Engineering Courses: Transfer to MSU.