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A New Partnership with Northern Illinois University Offers Wheaton College Engineering Students “the Best of Both Worlds”

April 24, 2019

A new partnership offers engineering students the ability to graduate with a Wheaton College B.A. and a Northern Illinois University B.S.

380x253 Meyer Science Center Exterior at Wheaton College IL With the 3-2 Transfer Program, engineering students can get a strong liberal arts education at Wheaton College and a Bachelor of Science in an engineering specialty at Northern Illinois University (NIU), all in just five years. “It’s the best of both worlds,” said Jeff Yoder, the engineering program coordinator at Wheaton College.

“Having worked with engineers at AT&T and Microsoft, I have seen first-hand the importance of a liberal arts education for engineers who advance into leadership roles in their organizations,” said Wheaton College Provost Dr. Margaret Diddams. “I am pleased that this partnership will provide the best in a Christ-centered, broad-based liberal arts education coupled with the first-rate facilities and engineering faculty of NIU.”

For the first three years of their college experience, Wheaton College students take courses at Wheaton, including their engineering prerequisites. They can then apply to NIU and finish the remaining two years there, completing a Bachelor of Science in a specialty such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or industrial and systems engineering.

While taking classes at NIU, students can continue to live on Wheaton College’s campus. When they graduate, they have earned two diplomas—one from Wheaton College and one from the ABET-accredited NIU. Additionally, they can also choose to extend their studies and complete an integrated master’s degree at NIU.

Wheaton College has sought engineering partnerships like this one since 1971, but the formal relationships the college currently maintains are with the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), the College of DuPage (COD) and now NIU. “The partnership with NIU gives students more options,” according to Yoder.

Throughout the years, Wheaton has seen pretty consistent growth in the number of engineering graduates at the College. In the past five years, 37 engineering students have graduated from the 3-2 Transfer Program. What’s more is that they’re equipped to take jobs out in the marketplace.

“When students leave here, they feel prepared and they’re ready to compete with anybody in any place,” Yoder said.—Emily Bratcher