This page is for a previous semester (Fall 2023). Please visit this page to select a more recent semester to find updated details.

The “EN1” course (taken in your first semester at Tufts) is an Introduction to Engineering. There are multiple sections available, offered by different instructors from a variety of different departments and disciplines, all customized to their personal interests and expertise.

Course Description:

Introduction of various concepts in engineering. Emphasis on project work, engineering ethics, and engineering design process. Discipline topic areas vary each term. Limited to first-year students.

Notes for Fall 2023:

– Every fall, Tufts School of Engineering (SoE) offers a selection of EN1: Applications in Engineering Sections. Below are the selection that are being offered in Fall 2023.
– A single document containing all the Fall 2023 EN1 Section Information can be downloaded here. Please reach out to the individual instructors if you have questions regarding details of a particular section of EN1. Otherwise, please reach out to your assigned academic advisor for general academic advice.
– For many of the EN1 sections, there are a few reserved seats for A&S students who are interested in doing an internal transfer into SoE. If you have questions or need additional information, please reach out to the Liberal Arts to Engineering Internal Transfer Advisor.
– If you get on the waitlist for one EN1 section, you can still sign up for another (open) section, and be automatically swapped if you get off the waitlist. This is called a “Future Swap” (Add then Drop) and requires careful implementation in SIS. Follow these instructions to do this properly. Note that a mistake will lose your spot on the waitlist!

Student Perspective of First Year Courses:

Hear from Data Science (DS) Student Ambassador Richard Diamond:

Hear from Mechanical Engineering (ME) Student Ambassador Suely Garcia:

EN1 Sections (Fall 2023):

Section 01: Intro to Renewable Energy (Thomas Vandervelde, ECE)
Section 02: Coffee Engineering (Matthew Panzer and Kyongbum Lee, ChemE)
Section 03: Engineering for the Customer (Eli Cushner, Gordon Institute of Engineering Management)
Section 04: The Craft of Computer Science Research (Soha Hassoun, CS)
Section 05: Critical Thinking in Engineering (and beyond) (Mark Kachanov, ME)
Section 08: Simple Robotics (Ethan Danahy, CS)
Section 09: Community-Centered Engineering (Greses Pérez, CEE)
Section 10: Engineering in the Kitchen (Steven Bell, ECE)
Section 13: Impact of Self-Driving Cars (Harold Miller-Jacobs and James Intriligator, ME/HF)
Section 14: Enhancing Human Movement Capabilities (Felix Huang, ME)
Section 15: Sci-Fi Bioengineering (Nisha Iyer, BME)
Section 16: Bridges and Resilient Cities (Betsy Kirtland, CEE)
Section 17: Frontiers in Reproductive Health Engineering (Juan Gnecco, BME)
Section 18: Exploring Computer Science (Diane Souvaine, CS)

See details about each section and the instructors here.

Section 01: Intro to Renewable Energy

We will examine renewable energy generation technologies with a critical eye; including, the examination of the way the media portrays energy technologies. We will explore the renewable energy technology of today as well as future prospects. We will look at the natural resource requirements of energy systems as well as their environmental and economic impacts. While going off the grid sounds like a great idea, it is a complex problem to be solved. Solar and wind energy sources require a lot of land; additionally, they are not constant with time, and efficient energy storage technology does not exist. Labs will give the student a hands-on sense for the energy generation process and its complexity. (Thomas Vandervelde, Electrical and Computer Engineering)

Section 02: Coffee Engineering

What agricultural commodity is produced at a scale of over 20 billion pounds per year globally? Coffee beans! This course provides an introduction to several (bio)chemical engineering concepts, including: mass and energy balances, process flow diagrams, driving forces for molecular motion, and some organic/physical chemistry, all discussed in the context of coffee production and brewing. Additional topics include: coffee economics, caffeine biology and metabolism, data representation/statistics, and pressure-driven flow. (Matthew Panzer and Kyongbum Lee, Chemical and Biological Engineering)

Section 03: Engineering for the Customer

What do Amazon, Broadway, and Dunkin’ Donuts have in common? They deliver great customer experiences. These experiences are anything but random; they are carefully designed and engineered. Through team projects, class discussions, and guest speakers, we will analyze physical products, user-interfaces, service experiences, and the leadership skills needed to bring it all together. You will leave this course with a mindset and toolset to focus on the customer as you continue your engineering journey at Tufts. (Eli Cushner, Gordon Institute of Engineering Management)

Section 04: The Craft of Computer Science Research

While it might be obvious why we need research in biology or history, Computer Science research is necessary to reinvent the field and to drive discoveries across many disciplines. This course will teach you the foundations of research. Students will work with a faculty mentor and a student group on a research project. Research topics include machine learning, computer security, quantum computing, human-robotics interaction, computational biology, computational geometry, and others. The course will cover topics including identifying and formulating research problems, reading and evaluating research papers, literature searching, self-guided learning, designing research studies, and data analysis. Students will practice working in a team, goal setting, activity logging, and communicating with others. This is a non-coding class. No prior coding or CS experience is required. Student groups are expected to develop a research proposal by the end of the semester and to be well-prepared to participate in future Computer Science research experiences. (Soha Hassoun, Computer Science)

Section 05: Critical Thinking in Engineering (and beyond)

The ability to critically examine issues is important in engineering practice – particularly when controversial issues are involved (such as alternative energy sources, etc.). Its importance stretches beyond engineering: in a democratic society, the opinions of people affect the decision-making process, and these opinions should be based on critical examination of various claims and statements. The course will involve projects whereby students will be required to examine various issues, using internet sources, and make convincing brief presentations. (Mark Kachanov, Mechanical Engineering)

Section 08: Simple Robotics

Introduction to robot construction, programming, event-based programming, artificial intelligence, and elementary controls. Basic principles of robotics for students with minimal or no prior programming/building background. Hands-on projects emphasizing engineering design using a LEGO-based Robotics platform. (Ethan Danahy, Computer Science)

Section 09: Community-Centered Engineering

The goal of engineering is to develop solutions for a diverse population and to do so engineers need to meaningfully engage with the communities they serve. This course offers an experiential opportunity to learn with communities about how engineering starts and ends with people. Students in this course will partner with local K-12 students to engage in engineering design with cross-generational teammates and explore mentorship opportunities. Along the way, students will learn different approaches to understand people and technologies. Through this course, students will use their knowledge to co-design community-relevant engineering activities and products for young students, including games, STEM activities, and other products that focus on the community. Students will develop an understanding of people from different backgrounds and how they interact with engineering design activities. These experiences will prepare them with useful skills for future projects and research experiences, such as working with external partners and transforming ideas into solutions and products through rapid iteration. In learning about who we are as engineers and the communities we interact with, students will explore questions about what it means to be an engineer and who can become one. No prior experience is necessary. (Greses Pérez, Civil and Environmental Engineering)

Section 10: Engineering in the Kitchen

In this course, we will explore engineering through the lens of food and kitchen gadgets. During the semester, we will disassemble every electrified food-preparation device we can get our hands on, learn how they work, and use our newfound skills to build a few of our own. Along the way, you’ll analyze and design basic electrical circuits, program microcontrollers to take measurements and respond to them, log data to answer questions about cooking, and connect the Things you build to the Internet. We’ll also explore some of the complex social and ethical issues at the intersection of technology and food: does a cloud-connected refrigerator make us more efficient, or more lazy, or does it just result in more e-waste? And what responsibility do engineers have when working with something so deeply human as food? (Steven Bell, Electrical and Computer Engineering)

– Section 10 website:

Section 13: Impact of Self-Driving Cars

There is no question about it – Self-Driving Cars will be here; the only dilemma is when! This class will examine all aspects of this coming revolution. We will address the questions of:
– What are the advantages and disadvantages of self-driving cars?
– What are the technologies that will enable this to happen?
– How are the engineering complexities being addressed?
– Who are the key players in the world?
– What impact will this revolution have on our way of life?
– What are the social, ethical, urban, environmental, and legal implications of this revolution?
We will examine these topics through lectures, guest speakers, and student presentations. The aim of the course is to not only examine the engineering principles involved in self-driving cars but to also examine the societal implications as we move forward with this technology. (Harold Miller-Jacobs and James Intriligator, Mechanical Engineering/Human Factors)

Section 14: Enhancing Human Movement Capabilities

This course examines how wearable technology and customized game environments can be designed to improve targeted aspects of human movement skill. Fundamental engineering topics, including dynamics simulation, feedback control, biomechanical models, robot kinematics, are introduced. A final team project features hands-on skills in using sensors and actuators, coding for experiments, and visualizing real-time data. (Felix Huang, Mechanical Engineering)

Section 15: Sci-Fi Bioengineering

Where does science fiction meet biological reality? Using classic and contemporary sci-fi films as a framework for inspiration and discussion, this course will survey the practicalities of once imaginary technologies including gene editing, chimeric animal research, artificial organs, rapid vaccines, neural interfaces, and more. As we dissect fact from fiction, students will grapple with global and interstellar bioengineering challenges, regulations, and ethics as they exist now and may exist in the near future. (Nisha Iyer, Biomedical Engineering)

Section 16: Bridges for Resilient Cities

We will use the semester to understand the interaction of bridge design for resilient cities. Bridges play a significant role in urban design as they connect populations and often provide a significant architectural contribution to the cityscape. As a major component of a transportation network, bridges also play an essential role in creating resilient cities and ensuring that transportation networks remain functional in an emergency. We will study bridges in three major cities to learn about engineering design, city planning, and natural hazards with a focus on the creation of resilient cities. Students will learn the basics of bridge engineering, will be introduced to geospatial mapping, and will learn about what makes communities resilient. (Betsy Kirtland, Civil and Environmental Engineering)

Section 17: Frontiers in Reproductive Health Engineering

Reproductive tissues are some of the most dynamic, multifactorial, and complex systems of the human body and, as such, remain some of the most poorly understood. Frontiers in Reproductive Health Engineering is an introductory course that explores how big picture themes in the discipline of biomedical engineering (BME) can help to demystify, destigmatize and advance the way we understand women’s reproductive health and its diseases. The goal of the course is to expose first year students to both the basic principles of engineering and the fundamentals of the reproductive biology through a series of didactic lectures, group discussions, demos and invited guest speakers that span the current state of technology, the existing needs, and the future of reproductive health. (Juan Gnecco, Biomedical Engineering)

Section 18: Exploring Computer Science

Basic principles of computer science for students with minimal or no prior programming background. Fundamentals of design, coding, and testing computer programs. Fundamental algorithms for sorting and searching. Programming projects employ and demonstrate common algorithms. Projects analyze and visualize data from real applications. This sampling of various topics will give the student a taste of not only what constitutes computer science, but also a deeper understanding of mankind’s most powerful tool. The course will prepare the student to take CS 11 in a subsequent semester, if so desired. Note: Section 18 should NOT be taken in the same semester as CS 11. (Diane Souvaine, Computer Science)

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