This page is for a previous semester (Fall 2020). Please visit this page to select a more recent semester to find updated details.


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 2020:

  • Every fall, Tufts School of Engineering (SoE) offers a selection of EN1: Introduction to Engineering Courses. Below are the selection that are being offered in Fall 2020.
  • For Fall 2020, courses are virtual, hybrid, or in-person in nature.
    • Virtual means: all class activities will be online only; all students (fully remote students and on-campus students) can register and complete the course.
    • Hybrid means: the class will have both virtual components and in-person opportunities required of those students who are on campus; all students (fully remote students and on-campus students) can register and complete the course.
    • In-Person means: generally, fully remote students cannot register for this course (in some instances, instructors have discretion for allowing fully remote students to register); on-campus students can register and complete this course. Note that instructors of in-person courses will offer content to on-campus students that are in quarantine.
  • A single document containing all the 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 SoE advisor for general academic advice.


Section 01: Intro to Computational Design (Soha Hassoun, CS)
Section 03: Intro to Renewable Energy (Thomas Vandervelde, ECE)
Section 04: Simple Robotics (Ethan Danahy, CS)
Section 05: Innovation in Biomedical Eng (David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto, BME)
Section 09: Climate Change Engineering (John Durant, CEE)
Section 10: Coffee Engineering (Kyongbum Lee and Matthew Panzer, CBE)
Section 11: Civil Infrastructure (Chris Swan, CEE)
Section 12: Bridges for Resilient Cities (Betsy Kirtland and Laurie Baise, CEE)
Section 13: Impact of Self-Driving Cars (Harold Miller-Jacobs and James Intriligator, ME/HF)
Section 14: Inventing Smart Toys for Kids (Briana Bouchard, ME)
Section 17: Engineering in Crises (Daniele Lantagne, CEE)
Section 24: Engineering in the Kitchen (Steven Bell, ECE)

EN1 Section Schedule Fall 2020
EN1 Sections for Fall 2020

Section 01: Introduction to Computational Design

Department: Computer Science
Instructor: Soha Hassoun
Lecture Class Times: Mo, We 1:30PM – 2:45PM (Virtual)
Note: Students must also register for one lab session
Lab Option #1: Monday, 3:00PM – 4:15PM (Virtual)
Lab Option #2: Tuesday, 3:00PM – 4:15PM (Virtual)

With the availability of increased computing power, many engineering disciplines now rely on utilizing computation to explore different design options. We will learn how that is done: how to model a problem with math and how to use computers to optimize a product using that model. We’ll optimize all sorts of products from different disciplines. We will learn to program in MATLAB, and then use it to learn fundamental concepts such as a solution space, design-decision variables, constraints, optimal points within the design space and searching a design space using efficient algorithms.

Section 03: Introduction to Renewable Energy

Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering
Instructor: Thomas Vandervelde
Class Times: Tu, Th 1:30PM – 2:45PM (Hybrid)

We will examine renewable energy generation technologies with a critical eye; including, the examination of the way the media portrays energy technologies. 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. 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. Labs will give the student a hands-on sense for the energy generation process and its complexity.

Section 04: Simple Robotics

Department: Computer Science
Instructor: Ethan Danahy
Class Times: Tu, Th 12:00PM – 1:15PM (In-Person)
Note: Students must also register for lab on Fr 12:00PM – 1:15PM

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.

Section 05: Innovation in Biomedical Engineering

Department: Biomedical Engineering
Instructors: David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto
Class Times: Tu, Th 9:00AM – 10:15AM (In Person)

The course focuses on current topics in biomedical engineering related to the discipline, perspectives on technology impact in society, and concepts and problem-solving teamwork by the students. The goal is to utilize big picture themes to gain insight into the current state of technology related to human health and well-being in the future. Primary goals are 1) to expose students to science and technology involved in the field of biomedical engineering, 2) to look into the future with problem solving and impact on human health and society; and 3) to work in teams to challenge limitations and future opportunities empowered by the field of biomedical engineering.

Section 09: Climate Change Engineering

Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Instructor: John Durant
Class Times: Mo, We 3:00PM – 4:15PM (In Person)

Climate change is one the great environmental challenges of our times. The central question is this: can we slow the rate of climate change enough to give emerging solutions a chance to be effective? This course examines the role of engineering and technology in both contributing to and mitigating climate change and its effects. Coverage will be given to fossil fuel combustion, energy consumption, greenhouse gas generation and accumulation in the atmosphere, alternative fuels, energy efficiency, carbon sequestration, climate geoengineering, sea level rise, coastal armoring and retreating as well as other topics. The goal of this course is to introduce the process of engineering design as applied to climate change – from problem definition to consideration of alternative solutions to the design and implementation of specific technologies. Broad exposure is given to the interdisciplinary nature of the problem and potential engineering solutions.

Section 10: Coffee Engineering

Department: Chemical and Biological Engineering
Instructors: Kyongbum Lee and Matthew Panzer
Class Times: Tu, Th 1:30PM – 2:45PM (Hybrid)

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.

Section 11: Civil Infrastructure

Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Instructor: Chris Swan
Class Times: Mo, We 1:30PM – 2:45PM (Hybrid)

An introduction to civil infrastructure with a focus on its transportation, water, energy and waste management components. Both technical and professional aspects of these components will be explored. In addition, the “entrepreneurial mindset”, via elements of the Lean Start-up process, will be used to explore how innovations in civil infrastructure can be developed and implemented. This ‘mindset’ may provide a more effective alternative in conceptualizing infrastructure (re)development. Though technical content and entrepreneurship are emphasized, the course also explores ethical issues and broader impacts of civil infrastructure with an emphasis on the political and social justice aspects in current solutions.

Section 12: Bridges for Resilient Cities

Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Instructor: Betsy Kirtland and Laurie Baise
Class Times: Tu, Th 6:00PM – 7:15PM (In Person)

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 engineering design of bridges and will access and map geospatial terrains.

Section 13: Impact of Self-Driving Cars

Department: Mechanical Engineering/Human Factors
Instructors: Harold Miller-Jacobs and James Intriligator
Class Times: Tu, Th 1:30PM – 2:45PM (Hybrid)

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?

Section 14: Inventing Smart Toys for Kids

Department: Mechanical Engineering
Instructor: Briana Bouchard
Class Times: Mo, We 12:00PM – 1:15PM (Hybrid)

We will spend the semester learning how to leverage the Internet of Things to create toys for kids. Our goal is to make sure all students leave the class understanding how to see the world through the eyes of children, be able to design something using smart technologies that children will find compelling, be able to build it and then understand how to commercialize it. We will also address ethical issues around toy design and highlight the different engineering disciplines required to successfully develop the toy.

Section 17: Engineering in Crises

Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Instructor: Daniele Lantagne
Class Times: Mo, We 1:30PM – 2:45PM (Hybrid)

Emergencies – including national disasters, conflict, and outbreaks – are currently increasing worldwide. In this course, we will examine the role of engineering in 3-4 case study emergencies, potentially including the Haiti earthquake/cholera outbreak, the Fukushima earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster, hurricanes in the United States, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, wildfires worldwide, and/or (pending student interest and comfort) the current COVID-19 pandemic. Each case study will begin with an introduction, then technical engineering concepts, then a culminating project or activity.

Section 24: Engineering in the Kitchen

Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering
Instructor: Steven Bell
Class Times: Tu, Th 12:00PM – 1:15PM (In Person)

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?