This page is for a previous semester (Fall 2021). 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 2021:

  • Every fall, Tufts School of Engineering (SoE) offers a selection of EN1: Introduction to Engineering Sections. Below are the selection that are being offered in Fall 2021.
  • For Fall 2021, courses are still being offered in in-person, hybrid, or virtual formats.
    • 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, if on-campus students are in quarantine, instructors of in-person courses will make content available to them.
    • 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.
    • Virtual means: all class activities will be online only; all students (fully remote students and on-campus students) can register and complete the course.
  • A single document containing all the Fall 2021 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.


Section 01: Intro to Renewable Energy (Thomas Vandervelde, Electrical/Computer)
Section 02: Engineering in the Kitchen (Steven Bell, Electrical/Computer)
Section 03: Electricity Inside You (Joel Grodstein, Electrical/Computer)
Section 04: Climate Change Engineering (John Durant, Civil/Environmental)
Section 05: Innovation in Biomedical Engineering (David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto, Biomedical)
Section 06: Bridges for Resilient Cities (Betsy Kirtland, Civil/Environmental)
Section 08: Simple Robotics (Ethan Danahy, Computer Science)
Section 10: Coffee Engineering (Matthew Panzer, Chemical/Biological)
Section 13: Impact of Self-Driving Cars (Hal Miller-Jacobs and James Intriligator, Mechanical/Human Factors)
Section 15: Biomechanics (Hoda Koushyar, Mechanical)
Section 17: Engineering for the Customer (Eli Cushner, Engineering Management)

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: 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 website:

Section 03: Electricity Inside You

Forget the Terminator – we ordinary humans are already electrically powered! In this course, we’ll learn what bioelectricity is. We’ll learn its applications to medicine, both today (pacemakers, electrical pain relief and more) and in the potential future (regenerative medicine). Mainly, we’ll spend lots of time building and programming embedded-computing hardware that acts as bioelectrically-controlled prosthetics, cardiac monitors, and more. (Joel Grodstein, Electrical and Computer Engineering)

Section website:

Section 04: Climate Change Engineering

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. (John Durant, Civil and Environmental Engineering)

Section 05: Innovation in Biomedical Engineering

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. (David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto, Biomedical Engineering)

Section 06: 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 engineering design of bridges and will access and map geospatial terrains. (Betsy Kirtland, Civil and Environmental 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 10: 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, Chemical and Biological Engineering)

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?

(Hal Miller-Jacobs and James Intriligator, Mechanical Engineering and Human Factors)

Section 15: Biomechanics

We start with an introduction to skeletal and muscular anatomy of human body. We will then overview tools and techniques to evaluate human body performance through in-class hands-on experiments including measurement of muscle strength, muscle fatigue, balance, and analyzing movements through motion capture. We will also discuss applications of biomechanics in sports, rehabilitation, and assistive technology and do a group project to design, build, and evaluate an assistive device. (Hoda Koushyar, Mechanical Engineering)

Section 17: 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, Tufts Gordon Institute for Engineering Management)

Quick Links: