Engineering (pre-professional)

Central’s dual-degree engineering program is an excellent way to obtain both a liberal arts degree at Central in a small classroom setting taught by faculty devoted to their teaching and an engineering degree at one of the nation’s prominent engineering institutions. A broad background in science and mathematics, as well as our emphasis on communication skills, helps students to establish themselves as thoughtful, creative and productive engineers. 

Central's dual-degree engineering program leads to a B.A. with a science major from Central and a B.S. in engineering from Washington University-St. Louis, the University of Iowa or Iowa State University. Students may also continue directly to graduate school to study engineering at various universities across the nation. Central’s pre-engineering program has a great reputation with engineering graduate schools that know our students are very well prepared and will be successful.

of graduates are admitted into their first- or second-choice engineering grad school
  • 92% of students pursuing summer professional experiences participate in one or more engineering internships or research programs
  • 84% of alums enter top engineering grad schools within one year

The Real World


Successful Careers

  • Mechanical engineer, Black & Veatch, Overland Park, Kan.
  • Transmission line design engineer, POWER Engineers, Inc., Seattle, Wash.
  • Technical sales engineer, TIG Distributing, Marshalltown
  • Civil engineer, Burns & McDonnell, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Audio development engineer, Shure, Inc., Evanston, Ill.
  • Software engineer, Garmin International, Olathe, Kan.
  • Manufacturing engineer, Deere & Co., Des Moines
  • Planning engineer, MidAmerican Energy Co., Davenport


  • Physics Club
  • Chemistry Club
  • SCATE (Students Concerned About The Environment)
Central College student

Graduate Placement

  • Iowa State Univ., mechanical engineering
  • Univ. of Notre Dame, aerospace engineering
  • Univ. of Oklahoma, structural engineering
  • Iowa State Univ., materials science and engineering
  • Oregon State Univ., electrical engineering
  • The Univ. of Iowa, civil engineering
  • Iowa State Univ., agricultural engineering
  • Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, chemical engineering


  • JFSCO Engineering, Red Oak
  • Mechanical engineering department, Iowa State Univ., Ames
  • Civil and environmental engineering department, Washington State Univ., Pullman, Wash.
  • Van Gorp Manufacturing Co., Pella
  • Hon Company, Muscatine
  • Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station, Fort Calhoun, Neb.
  • Musco Sports Lighting, Oskaloosa

Courses & Faculty

Students in the dual-degree engineering program choose a science major closely aligned with an engineering field of interest—physics, chemistry, mathematics or computer science.  The chosen major is often supplemented by additional courses related to the engineering field of interest. Students benefit from the one-on-one attention provided by faculty devoted to teaching and working with students.

Students enroll at one of the cooperating engineering institutions after three years of full-time study at Central. Upon completion of one year of engineering studies at the cooperating institution, appropriate credits are then transferred back to Central so the student graduates with a B.A. degree from Central. Central graduates then earn a B.S. in engineering after one or two additional years of engineering study at the cooperating institutions.

Alternatively, the student can earn a bachelor’s degree in science from Central after four years and continue directly to graduate school to study engineering on the graduate level at various universities across the nation.

Meet the faculty:
  • Viktor Martisovits, RNDr., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics
  • Alexey Pronin, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics, interest areas include quantum field theory, Standard Model of elementary particles and its extensions: neutrino oscillations, masses and mixing angles, sterile neutrinos, supersymmetry, grand unified theories


Engineering (pre-professional) photo

Sample Schedule

First year
  • General Physics I with lab
  • General Physics II with lab
  • Calculus I
  • Calculus II
Sophomore year
  • Modern Physics I
  • Electronics with lab
  • Multivariable Calculus
  • Differential Equations
Junior year
  • Analytical Mechanics
  • Optics
  • Modern Physics II
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • General Chemistry with lab
Senior year
  • Thermodynamics
  • Electricity and Magnetism I
  • Electricity and Magnetism II
  • Advanced physics laboratories I
  • Advanced physics laboratories II

The Central Difference


Central’s Vermeer Science Center was awarded the silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the United States Green Building Council, the first LEED-rated building in the state. Students have direct access to classrooms and laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation and equipment to support coursework, independent studies and research projects with faculty. 

A lab for the electronics course allows students to experiment with a variety of analog and digital circuits, and even build microcomputers. The advanced labs support a large variety of experiments including cloud chamber, Cavendish balance, laser optics, bomb calorimeter, Compton Effect, photoelectric effect, radioisotopes, Michelson interferometer and optical pyrometer. The pre-engineering program is also supported by a mechanical shop with a mill, lathe and welding equipment.

Support for Student Research

Funding for student research in engineering is made possible through the Arthur J. Bosch Endowment for Student Research, which supports collaborative research projects with faculty and alumni. Faculty provide students with many research and professional development opportunities including working alongside professors as student instructors and/or teaching assistants to enhance the learning experience of underclassmen.

Faculty also provide letters of recommendation that make a vital difference in acceptance into summer engineering research/internship programs and graduate engineering programs.

Research Opportunities

The Central physics department is licensed by the state of Iowa to own and use a plutonium-beryllium neutron source and a cesium gamma-ray source for experiments in atomic and nuclear physics. The on-campus observatory with an 11-inch reflector telescope allows students to observe planets, stars and other celestial objects.

Students can use an X-ray diffractometer and a high-vacuum system with a mass spectrometer to conduct additional research projects.

Career Counseling

Staff at the Career Center can provide guidance to help students identify career options in the engineering field.

The Career Center offers assistance with finding and applying for internships and summer opportunities, including specific internship programs in Chicago and Washington, D.C., help with graduate school essays and related application materials, career mentoring through the use of a database of Central alumni in a wide variety of engineering careers and an annual graduate school conference with representatives from regional universities and presentations about success in graduate school.

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to study abroad with one of Central’s international programs to enhance their development as global citizens, or with partner programs in Chicago, Washington, D.C. or New York City. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.

Central Pre-Engineering students

Learn More

Want to find out more about engineering (pre-professional) at Central? Contact us to learn more about this major and our other strong academic programs. Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.