First-Year Students
Engineering First® Coursework

McCormick’s innovative core curriculum for first year students, Engineering First provides the fundamentals of a successful engineering education and lets you experience real engineering early in your undergraduate career.

Course Sequence

Engineering First® consists of six specific courses:

  • four in Engineering Analysis (EA)
  • two in Design Thinking and Communication (DTC)

These six courses are required for all undergraduate McCormick students. They are generally taken according to the schedule below:

Freshman Year

  • Fall quarter: EA1 and (if not taken in the winter) DTC1
  • Winter quarter: EA2 and (if not taken in the fall) DTC1
  • Spring quarter: EA3 and DTC2

Sophomore Year

  • Fall quarter: EA4

Certain students, including dual degree students and students taking language courses their freshmen year, may find it beneficial to take DTC their sophomore year.

Engineering Analysis

Engineering Analysis is a series of four courses integrating math, science, and programming. The specific areas covered are:

  • linear algebra
  • engineering mechanics
  • physics
  • differential equations
  • MATLAB programming

Each course is an integration of these topics with engineering applications. MATLAB is used throughout the sequence.

Design Thinking and Communication (DTC)

This sequence gives freshmen an early start on the concepts of design thinking and human-centered design. Offered in the fall, winter, and spring quarters, this two-part course immediately puts students to work on real design problems submitted by individuals, non-profits, entrepreneurs, and industry members.

In DTC, all students design for real people and communicate to real audiences.

Students may take on a DTC project outside of their major, enabling them to explore different fields.

The faculty, which come from both McCormick and the Writing Program at Northwestern, guide the students through the design process and teach them important project management skills.

Learn more about the DTC curriculum