Mechanics in the Engineering First curriculum at northwestern university

T. Belytschko*, A. Bayliss, C. Brinson, S. Carr, W. Kath, S. Krishnaswamy, B. Moran, J. Nocedal, M. Peshkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


A new core curriculum, Engineering First, has been developed at Northwestern University which integrates a subset of mathematics and science with engineering. The topics chosen for integration in the course are those which most closely relate mathematics to the computer solution of engineering problems: linear algebra and ordinary differential equations. The science of mechanics is emphasized, although other areas such as circuits and communication networks are also considered. The analytical topics are taught in a four course sequence called Engineering Analysis, which begins with the first quarter of the freshman year. The familiarization of students with computer methods in these courses enables us to introduce them in the freshman year to design analysis: the selection of design parameters by analysis. The sequence is currently being taught in a pilot version to 80 students; pre-pilots were taught last year. A program of evaluation has been developed and early results are very favorable. Next year the sequence will be taught to all freshmen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-472
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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