Revolutionizing Engineering Education

Olin College prepares students to become exemplary engineering innovators who recognize needs, design solutions and engage in creative enterprises for the good of the world. The idea for Olin goes back nearly two decades, when the National Science Foundation and leaders of the engineering community began urging fundamental reforms in engineering education, including more emphasis on entrepreneurship, teamwork, and communication. The F.W. Olin Foundation took up the challenge and created a new undergraduate engineering college, bringing together some of the best minds and the best ideas in engineering education to develop Olin's hands-on, interdisciplinary program emphasizing design thinking and geared toward producing engineering innovators. 

The Olin Curriculum: People-Centered, Hands-On, and Interdisciplinary

The Olin Curriculum is based on the idea that engineering starts with people--understanding who we're designing for, what they value, and where there are areas of opportunity--and ends with people--understanding the social context of our work and how to get solutions out of the lab and into the real world. 

Olin's approach to engineering education contrasts with how engineers are traditionally educated. At most schools, students spend the first semesters--sometimes years--taking prerequisites in math and science before they get to do any engineering. At Olin, students start engineering in context right away, with three classes in the first semester that provide hands-on experience in several areas of engineering and the development of critical thinking and communication skills. As they progress through the curriculum, students tackle projects of increasing complexity that prepare them for the global challenges they will face as graduates. Students work collaboratively with faculty and other students on projects connected to real-world problems. 

The curriculum at Olin provides depth in software, electronics, and mechanical systems across all majors. In addition to developing these technical competencies valued by industry leaders, students spend time immersed in the context of engineering through courses in the arts, humanities, social sciences and entrepreneurship.

Majors at Olin

Olin's degree programs are designed to complement the common academic experiences of Olin students  with specialization and technical depth. Olin offers ABET-accredited degrees in Mechanical Engineering (ME), Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), and Engineering (E), a flexible degree program that lets students choose or create their own concentration. Popular areas of concentration include BioEngineering, Computing, Robotics, and Design.

Residence Life

Olin’s tight-knit, caring community is made up of approximately 350 students who live and work together on campus. All Olin students are guaranteed housing in the on-campus residence halls. Collaborative work and play take place all over the campus, and students can often be found working together on projects or just hanging out together in the residence hall lounges and kitchens, the library, and the dining hall. Resident Resources (R2s) are Olin's version of the Resident Assistant (RA). R2s are not like police patrolling the halls; they support students in need, offer a sympathetic ear, and help them plan ahead to prevent stressful situations. We encourage you to learn more here

Extracurricular Life

Learning happens everywhere at Olin, and the Student Affairs and Resources (StAR) office aims to create a seamless learning environment for Olin students called the Learning Continuum.

Student clubs and organizations are ubiquitous throughout the Olin campus. Whether students are interested in spinning fire, building an electric go-kart, acting in a play, or playing soccer, Olin supports and funds a wide range of passions and interests. It's easy to start a club or plan an event at Olin: all you need to do is fill out a club charter and get the support of three other students, and you have a club!

Students can also pursue interests outside of their curriculum through the Passionate Pursuits program. In this program, Olin provides funding to individuals or groups of students to pursue a project they are passionate about. Students at Olin have done Passionate Pursuit projects in everything from aquaponics to sushi-making.

Co-Curriculars are non-credit courses led by faculty and staff members, where students can learn a skill or explore an interesting topic outside of the Olin curriculum. Past co-curriculars have included beekeeping, making pickles and jams, and a couch-to-5k running program.



Admission Website

Please visit the Olin Admission Website for the most up-to-date information, including important updates and changes for the 2020-21 Admission Cycle.

Deadline Information

  • Application Deadline: January 1
  • Candidate Status Notification: Early February
  • Candidates' Weekends: Late February and Early March
  • Admission Decision: Late March
  • Student Reply Date: May 1

Candidates' Weekends

Olin’s application process is unique; after reviewing applications, we invite about 225-250 applicants to participate in Candidates’ Weekends. This is an opportunity for both Olin to learn more about applicants, and for applicants to learn more about the Olin community, curriculum and culture. All applicants who reach the second phase of the process are required to participate in Candidates’ Weekends, as the information gleaned provides the basis for final admission decisions.

Historically, these weekends have taken place on campus during the last weekends of February and the first of March, however given concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s format may be virtual. Further guidance from the CDC and local health officials will be taken into account as planning for the programs goes forward this fall. The purpose and vibe of the programs, however, will remain true to the Olin spirit of creativity and collaboration. The program will include both evaluative components as well as plenty of opportunities for Candidates to engage with our community and learn more about Olin.

After the programs, which will continue to be held in late February and early March regardless of format, the Admission Committee meets again and makes the final admission decisions. Candidates are notified of their decision by late March.

Required Application Materials

  • Coalition Application
  • Application Fee or Fee Waiver
  • School Report Form, including Transcript
  • Current Senior Year Grades - a first quarter report card or a first semester progress report should be submitted with your application
  • One Counselor Recommendation
  • Two Teacher Recommendations - we require one letter of recommendation from a core math or science teacher and one letter from a teacher of your choice

A more detailed description of our required application materials can be found on our website.

Interview with an Olin graduate!

Optional interviews with Olin alumni will be conducted throughout the fall semester. An interview provides an opportunity for you to learn more about Olin from an alumnus/a, as well as for us to learn a bit more about you. Learn more and request an interview here.

Financial Aid

The founders of Olin were deeply committed to recognizing excellence and providing for affordability. As a result, every enrolled student at Olin is awarded the merit-based Olin Tuition Scholarship; currently valued at more than $100,000. Offered for eight semesters of full time study and covering half the annual tuition charges, this scholarship recognizes achievement inside and outside the classroom and represents our confidence in your ability to succeed in this unique academic environment. Our goal is to attract talented students committed to making a difference in the world, and partnering with them to make an Olin education a reality.

In addition to this merit scholarship, the College is committed to meeting full demonstrated financial need for up to eight semesters of full-time study for those who apply by the appropriate deadline and are eligible for additional assistance. 

Eligibility is determined by completion of the FAFSA.  Currently, full need-based aid is awarded to U.S. Citizens and Eligible Non-Citizens.  Limited need-based aid may be available for International students. 

Olin also uses a need-blind admission process, so students are admitted without regard to their ability to pay.  

We encourage you to read more about Financial Aid here

Additional Information