Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts HistorySauer, Anne
College of Engineering, 1898
The College of Engineering was formally established in 1898, though engineering courses and degrees had been offered as part of the Tufts College curriculum since 1865.The College of Engineering is an undergraduate professional school made up of departments of chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, electrical engineering and computer science, and mechanical engineering.
The first engineering courses were introduced into the Tufts curriculum in the academic year 1865-66 with the advent of a three-year degree program in civil engineering. Students in the program received a degree of civil engineer (C.E.)The course of study was similar to that in the regular course, but with French as the designated language and a greater emphasis on mathematics, including trigonometry, surveying, descriptive and analytical geometry, differential and integral calculus, and mechanics. Students completed courses in organic and inorganic chemistry, botany, mineralogy, geology, and physics, as well as rhetoric, intellectual and moral philosophy, logic, and political economy. Drawing was required throughout the program. The focus of the program was on practical application, with the result that students were frequently out and about doing field projects on campus and in the surrounding area.
In the early years of the school, equipment and funds were in short supply with the result that student projects were often designed to accomplish the dual purpose of educating students as well as creating much-needed equipment for the school. Before funds were raised to purchase a steam engine, students were directed to design their own as a drafting exercise. In 1894, the electrical engineering department constructed, for less than $700, an alternating current dynamo that would have cost $2,000 to purchase.
In 1890 the Department of Electrical Engineering was created, and in 1892-93 the course of study was extended to four years. With the advent of the four year program the degrees granted were bachelor of civil or electrical engineering. In rapid succession the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Chemical Engineering were established in 1894-5 and 1898-9, respectively.
Originally the engineering departments, along with most of the other academic activities, were housed in Ballou Hall. As the college and the engineering programs grew, it was clear that engineering needed its own facilities. A first step in this direction was the establishment of the Bromfield Pearson School in 1893.The school was a preparatory school for students desiring to study engineering at Tufts, and in addition to training prospective students, the building constructed for the purpose provided much needed laboratory and classroom space. Additional facilities were added over the years with the construction of Robinson Hall in 1894, Howe Laboratory in 1901, Bray Laboratory in 1947, and Anderson Hall in 1960.
Gardner C. Anthony was the first dean of the College of Engineering, appointed in 1898.
Like Tufts' other professional schools, the College of Engineering struggled for many years with enrollment demands greater than its capacity, lack of endowment, and strained resources.
The College of Engineering added graduate study to its curriculum beginning in the 1961-62 academic year, with masters degrees available in all four departments. Ph. D. programs were added in mechanical engineering in 1963, electrical engineering in 1964, engineering design in 1981, and civil engineering in 1985.
Source: LOH1, LOH2
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