Preparing for Engineering in High School


Courses to Take in High School

The following are six recommendations for high school students planning to study engineering:

  1. Take as much math as possible. You should take one math course per year for all 4 years in high school. Math courses (Algebra II, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus and Calculus I) are the best preparation for engineering.
  2. Calculus is preferred to high school statistics or AP statistics.
  3. Take as much Chemistry and Physics as possible. The science sequence of engineering degree is University Physics I-> University Physics II and University Chemistry I. Most engineering degrees plans do not require Biology, so AP Biology is not as usefully as an additional course in Chemistry or Physics. A strong background in Chemistry and Physics at the high school level will smooth the transition to engineering coursework.
  4. Understand the Texas and Lamar University Core. All Texas Universities have the same core structure:
    010. Communication / English (6 hours / 2 courses)
    020. Mathematics (3 hours / 1 course)
    030. Life and Physical Science (6 hours / 2 courses)
    040. Language, Philosophy and Culture (3 hours / 1 course)
    050. Creative Arts (3 hours / 1 course)
    060. American History (6 hours / 2 course)
    070. Government (6 hours / 2 course)
    080. Social and Behavioral Sciences (3 hours / 1 course)
    090. Component Area (6 hours / 2 course)

    When selecting AP and dual credit courses outside of science and math, consider the impact on your engineering degree. Core courses in Communication (010), Government (060), Creative Arts (050), and Language/Philosophy/Culture should be applied without issue. Science core courses are used as a pre-requisite in engineering, so only CHEM 1311 General Chemistry I, PHYS 2425 University Physics I or PHYS 2426 University Physics II will be used. Calculus I is used as Mathematics core and pre-requisite. Component area courses are also used as core and pre-requisite.  Taking AP or dual credit courses in high school in non-technical areas is a great way to reduce your course load, however, preparation in Math, Physics and Chemistry is more important.
  5. Students with Spanish Language Skills should strongly consider taking the CLEP test in Spanish. While Spanish is not required for the degree, it can be used as a Communication area 010 Elective (Spanish I) .

Advice for Incoming Students

  1. Understand your major by reading about the major and job postings.
  2. Review degree plan.
  3. Complete scholarship application forms. Universities have scholarships at multiple level (University, College, Department) with many different standards and criteria.
  4. Do not take too many hours your first semester. Many courses early in the engineering degree are 4 hours including Calculus, Physics (3 hours plus 1 hour lab) and Chemistry (3 hours plus 1 hour lab). Taking 14 hours with Calculus I and Chemistry is a full schedule in your first semester (do not try 17 hours).
  5. Start looking for internships and co-ops at the end of your second year.
  6. Courses can be taken during summer semester.