Dual Degree (3-2 Engineering)

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is the Dual Degree program?

In the Dual Degree Math 3-2 program students do the first three years at Hawai‘i Pacific University preparing for matriculation. They fulfill all the General Education requirements of Hawai‘i Pacific University and our partner schools while they prepare and perfect their problem solving skills. They then matriculate to the University of Southern California (USC) or Washington University at St Louis (WUSTL) for two years of engineering where they will be awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in an Engineering discipline and also receive a degree in Mathematics from Hawai‘i Pacific University.

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What’s the big deal with USC and Washington University at St Louis? Why would I want to go there?

Both Washington University at Saint Louis and the University of Southern California are top tier engineering schools within the United States that are consistently rated in the Top 40 worldwide. According to one American Society of Engineering Educators (ASEE) study they are in the top three for the number of students accepted and then graduated. In other words, they are selective. If they accept you they will work with you to get you through. Some of our graduating students have described them as a “finishing school” for engineers.

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Why would international students choose the Math Dual Degree 3-2 Engineering program at Hawai‘i Pacific University?

Hawai‘i Pacific University offers a gentler, multicultural, introduction to the western style technical education system. Not only does our small class size throughout the three year core help to ensure success, it also supports your cultivation of strong oral and written communication skills as well teamwork abilities. HPU helps to develop these skills and the confidence needed for success in engineering in a supportive, personalized environment of a small liberal arts institution while focusing on problem-solving.

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I know I want to study Engineering. Why would I want to spend my time in a Dual Degree 3-2 program?

The Dual Degree Program can be an attractive alternative to traditional engineering curricula. Students are "liberally educated engineers" with a broad background in the humanities and social sciences as well a high-quality technical education. Students develop strong oral and written communication skills that best prepare them for future career opportunities which will require multidisciplinary, cross-cultural and global teams to address technical challenges. A liberal arts education coupled with an engineering degree can also set the stage for further studies in business management, marketing, economics, design, medicine, law, and government.

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Why not get a degree in math or science and then go to graduate school for engineering?

Many do. We have two students this year (2013) that did so. You should work closely with an HPU advisor if you chose this path since you may need to make up key engineering courses missed in a science or math program. We don’t want you to be at a disadvantage. An advisor can guide you so you’re best prepared.

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Why would I choose HPU for those first three years?

HPU is probably best known for its science based Nursing and Marine Biology programs. It is also well known for its culturally diverse undergraduate student body. Hawai‘i is, of course, a beautiful, safe and possibly a less complicated place to live than where you may be coming from. This attracts many international students to study here as part of their education.

Students at HPU experience the best of both worlds in a small liberal arts school and a larger, world class engineering school. Students tell us that they learn better in smaller class’s where the faculty is more accessible and accountable. The costs for all of this may be less than many other elite private schools.

Many students choose the Dual-Degree option because they want to take the time to pursue other academic, athletic, or extracurricular interests. Sometimes it is wise to postpone career decisions in order to explore and confirm long-term goals.

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Am I guaranteed admission to USC or Washington University for engineering?

The agreements for Hawai‘i Pacific University’s 3-2 Engineering program are both general and very specific. All General Education requirements, including mathematics and sciences, for ABET accredited engineering curriculum at USC and Washington University are accepted for transfer. However, at the end of three years students must officially apply for transfer status and go thru the process of acceptance and financial aid; tuition reimbursement, Federal loans, and so on. This process is competitive. It was put in place to insure you are prepared for rigorous coursework and that you are supported and on track to complete your degree in the following two years.

What this means is that you are NOT guaranteed admittance. You ARE guaranteed a front row seat in the review process as your Dual Degree Program Coordinator is in constant contact with administrators at these schools. Students must maintain an overall GPA of B+ especially in the math and sciences and will receive a letter of recommendation from the Dual Degree Program Coordinator. Don’t take this being overly burdensome; we have many students who have succeeded in this program. Any practicing engineer or student will tell you that anything less than a B+ in lower division courses will make your life very difficult as you continue your engineering education.

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What kind of GPA do I need to gain admittance?

A  GPA of 3.25 or better in your core courses is considered competitive.

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What happens if my GPA is not high enough or I don’t get accepted for any another reason?

Students often elect to stay in Hawai‘i and complete the last year to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Math from Hawai‘i Pacific University. The reasons are varied. Some students did not have the required grade point average, some were on lucrative scholarships like Track and Field or Band/Orchestra and wanted to finish out their program in Hawai‘i. There are many paths that students take. Don’t feel as though you have to matriculate to another school in three years! We have had students who ended up falling in love with International Business and Oceanography also. The Dual Degree Math 3-2 program is just a start.

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What degrees are offered by USC and Washington University?

USC and WUSTL offer degrees in all major disciplines of engineering. See their website for specific interests.

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What do I need to study at Hawai‘i Pacific University?

At HPU students will complete basic math, physics, and chemistry as well as a core of general education courses. See our website for a Course Flow Worksheet.

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How many students end up going to USC or Washington University at St. Louis?

Over the years, two to four HPU students have won positions at USC or WUSTL every year.

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How can I pay for this?

Scholarships at Hawai‘i Pacific University as well as USC and WUSTL are available to all qualifying students throughout their education.

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Do these schools help me find a job or summer internships?

Both USC and WUSTL support summer internship programs with select corporations and global technology firms.

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How much coursework can I transfer to each school?

Partner engineering schools will accept up to three years (90 credits) transferred from Hawai‘i Pacific University. Our partnership agreement guarantees that our General Education Core will satisfy their general education requirements.

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Can my High School classes count towards Hawai‘i Pacific University’s core curriculum?

Yes. High School AP (IB) courses in math and physics with a high exam score can count towards your degree at HPU and our partner engineering schools.

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