College of Science & Engineering

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a pre-major and how do I declare?

After being admitted to Western, students start out in the Engineering & Design Department as a pre-major.  Pre-majors spend anywhere between 1 and 2 years taking foundational math, science, and engineering and design courses.  Performance in these courses helps to determine if students are admitted into their major of choice or not.  For specific information on major admission requirements, see each individual program under Majors

Students interested in declaring their pre-major in Electrical, Manufacturing, or Plastics & Composites may come to ET 204 at any time to complete the declaration paperwork.  To declare as a pre-major in Industrial Design, students first must submit an Entrance Portfolio and be accepted.  To learn more about the Industrial Design Entrance Portfolio see Industrial Design Admissions.

Incoming Freshman and Transfer students, who plan to start fall quarter, can declare as a pre-major at Transitions or Fall Advising & Orientation during the summer.  Students will also receive advising and register for classes at that time.

Who can I contact for questions? 

The Engineering & Design Department has an advisor who is available to answer specific questions about the majors.  Lisa Ochs is the Pre-major Advisor and is available at 360.650.4132 or by email. Please direct general questions to or 360.650.3380.

When do I apply to my major?

Each major has a specific application deadline and set of requirements.  See the Admissions section for each major under Majors. If space allows, some majors will accept applications at other times throughout the year.  Contact the Pre-major Advisor for questions.

Electrical Engineering- Spring Quarter
Industrial Design- Winter Quarter

Will my courses from another college will be accepted? What can I do to have courses not on this list be considered?

The Transfer Course Equivalency Guide is a tool to assist you in understanding how college courses transfer to Western. This guide includes course equivalency information for community colleges and public baccalaureate institutions in Washington State, excluding The Evergreen State College.  

If the course you are inquiring about isn't listed on this guide, please contact the specific department at Western to have the course reviewed.  You may be asked to provide a syllabus.  To have a syllabus reviewed for an engineering course from another institution, email the Pre-major Advisor.

How long does it take to graduate?

Each program is designed to be completed in four years. However, the average time to graduation is four and a half to five years. There are different factors leading to the extended time to graduate.  If engineering students do not complete MATH 124/125 freshman year, they may not graduate in four years.  If Industrial Design students are not accepted as a pre-major during freshman year, they will not graduate in four years.  Transfer students can expect to be at Western for at least two and a half to three years, depending on the program and courses completed prior to coming to Western.  Seek advising early to ensure you are on the right track to graduate.  

What student clubs are available in the Engineering & Design Department? 

There are a variety of clubs associated with the programs in the Engineering & Design Department, including the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), and the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE). For a complete list of current clubs, please visit this page.  Students are not limited to clubs in our department. Many students are involved in clubs across campus.  To find a comprehensive list of clubs and information, please visit the Associated Students website

When I try to register for an ENGR course, I get a message that says I'm not in the correct field of study. What do I do?

ENGR (104, 170, 214 and 225) courses are restricted to pre-majors in Engineering & Design programs and to specific MSCM (Manufacturing Supply Chain Management) students. Engineering & Design students must first declare as a pre-major in ET204.  MSCM students should contact their advisor.  Some courses might also have pre-requisites that prohibit a student from registering.

I need a registration override, who do I contact?

First, contact the instructor of the course.  Second, you could come to ET204 or email the Department Pre-major Advisor to request an override. Please provide your W# as well as the CRN for the course and the reason for the override.