Curriculum Deferred Information

NGSS Update: There will be course numbering updates throughout the Undergraduate Student Handbook as needed to reflect transition to the new system inclusive of course numbering, edits to processes, and links to resources. We ask for your patience as our sites are updated to reflect these changes.


First-year who do not initially choose a specific major when applying to Penn are designated “Curriculum Deferred” (CD). Many first-year students are CD, so you shouldn’t feel as though you are the exception.

Since you are not required to declare your Engineering major until the end of your first year, you have time to learn about each department. During New Student Orientation and throughout the fall semester, the Office of Academic Services (OAS) Office and the academic departments organize events to give you opportunities to explore degree options.

All Curriculum Deferred students are required to take a 1000-level engineering course during their freshman year in either the Fall or the Spring semester. Students who declare their major by the end of the Fall 2009 semester will not be required to take a 1000-level engineering course.

Are you ready to Declare a Major?

Below are the basic instructions. The PATH form you need to use is “Declare/ Update Field of Study.”

Basic Instructions

  1. Meet with your assigned CD Academic Advisor.
  2. Meet with the Undergraduate Curriculum Chair of the curriculum in which you wish to declare. Identify courses you plan to take in preparation for your meeting and bring a list along with you to the meeting.
  3. Complete the PATH form – Declare/ Update Field of Study

Curriculum Deferred Advising

Faculty Advisor for CD Students: Rob Ghrist
OAS Office, 109 Towne Building
Phone: 215-898-7246

First Semester Courses for CD Students

Recommended courses for the First Semester

  • Any 1000-level Engineering Course (See below for complete list of 1000 -level Engineering Courses)
  • MATH 1400
  • PHYS 0150 (with lab) or PHYS 0140 (no lab)
  • CHEM 1012 (Take only section 4 or 5 for engineering students)
  • CHEM 1101 Lab
  • Writing Requirement course or Social Science and Humanities elective

All Curriculum Deferred students are required to take one of the 1000-level engineering courses listed below. If you are leaning towards a particular major, you are recommended to take the 1000-level course of that major and follow the recommended courses for the first semester for that major. See Recommended Courses for the First Semester for All Majors for more information.

Major of Interest Course Course Title
Overview of Engineering ENGR 1010 Introduction to Engineering (highly recommended for undecided students; fall semester only)
Bioengineering BE 1010 Introduction to Bioengineering (fall only)
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering CBE 1600 Introduction to Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (fall semester only)
Computer Engineering ESE 1500 Digital Audio Basics (spring semester only)
Computer Science CIS 1100 or CIS 1200 Introduction to Programming or
Programming Languages and Techniques I (if you have AP CIS 1100 credit)
Electrical Engineering ESE 1110 Circuits, Signals, Networks and Systems (fall only)
Materials Science and Engineering ENGR 1010 or Engineering Elective Introduction to Engineering (fall only)
Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics ENGR 1050 or
MEAM 1010
Introduction to Scientific Computing or
Introduction to Mechanical Design
(Students who are considering this major should also take MEAM 1100/MEAM 1470 instead of PHYS 0150.)
Systems Engineering ESE 1110 Circuits, Signals, Networks and Systems (fall only)
Also in this section:

Contact Penn Engineering:

If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything at all about your offer of admission, or about Penn Engineering’s academic programs, please contact:

Ms. Ellen Eckert
Director for Undergraduate Admissions and Advising
P: 215.898.4813