Incoming First Year Students

A pciture of the old main building on campus, seen through the branches of an in-bloom cherry blossum tree

Steps for first-year students

All students interested in pursuing a degree in our department must be admitted to Western before they can begin the process of declaring as one of our intended majors.  To learn more, visit the WWU Admissions Office

The Department Pre-major Advisor is available to incoming first-years, transfer students, current students, and all pre-majors in the Engineering & Design Department for registration assistance and advice. You may contact the advisor by email ( or by calling 360.650.4132.

You can also look at the Advising page for our majors. Some major courses are taught only once per year, so advice before registration is strongly encouraged.

When applying to WWU students can indicate an interest in one of the four department majors: Electrical and Computer Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Plastics & Composites Engineering, and Industrial Design. After acceptance to WWU, first-years then may declare a pre-major status during Fall Advising & Orientation or at the beginning of fall quarter.

A pre-major is a student who is working on foundation (or prerequisite) courses offered by the Engineering & Design Department and other relevant departments. Foundation courses include math, physics, chemistry, engineering, art, and computer science. 

Benefits of declaring a pre-major status

  1. You will receive pre-major advising to ensure you are on track and taking the right courses for your intended major.  The Engineering & Design Department has a Pre-major Advisor to help you stay on track.
  2. Most of our courses require declaration in order to register.
  3. You are eligible to apply for annual department scholarships.

To declare:

  1.  Send an email to 
  2.  Include your intended pre-major program AND your W#

For all Engineering & Design majors students apply to their intended Major after completing a set of foundation courses as a pre-major. The primary application time and requirements for each program varies; see individual Admissions sections for our majors by clicking the program title below.

What is a Pre-Major?

After being admitted to Western, students start out in the Engineering & Design Department as a pre-major in one of the programs.  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.  See Academics tab for individual programs' admissions information. 

Incoming Freshman and Transfer students, who plan to start fall quarter, can declare as a pre-major during Summer Orientation programs.  Students will also receive advising and register for classes at that time.

How and When Do I Declare a Pre-Major?

Send an email to with your W# and intended pre-major. 


Electrical and Computer Engineering:  during summer orientation programs or during fall quarter

Manufacturing Engineering:  during summer orientation programs or during fall quarter

Plastics & Composites Engineering:  during summer orientation programs or during fall quarter

Industrial Design:  Students may not declare a pre-major in ID until an Entrance Portfolio has been accepted.  In the meantime, students will remain an ID interest student and should take other requirements towards the degree.  Those requirements could be math, physics, art history, and general university requirements. 

a low-angle shot of the engineering builidng exterior

Frequently Asked Questions

Please direct general questions to or 360.650.3380.

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

Manufacturing Engineering- Winter Quarter

Plastics & Composites Engineering- Winter Quarter

Industrial Design- Winter Quarter

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.

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.  

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

ENGR (101, 104, 115, 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.  MSCM students should contact their advisor.  Some courses might also have pre-requisites that prohibit a student from registering.

Contact the instructor of the course OR you can email to request an override.  Provide your W# and crn for the course.  Not all requests will be granted due to pre-requisites, major restrictions, and capacity issues.