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EXPLORE NORTHEASTERN

First Year Engineering

The First Year Engineering Program provides new students with tools they need to succeed at Northeastern University.

first year engineering student in first year engineering innovation center
Students work on engineering projects in the First Year Engineering Learning and Innovation Center.

Common First-Year Curriculum

The first year of engineering at Northeastern is a common curriculum in which all students regardless of intended major enroll in math, chemistry, physics, GE 1000 Introduction to EngineeringGE 1501 Cornerstone of Engineering 1 and GE 1502 Cornerstone of Engineering 2.

Through these courses, special seminars and social activities, students are provided an opportunity to explore the different engineering majors currently offered at Northeastern University. Students are supported by one-on-one meetings with their academic advisor several times a year to help them register for courses and plan their academic career in the college. Students are challenged with real-world service learning projects.

Fall SemesterSpring Semester
Intro to the Study of Engineering1 SHCornerstone of Engineering 24 SH
Cornerstone of Engineering 14 SHCalculus 24 SH
Calculus 14 SHPhysics 1 + lab + seminar5 SH
General Chemistry + Recitation4 SHElective
College Writing4 SH

This course, required for all new engineering students in their first semester, meets weekly and focuses on decision-making and tools for success in studying engineering. Designed to facilitate the transition from high school to college and from living under direct parental influence to an environment of more independent responsibility, this course is taught by academic advisors and upper-class engineering students. A student’s GE1000 instructor serves as the student’s advisor for their first-year year.

First-year courses are scheduled to facilitate the formation of study groups and new friendships. For example, whenever possible, the schedules are organized so that students in a particular section of first-year engineering will also be in the same chemistry, English, and math sections.

First-year engineering students can elect to reside with other first-year engineering students in the Engineering/Connections Living Learning Communities (dedicated floors in a first-year residence hall). Incoming students indicate this preference when registering for housing.

Engaged First-Year Faculty

Ten professors specialize in teaching first year engineering courses to help new students meet the challenges of the first year.


Richard Whalen
Interim Director & Teaching Professor,  First Year Engineering Program
Affiliated Faculty,  Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Engineering Education, Evidence-Based Teaching, Pedagogy, Assessment, Thermo-fluids Engineering, Microscale Heat Transfer, Numerical Modeling of Laser Welding of Plastics, Thermal Effects in Nonlinear Optical Material


Photo of Schulte-Grahame
Kathryn Schulte Grahame
Interim Associate Director and Associate Teaching Professor,  First Year Engineering Program
Affiliated Faculty,  Civil and Environmental Engineering

Service-learning in engineering, sustainable urban design; alternative energy sources; green roof technology; soil-liquid infiltration physics


Matthew Burns
Academic Assistant,  First Year Engineering Program


Duncan Davis
Assistant Teaching Professor,  First Year Engineering Program


Susan Freeman
Interim Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education,  Office of the Dean
Teaching Professor,  First Year Engineering Program
Affiliated Faculty,  Mechanical and Industrial Engineering


Donald Goldthwaite
Operation & Tech Manager,  First Year Engineering Program


Joshua Hertz
Associate Teaching Professor,  First Year Engineering Program


Leila Keyvani Someh
Assistant Teaching Professor,  First Year Engineering Program
Affiliated Faculty,  Civil & Environmental Engineering

Resilience Engineering, Engineering Education, Evidence-Based Teaching, Pedagogy, Progressive Collapse


Jennifer Love
Associate Academic Specialist,  First Year Engineering Program


Bala Maheswaran
Teaching Professor,  First Year Engineering Program and Electrical and Computer Engineering , ASEE & ATINER
617.373.5905
mahes@coe.neu.edu

Current Research: Experiential Engineering Education via Innovation and Invention. Focus on the Technical Design, Energy System, and Medical Engineering (MedEng) Design Innovations via Prototyping and Proof of Concept. Past Research: High-Temperature Superconductors, Two-Dimensional Electron Gas, and Engineering Physics Education.


Constantine Mukasa
Assistant Teaching Professor,  First Year Engineering Program


Brian O'Connell
Assistant Teaching Professor,  First Year Engineering Program


John Sangster
Assistant Teaching Professor,  First Year Engineering Program
Affiliated Faculty,  Civil and Environmental Engineering

  • Dr. Kris Jaeger and Dr. Rich Whalen conduct ‘Engineering Excellence’ Seminar at The Ohio State University – Jaeger and Whalen were invited to OSU to represent Northeastern University’s ASEE award-winning First-year Program team of educators. They presented on how NU has have transformed our First-year Engineering Program both incrementally and radically in terms of philosophy, curriculum, projects and activities, and in methods of research and assessment, along with managing its growth.
  • MIE Associate Academic Specialist Jennifer Love received a Notable Entry for her submission to the 2013 Vernier Engineering Contest, where teachers showcase their creative uses of Vernier sensors to introduce engineering concepts or engineering practices.
  • Awarded for Contributions – Senior Academic Specialist Bala Maheswaran received the 2013 ASEE “Distinguished Educator and Service Award” in the Physics and Engineering Physics Division.
  • MIE Associate Academic Specialist Jennifer Love has her students build solar-powered model cars to demonstrate the engineering principles they learned while in the classroom.
  • Associate Academic Specialist Jennifer Love was awarded a $2K Grant from NSF’s Everyday Examples in Engineering (E3s) to increase retention by improving the classroom experience.
  • Inaugural service- learning expo showcases community outreach
  • Overcoming Obstacles and Solving Problems – Susan Freeman’s first-year class built a solar-shading device for a sensory garden as part of Northeastern’s Center of Community Service.
  • Beverly Jaeger, Susan Freeman, Rich Whalen, & Rebecca Payne won Best Paper for PIC III as well as Best Paper Overall at the 2010 ASEE Annual Conference for their paper “Successful Students: Smart or Tough?”.
  • Turning the Theoretical into Reality – Under the direction of Beverly Jaeger, a group of first-year engineering students are working to improve the gear used by service dogs to help the disabled. Click here for a video from their meeting with guide dogs Bronson and Jozsi.
  • Freeman, S, Jaeger B, & Whalen, R, (2014). Making a First-year Impression: Engineering Projects that Affect and Connect. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Indianapolis, IN.
  • Pfluger, C & Schulte Graham, K, (2014). Introducing Sustainability into Engineering Design: A First Year Course. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Indianapolis, IN.
  • Love, J, Freeman, S and Sullivan, D, (2014). What Sticks with First Year Engineering Students and Engineering Faculty in STEM Education Service-Learning Projects, Proceedings of American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Indianapolis, IN.
  • Forman, S & Freeman, S (2012). The Unwritten Syllabus. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX.
  • Jaeger B, Whalen, R, & Freeman, S, (2012). Programming is Invisible –or Is It? How to Bring a First-year Programming Course to Life. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, San Antonio, TX.
  • Freeman, S, Forman, S, Whalen, R, & Jaeger B, (2011). Service Learning vs. Learning Service in Engineering Design. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • Jaeger, BK (Coordinator, Northeastern University) with Estell, J (Ohio Northern), Freeman, S (Northeastern), Moor, SS (Purdue University Fort Wayne), & Whalen, R (Northeastern) (2010 for 2011) Workshop Proposal to American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Approved and Sponsored by First-year Programs Division; pending ASEE approval.
  • Whalen, R, Jaeger, BK, & Freeman, S (2010 for 2011). R U All There? Texting, Surfing, and E-Tasking in the Classroom and its Effects on Learning. Abstract Submitted to American Society for Engineering Education for Annual Conference, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • Freeman, SF, Forman, S, Whalen, R, & Jaeger B (2010 for 2011). Service Learning vs. Learning Service in Engineering Design. Abstract Submitted to American Society for Engineering Education for Annual Conference, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • Jaeger, B, Whalen, R, Payne, R, & Freeman, S (2010). Successful Students: Smart or Tough?  Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Austin, TX.
  • Freeman, S, Jaeger B, & Whalen, R, (2006). Active Teaching, Active Learning: Infusing the Design Process in a First-Year Course. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, Chicago, IL.
  • Whalen, R., Freeman, S.F., Love, J.O., Grahame, K.S., Hertz, J.L. (2018) Evolution to Cornerstone: Creating a First-Year Culture with a Multifaceted Approach. 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Salt Lake City, UT. June 24-27. Paper ID#22932
  • Freeman, S.F., Pfluger, C., Whalen, R., Grahame, K.S., Hertz, J.L., Variawa, C., Love, J.O., Sivak, M.L., and Maheswaran, B. (2016) Cranking Up Cornerstone: Lessons Learned from Implementing a Pilot with First-Year Engineering Students2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, LA, ISBN 978-0-692-68565-5
  • Love, J.O., Freeman, S.F., Jaeger-Helton, B.K., and Whalen, R. (2015) No lab? No shop? No problem: Intentional design of a First Year Engineering Learning Center with enlightening outcomesAmerican Society for Engineering Education Conference Proceedings, Seattle, WA, Paper ID#13479.
  • Freeman, SF, Whalen, R, Jaeger, BK, & Forman, S (2011). Service-Learning vs. Learning Service in First-year Engineering: If We Cannot Conduct First-Hand Service Projects, is it Still of Value?. Proceedings of the American Society of Engineering Education, Vancouver, BC – won Best Paper
  • Jaeger, BK, Freeman, SF, & Whalen, R, Payne, R* (2010). Successful Students: Smart or Tough. Proceedings of the American Society of Engineering Education, Louisville, KY. – won Best Conference Paper
  • Freeman, SF, Jaeger, BK, & Whalen, R (2009). When the Light Goes On: Illuminating the Pathway to Engineering. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, Austin, TX
  • Whalen, R, Freeman, SF, & Jaeger, BK (2008). Agile Education: What We Thought We Knew About our Classes, What We Learned, and What We Did About It. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Jaeger, BK, Whalen, R, & Freeman, S (2007). Do They Like What They Learn, Do They Learn What They Like –And What Do We Do About It?Proceedings of the American Society for EngineeringEducation, Honolulu, HI.
  • Estell, J, Jaeger, BK, Whalen, R, Freeman, S & Yoder, JD (2007). Tower of Straws: Reaching New Heights with Active Learning in Engineering Design for the First-year Curriculum. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, Honolulu, HI.
  • Brown, S*, Vacca, K*, Reisberg, R., Maheswaran, B, & Jaeger, BK (2006). Freshman Physics Program to Support Women in Engineering. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, New England Division, Chicago, IL.
  • Freeman, S, Whalen, R & Jaeger, BK (2006). Active Teaching, Active Learning: Infusing the Design Process in a First-Year Course. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, Chicago, IL.
  • Jaeger, BK, Freeman, S, & Whalen, R (2005). Get with the program: Integrated Project Instead of a Comprehensive Final Exam in a First Programming Course. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, Portland, OR.
  • Aburdene, M, Jaeger, B, & Freeman, S (2005). Empty-handed Demonstrations in Engineering: Think Inside the Box. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, Portland, OR.
  • Whalen, R, Freeman, S, Jaeger, BK, &. Maheswaran, B (2005). Teamwork is Academic: The Gateway Approach to Teaching Engineering Freshman. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, Portland, OR.
  • Jaeger, BK, Freeman, SF, & Brougham JC (2004). No Rockets, No Robots: Low Tech-Engineering Design Education with Credibility and Success. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, Salt Lake City, UT.
  • Freeman, SF, Jaeger BK & Brougham, JC (2003). More Learning and Less Anxiety in a First Programming Course. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, Nashville, TN
  • Jaeger, BK & Freeman, SF, with Abbamonto, C*, Bowman, C*, Durfee, E*, and Hoey, M* (2006). Team Extreme: Pair programming Leverages the Power of Two Minds, Women in Science and Engineering ExpositionNortheastern University, Research Poster Presentation.
  • Freeman, S & Jaeger, BK (2005). Pair Programming Applied Successfully in a First Programming Course. Scholarship of Teaching and Leaning PublicationCenter for Effective University TeachingNortheastern University. Also presented as a Research Poster at the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Symposium.