Late Entry Accelerated Program (LEAP)
Working professionals who seek new job opportunities recognize engineering as the ideal gateway to a fast-paced career in high technology. Many such opportunities, however, are inaccessible without a degree in engineering. For more than 25 years, the Late Entry Accelerated Program (LEAP) at Boston University has allowed talented individuals and working professionals who have bachelor’s degrees in non-engineering fields to earn graduate degrees in engineering.
LEAP students choose from any of the College’s graduate programs in biomedical, computer, electrical, manufacturing, materials science & engineering, mechanical, photonics, or systems engineering. The curriculum begins with core undergraduate engineering courses to achieve a fundamental level of proficiency (Phase I). Students then advance to master’s degree candidacy in a chosen field of engineering (Phase II).
Phase I—Undergraduate Courses
The required undergraduate courses are determined individually based on a student’s prior undergraduate degree coursework and work experience. Some students—physics undergraduates, for example—usually require only three or four undergraduate courses before proceeding to the master’s program. Other students, such as social science or business majors, typically need additional undergraduate coursework. Undergraduate courses required for LEAP vary with the field of study but cover such topics as computer programming, electric circuit theory, engineering mechanics, signals and systems, electronics, fluid mechanics, probability and statistics, engineering electives, and other science or mathematics courses as necessary. Sample core curricula are available on the LEAP website.
Courses taken to satisfy Phase I LEAP requirements may not be used to satisfy Phase II (MEng/MS/PhD) requirements.
Phase II—Graduate Courses
After meeting individualized undergraduate core curriculum requirements, students apply to a master’s degree program in biomedical, computer systems, electrical, manufacturing, materials science & engineering, mechanical, photonics, or systems engineering. Students with a Phase I grade point average of 3.2 or higher are guaranteed admission to the Master of Engineering program in their chosen field of study. Students with a grade point average of less than 3.2 and applicants to the Master of Science program must submit an application for admission to be reviewed by the Graduate Committee in the department of choice. The academic progress of LEAP students is monitored each semester.
The Master of Engineering program usually can be completed in one year of additional full-time study once all required undergraduate courses have been completed.
Applicants to the LEAP Program should refer to the Instructions for LEAP (Late Entry Accelerated Program) Applicants in the application.
The Late Entry Accelerated Program (LEAP) enables students with at least a bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts or other non-engineering fields to enter any of the College’s graduate programs and ultimately earn a Master of Science, Master of Engineering, or PhD degree in engineering. LEAP applicants must have successfully completed one semester of calculus in college with a grade of “B” or higher before an application to the program can be submitted. Depending on a student’s math or science background, it typically takes a minimum of one and a half years for a full-time LEAP student to complete Phase I. Part-time students will require proportionally more time. Students who complete undergraduate Phase I LEAP requirements advance to the Master of Engineering program provided they conform to the academic standards established for the program. Advancement to the Master of Science or doctoral program requires the standard application procedure.
LEAP students who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents or who have refugee status and have demonstrated need through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be considered for LEAP scholarship. Awarding of LEAP scholarship is based on merit and determined according to the availability of funding. Students who wish to be considered for LEAP scholarships should submit their application for the Fall Term by January 15 and their application for the Spring Term by October 1. A complete description of available financial aid may be found on the College of Engineering Financial Aid website. Federal and private educational loan funds are available to eligible students enrolled at least half time. International students are not eligible for institutional-based aid or federal loans and must be prepared to present financial documentation as a requirement for admission. Inquiries should be directed to LEAP, Graduate Programs Office, College of Engineering, 44 Cummington Mall, Boston, MA 02215; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEAP Phase I Course Requirements by Major
In addition to the entry requirement of a semester of calculus for math and science majors in college with a grade of B or better, students must complete the required courses or present evidence of successful completion (grade of B or better) of equivalent coursework. (AP credit awarded for calculus does not fulfill the LEAP application requirement.) The curricula for each area (see links below) represent the minimum number of courses necessary to complete Phase I.
- Biomedical Engineering
- Computer Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Materials Science & Engineering
- Manufacturing Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Systems Engineering
Students with a BS degree in Physical Sciences, Mathematics, or Computer Science may apply directly to the MS degree program in Systems Engineering.
Students with other bachelor’s degrees admitted to LEAP need to fulfill certain coursework, detailed on the College of Engineering website.