E-Host Blog

Hey Aaron,
I was wondering if you could tell me more about your study abroad in Germany (e.g. classes, credits, and the experience in general). I am really interested in study abroad and was actually thinking about going to Germany.  – Carly

Dear Carly,
Thank you for your email, I am thrilled to hear that you are thinking of participating in the Dresden Engineering program. It was by far the greatest experience that I have had at BU! To summarize in one sentence, you will go abroad the second semester of your sophomore year and take exactly the same courses which you would take at Boston University while keeping any and all scholarship which you have.

Hi Jon,
This is Josh.  Thanks for the taking the time to email me,  I have a couple small questions.  How far is good skiing from Boston and what would you say are the best things about the BU engineering program? Thanks again — Josh

Dear Josh,

I’m not really a skier, but from what I have heard good skiing is roughly an hour or so outside of Boston. There is a BU Ski Club and Sky Team that make trips during the semester as well.

As for the ECE Program, well, everything about it is great, so it is very difficult to point out any single thing. One of the great things is that if you are interested in research or working on a specific project, there is almost always a professor who is willing to take you on as an undergraduate researcher. And this is not just limited to upperclassmen. I see freshmen getting involved in research every year. It’s also not just busy work, it is real hands-on projects. For me, I love teaching. And through the engineering program I’ve been able to serve as an undergraduate tutor and teaching fellow.

In addition to the great research and work opportunities in the ECE Department, BU in general is an amazing education experience. First off, you are in Boston for four years. Now I have been to many cities world wide between traveling with my parents and study abroad and I can confidently say that Boston is one of the top 3 cities in the world that I have been to. It is a city where you can live here for 100 years and still not do or see everything there is to do or see. BU is in the heart of Boston. Its down the street from Fenway Park, and along the green line of the subway. In addition, BU as a school is huge. There are endless opportunities to do really anything, and if for some reason BU doesn’t have a group for your activity, they are responsive to you creating a group. Agganis Arena is host to the 2009 NCAA Division I Hockey Champion Boston University Terriers and plays host to a bunch of big name performances such as Kelly Clarkson, The Killers, and more.

Finally, the food here is generally much better than it is at other schools. For me that’s a big deal because I like a good meal. And even on bad days in the dining hall, there are plenty of restaurants and quick eats on campus and more and more opening all the time (Chipotle is opening this week on campus!).

Boston University is really a great place for anyone. The administration and faculty do a great job of making sure that everyone fits in. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me or another e-host.

Hope to see you here next year-Jon

Did you know what kind of engineer you wanted to be when you started BU? I am currently undecided engineering, so I was wondering how the process of choosing a type of engineering for a major worked once you got on campus. –

Hello again, Carly –
You most definitely do not have to know what type of engineering you want to be while you are on this program (unless you have chosen Biomedical Engineering which requires you to take a Biology class fairly early on.)  You are only required to declare a major by the beginning of your junior year, so don’t worry –you have time to decide!

Hello Aaron,
I have a few questions about Boston U, the programs and life in general.  First, I was wondering, since BU is a big school.  Do you feel as if your at least a little bit insignificant or just like (clique as it may be) a number because I’ve applied to smaller schools as well and they seem to have taken a more personal approach.  Also, I’m in to art and more liberal arts things as well as engineering.  Does the system allow for lots of crossing over and studying just for the sake of learning or do the schools act very separately? Again, thank you. – Jake

Hi Jake,
Thank you for your questions.  While BU is a large school, you would be surprised how many people you will come to know if not by name but by facial basis.  Another thing to realize, is that the college of engineering is a much smaller part of the university which interfaces and coordinates with the rest of the university.  Throughout my four years here, I have never felt insignificant and have actually had quite a bit of attention directed specifically on me through advisers, mentors, and professors.  As for studying outside of the college of engineering, you certainly can and many do!  There are many opportunities to double major, or add a minor or concentration.  The systems most definitely allows for this and I encourage you to do so.

How important is reputation for graduate/job search? Do you think BU Engineering has a good reputation? How are the facilities? Is it really possible to participate in research at an undergraduate level? Also, how big is the impact of the frat scene? I just don’t know anything about it. Nat

Hi Nat,
Great questions. Boston University has extremely respectable undergrad and graduate engineering programs.  We have world-class facilities, such as the Photonics building, and there is probably a research lab for every taxi roaming the city.  Ok, this last bit might be an exaggeration, but we have a lot of research going on which I have taken part in for the last four years.  You are guaranteed to find an interesting project in a lab to work.

Secondly, fraternities? Don’t worry about them… I myself am also a “party animal” and love to go out and have a good time, but…  You absolutely DO NOT need to be in a fraternity to enjoy yourself in BU.  I suppose that I am biased from not being in a fraternity, but my friends that are really like them and enjoy hanging out with there brothers at fraternity events however it just wasn’t for me.  I would say that Greek life is not an overly emphasized aspect at BU, but it is definitely available if you want to try it out and see how you like it.

Dear Jon,
Thank you for the e-mail!  I am really interested in electrical and computer engineering, and I would love to study at Boston University. I have a few questions about the College.

What is the engineering program like? Do all of the students take the same classes for the first few years before they specialize, or do they go directly into their major?  What is the average class size? At the University, do a lot of people get involved with clubs and activities? Do you happen to know anything about the Ballroom Dance Club? Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing about Boston University and the College of Engineering!

Sincerely,  Meagan

Hi Meagan!

That’s great to hear that you’re interested in Electrical and Computer Engineering as I am a Senior Electrical Engineer myself.

Honestly, the engineering program at Boston University is tough. It requires students to work hard and put forth a lot of effort outside of the classroom. Having said that, the college does a great job of providing research opportunities and club activities to keep students involved. As far as the professors go, I personally believe that the Electrical and Computer Engineering professors are the best that I have had at this school. Every professor has a good understanding of what you are doing in pretty much every engineering class you are taking. As far as class size and curriculum go, all engineering students take a pretty similar course load in the first two years before taking major-specific courses. The typical class size for courses in your first two years can be as high as about 100, but every student in a large lecture must also be registered for a discussion section (~20 students).

In my experience, most students get involved with at least one club or activity. The great thing about BU is that because it is a large school, there are a lot of clubs and definitely something for everyone. I do not really know a whole lot about the ballroom dance club, but they do have a webpage (http://people.bu.edu/ballroom/).

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. –Jon


Thanks for the information.  I have one other question.  Have you had the opportunity to do a co-op or internship in electrical engineering and what kind of work did you do during it?  Thanks!

Hi Meagan,

After my freshmen year and junior year I worked for Energy Nuclear Operations. The bulk of my work was in designing a new Emergency Plant and Information Computer Data Acquisition System. Basically what it does, is it takes thousands of field inputs from the plant and if a value is not what it should be, it takes the appropriate response whether it be shut down or an alarm. My duties ranged from writing test bench procedures to verify correct installation to actual physical design of the hardware. The BU Engineering Career Development Office does a great job of helping students create a great resume and find internships and full time jobs.

As always, if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me — Jon

Hey Aaron,
I  have some questions about the BU community, your personal reasons as to why you chose Electrical Engineering over other fields of engineering, and other concerns about studying abroad. Thanks– Sandy

Hi Sandy,
Thank you for your email, these are some great questions!   I will answer your questions separately:

BU Community:  One word, amazing!  There are so many ways to get involved on campus that there really is something for everyone here at BU (and no I am not being prodded to say this!).  There are a plethora of clubs, activities, sports, and campus sponsored events which will most definitely keep you busy outside of your school work!

Personal reasons as to why I chose Electrical Engineering:  I have always been interested in electronics (Xbox from an early age!), and enjoy working with my hands to complete projects.  Many people have the misconception that Electrical Engineering is more of a transparent science whose concepts are not as physically tangible as opposed to other majors.  Coming from my own “shocking” experiences, this is definitely not the case!  I have had the opportunity to work in a multimedia communications lab for four years where I have designed and constructed many of my own networking devices, all which required electrical wiring and custom circuitry.  I could harp on for pages so if you have any more specific questions as to what electrical engineering entails please let me know.

Studying Abroad:  Hands down my best experience at Boston University.  I went on the Dresden, Germany program my sophomore year where I took exactly the same  courses that I would have at Boston University while keeping my scholarship as well.  I was able to view engineering in a completely different setting while being abroad and really feel that it has made me a more rounded engineer and person overall.  In addition to my course work, I had the opportunity to travel all across Europe; something which might have been a bit more difficult if I had stayed in Boston for the semester!

Hey Jon,
I know from my campus tour at BU, that the admissions people really pushed the fact that study abroad programs were possible for everyone.  What kind of studying abroad opportunities are open to Engineering students at BU and does BU partake in Engineers without Borders? Also, do you know if College of Engineering has any scholarships that you have to apply separately from the regular application from? Thanks — Terri

Hi Terri,
Study abroad programs do exist for anyone who wants to go abroad. The College of Engineering specifically has programs in Dresden, Germany;  Guadelajara, Mexico;  Tel Aviv, Israel;  Dublin, Ireland;  Singapore; and Sydney, Australia. The Dresden program tends to be the most competitive as most students want to go there, but, like I said, if you want to go abroad, then BU will find a way.

BU does partake in Engineers without Borders and if you have questions about Engineers without Borders specifically you can contact the chapter president Jeremy Schein (jschein@bu.edu) or check out their webpage (http://blogs.bu.edu/ewbexec).

As far as scholarships go, the only Engineering Scholarship that I know of that you need to apply to separately is the Alexander Graham Bell scholarship.

I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me -Jon.

Hi Aaron,
I am particularly interested in the Energy Technologies and Environmental program. How does it work? Its not a major, right? Is it more of a concentration? Does it involve taking extra classes? Can I focus on this program as an electrical engineer? And lastly, do all electrical engineers end up taking the same courses throughout all their years of schooling or do they branch off into more specific areas (if so, what are these)? Thank you very much! Sincerely –Irene

Dear Irene,

I am very excited to hear that you are thinking about our new concentrations while completing an electrical engineering degree.  You are correct, the Energy concentration is not a major and can be completed while working towards any engineering degree.  There are some courses that you will take for this concentration that will overlap with your primary majors requirements.  The program requirements can be found here .  I would definitely recommend undertaking one of the concentrations as it will really help to distinguish you from other competitive engineering degrees.

As for your other question, generally for the first 5 semesters you will take almost the same courses as Electrical and Computer Engineers.  From there you can then complete your degree requirements while choosing courses that you are most interested in.  There are quite a few options and I am very sure that you will find exciting courses that will allow you to specialize in areas of your choice.

I hope this has helped to answer some of your questions and if you have any others please let me know and I will be happy to help.

Dear Aaron,
I was hoping that you might be able to tell me what helped make your decision to go to Boston University and what other colleges you thought about going to. Sincerely — Lewis


Hi Lewis,

A major part of my decision to go here was based on the fact that my father grew up and went to school here.  I visited several campuses and engineering programs throughout high school, and I sincerely felt most at home here at BU.  If you like to be in an area with lots of exciting things going on around you, Boston is the place to be!  The campus is right by the city, but it is not an over stressful environment and I have come to love living in the city.  I really think this is a great place to come to school, you will learn many things inside and outside of the classroom which is what growing up is all about.  This has been probably the smartest decision that I have ever made by coming to BU.  If you have any other questions please let me know and I hope that this email helps. Take care, Aaron

Hi Aaron,
A couple of questions from a parent of a would-be BU student:
1) What do you think of BU’s co-op program?
2) Any suggestions as to first-year housing for an engineering student? Many thanks — Kyle

Hi Kyle,
I have not had any experience with BU’s coop program, but I have had great success with their undergraduate research programs.  This is definitely something that your son should look into.  I would recommend that he choose “engineering specialty” housing in either Warren Towers, or Myles for his freshman year.  He will get the opportunity to work with other members of his class while still having the opportunity to meet many other people on different floors.  I lived in a specialty engineering floor in warren towers my freshman year and it was a very good decision.  I hope this helps and if you have any further questions please let me know. Regards, Aaron

Dear Aaron,
I am  scheduled for a few tours at BU next weekend and being from Texas and all I really have no idea what to expect. I will be there all weekend exploring the city. I am emailing you pretty much to ask if you have any suggestions to what dorm is best for a freshman engineering student, and what are some of the highlights of Boston? Where should I go during my visit and are there any place specifically that BU students like to go?  Thanks for your time!  — Tanya

Hi Tanya,
I think you will absolutely love it here.  I am actually from Oklahoma but have worked in Texas for over 6 years around the Baylor area.  I would recommend living on an engineering specialty floor in any of the dorms, maybe Warren would be my top choice and then Myles shortly after.  Warren is very central and you will get to meet tons of people, I loved living there my freshman year.  Look into specialty housing because it is a great way to meet your classmates who you will be close with for the rest of your time at BU.

As for highlights of Boston I really do not know where to begin, everything is great!  You might look into taking a “Duck Tour” of the city.  You will drive around the city learning interesting things the entire time.  I would just say walk around the campus and get familiar with the key places for instance: the BU Beach behind marsh chapel, the GSU student union, Photonics, CAS, the science building,FitRec, and so many more places.  You will enjoy your tours and be sure to stop by the engineering resource building and ingals study lounge.  I hope this helps and if you have any other questions please let me know.  Aaron

Dear Aaron,
Greetings – I am a parent.  I have a few queries on Boston University. I hope you can provide your
valuable feedback. The queries are as follows:

1.      We have been reading a few reviews on the net. Although Boston is a great location, BU’s dorms and administration, do not get good reviews. What is your opinion on on-campus housing and BU administration? Which dorm will you recommend for freshman?
2.      Boston weather is extreme. Is there a big problem managing long snowy winters on the campus.
3.      One of the reviews stated that it also has drugs menace to some extent. Any comments?
4.      We also gather that BU almost has no campus. The buildings are located on the bustling six-lane Commonwealth Avenue. Does it make difference to the campus life and/or security?
5.      Do students need to walk a lot from on-campus housing to classes, and to dining halls?
6.      How is the availability of local transport?
7.      How is the security situation? — Geoff

Hi Geoff,
Thank you for your questions and I am happy to help you to the best of my ability.  I will answer your questions in numbered order just to keep things simple and clear.

1.  I have had only the greatest experience with the dorm situation at BU.  The reviews may be referring to the “lottery” type selection style that BU uses which can be a bit tiresome at times.  The dorms are all of great quality and the dining halls are pretty good from my experience.  I would recommend that your daughter apply for “engineering specialty” housing which will help her get the dorm of her choice as well as provide her with a great opportunity to collaborate with other fellow engineers who she will have classes with.  I would recommend engineering floor at Warren Towers, or Myles Standish, or Shelton.  These are all great places to live however Warren is the best in my opinion since it is very central to campus and nothing is more than a 5-10 minute walking distance.

2.  There is not a single problem during the winter. There is really not all that much snow, the temperature is not extreme most of the winder, and  Boston has great street cleaning teams.  Also BU has facility staff who salt and shovel all university pathways and roads, things are always kept very clean and safe during snow periods; so clean that we rarely get snow days!

3.  I think that the “drug problem” at any university is something that always can be avoided.  I stay away from all places where this sort of thing occurs and I only associate with good “quality” people so I really have not ever been pressured or have experience any kind of drug involvement at BU.  I do not think that there is anything to be worried about in this aspect.

4. This “bustlin 6 lane comm ave” is really more like a 4 spread out lane with a subway train running in the middle of it.  I absolutely love BU’s alternative style campus.  Everything is very close and easily marked, BU practically owns all of Comm Ave so I consider it a campus with the freedom to explore Boston.  It is very relaxed around central campus and we really only see major traffic during Red Sox games at Fenway.  I ride my bike up and down Comm Ave each day and it is very safe.

5.  Many dorms have dining halls attached to them so no you do not need to walk far.  Warren has a nice dining hall and it is a 5 minute walk from any of the engineering building which your daughter will need to reach.  There is no problem with walking to class and you can always take the above ground subway train if you are in a hurry.

6.  Local transport is excellent.  There is a free “BU Shuttle” bus which runs up and down campus at regular intervals.  There is also the public MBTA transit system with buses and the subway train (the T) which goes above ground on campus and then underground once you head east to the city.  There are also many many cabs in service.

7.  The security is also very good here.  There are lots of “blue call boxes” located on campus which when activated notify the BU police instantly.  There are also free escort systems who you can call to be walked back to your dorm if you need.  All dorms also have thorough security stations so that only BU students can enter the buildings.

I hope this has answered at least some of your questions and please feel free to email me back.  Again I apologize for such a late response but I hope that I have given you adequate feedback on your questions.

Thank you for your email, Aaron


Hey Aaron,

Electrical Engineering sounds interesting. I can see the relevance of that field in upcoming years as more and more technology is replacing what we use today. Personally, I have always been very aware of the environment and what we can do in our everyday lives to slow the process of global warming, which people can choose to believe in or not, and so I thought that a sort of civil engineering or a field that is related to sustainable energy would best suit me, however I have not had any experience in such fields yet, so I am undecided. I am not worried too much about majoring in one specific field or another just yet however. Many thanks- Allen.

Dear Allen,

Regarding your major choice, you have nothing to worry about since you don’t have to formally declare you major until the beginning of your junior year.  Many first-year students come in undecided and there are several courses and required seminars that will help inform you about each major and ultimately help you decide which is best for you.

You mentioned that you were interested in environmentally friendly energy. BU now offers concentrations in energy technology which can be taken in parallel with any major. For me, the best major for interest in energy – without question –  is Electrical Engineering, because regardless of which sources of energy may emerge over the next decades, they’ll use electricity and the “Smart Grid” to distribute it.  In any case, you can find more information about our energy concentration at http://www.bu.edu/eng/academics/programs/energy-environmental/.


Hi Aaron,

I was wondering about the alternative energy programs, because I’m really interested in that and nanotechnology. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but there was a letter sent to applicants to the engineering school and it mentioned those new areas of study, among others, in BU. I don’t really know much about them and that was the first time I had really heard of the programs, so if you have any information on them I’d love to hear it! Thanks and GO BU! – Molly


That is great that you are interested in the alternative energy programs, the addition of “concentrations” to the traditional majors is a new and exciting thing that has come to the college of engineering.  You can find some more information about the concentrations at http://www.bu.edu/eng/academics/programs/concentrations/nanotechnology/ and http://www.bu.edu/eng/academics/programs/concentrations/etee/.  These concentrations are taken in parallel with your area of study and do not add extra time to your degree.  They are a really great opportunity to specialize in these areas while earning your engineering degree, I would definitely consider one or more of these programs if I were you.  I hope this has helped and if you have any other questions please let me know. — Aaron

Hey Jon,

It’s great to hear from someone at the Engineering School! I’m Janice and this year I discovered a possible interest in Environmental Engineering. I was wondering how you like your classes at BU’s Engineering School and what kind of engineering you’re majoring in. Thanks! — Janice

Hi Janice,

I am a Senior in Electrical Engineering, and I am primarily focused on digital signal processing. I’m not sure if you know this or not, but BU does not have an official Environmental Engineering Major. Rather, we offer it as a concentration option available to all engineering majors. It’s called “Energy Technologies and Environmental Engineering”. Basically, you would major in Electrical, Computer, Mechanical or Biomedical Engineering, and you would be then take certain classes to obtain the Energy concentration. If this is something you are interested in, you can check out the Web page for the program at http://www.bu.edu/eng/academics/programs/concentrations/etee.


As for classes at BU, I think they are great. My average class size is roughly around 20-30 students. In the first two years, all engineering students are required to take certain all-BU classes (Calculus, Physics etc.) so those classes tend to have lectures with about 80-100 students, but they all feature discussion sections of roughly around 20 students. In addition, all professors are required to hold office hours for their classes.

Hope to see you here on campus – Jon