Incoming first-year students are introduced to engineering through the ESC100 Exploring Engineering course in their first term at Union College. The course introduces students to some of the fundamentals common to all engineering majors including engineering design, teamwork, technical writing and ethics through several individual and team design projects. The course also gives an overview of each of the engineering majors at Union: Biomedical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering. After taking the course, students have a better feel for the different engineering majors but still have a couple of terms to decide what engineering discipline to pursue as their major; this must be declared in the third term (Spring) of the first year so students can start their major course work at the start of their sophomore year.
A highlight of the course is the engineering design challenge where students work in teams to design an apparatus which solves some problem. The problem is relatively open-ended but has some constraints which the students must meet with their design.