Overseas Programs and Engineering

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For many years the School of Engineering and the Bing Overseas Studies Program have collaborated to provide outstanding opportunities for engineering majors to study, work, and experience life in other countries. Careers in engineering frequently have an international component—whether through working as a consultant in another culture, transferring for a period of time to another country, or establishing an enterprise and developing contacts in other areas of the world. Achieving cultural literacy in another country provokes reflection on the differences and similarities among societies and prepares students to work in an international context.

With careful planning, most engineering students can fit study at one of Stanford’s overseas centers into their academic plans. BOSP encourages students to talk with their advisors early on, as early as freshman year, about planning for one or more quarter(s) abroad. By starting early, students can strategically plan for required engineering courses and language acquisition and then be able to study and work abroad while making progress toward their Stanford degrees. Some programs require minimal language study prior to enrollment. Most programs include courses that satisfy two or more University General Education Requirements (GERs or WAYs) so prospective engineering majors can plan to fulfill one or two requirements abroad.

Starting in 2014-15, students studying at most Stanford overseas centers may take selected advanced engineering courses offered in an online format by the Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD). A student may take a maximum of one of these courses per quarter. An online course that satisfies the Technology in Society requirement may also be offered starting in Winter 2015. In addition, some Stanford overseas centers offer selected engineering fundamentals courses as tutored video courses.

Engineering faculty teach abroad as Faculty-in-Residence at BOSP’s overseas centers.
Steve Cooper -- Computer Science -- Spring -- Beijing
Margaret Brandeau -- MS&E -- Winter -- Cape Town

Clyde Tatum -- Civil & Environmental. Eng-- Autumn -- Berlin
Allison Okamura -- Mechanical Engineering -- Spring -- Kyoto
Adrian Lew -- Mechanical Engineering -- Winter -- Madrid

For a list of current and future faculty-in-residence, please visit https://undergrad.stanford.edu/programs/bosp/teach/faculty-residence

The Associate Dean for Student Affairs in Engineering as well as advisors in Undergraduate Advising and Research (UAR), and Program Advisors and Student Advisors in the Bing Overseas Studies Program can help students strategize how to integrate coursework taken overseas into their overall academic planning.

Information about Stanford’s programs, including courses offered, is available online at http://bosp.stanford.edu. Students are also encouraged to stop by the BOSP office on the ground floor of Sweet Hall. The following program information highlights opportunities that might be of special interest to engineers.


For me, one of the greatest parts of my study abroad experience was the opportunity to interact with brilliant, interesting, and fun professors and graduate students from another university. If I had known how awesome the people would be in Australia, I would have been even more sold on the program than I was already.

–BOSP Australia Alum

During Autumn Quarter, students in the BOSP Australia program focus on topics in Australian coastal studies at various locations in Queensland, including the Great Barrier Reef. This program has been established in collaboration with the University of Queensland, School of Biological Sciences. Up to 48 students are enrolled in four required academic modules: Coral Reef Ecosystems, Coastal Forest Ecosystems, Freshwater Systems, and Australian Studies. Civil and Environmental Engineering has approved credit for some of these courses. In addition, students complete Targeted Research Projects on selected topics under the supervision of University of Queensland instructors. This opportunity to do hands-on research will greatly enhance students’ research skills and their appreciation of issues Australia faces as it deals with ecotourism and protection of the Great Barrier Reef. SCPD courses are NOT available for engineering students in Australia.


Peking University (PKU) hosts BOSP’s program in Beijing, China during Autumn and Spring Quarters. The program offers a variety of courses in the humanities and social sciences, including many that satisfy GERs. The classes in Beijing are taught by Peking University faculty, as well as by Stanford Faculty-in-Residence. Occasionally, a Stanford science or engineering professor will teach in Beijing and offer one or more engineering–oriented courses. Computer Science Professor Steve Cooper will teach in Beijing in Spring Quarter 2014-15. Classes are taught in English by PKU professors, many of whom hold graduate degrees from US institutions. Courses are taught primarily in English, but students in the Beijing program are required to study Chinese language while in Beijing. Prior Chinese language study is not required for Autumn Quarter participation, when students can enroll in first-quarter Chinese. The minimum requirement for enrollment in Spring Quarter is two quarters of college-level Mandarin (CHINLANG 2).


My internship experience really complemented what I’d learned in my engineering classes. In fact, I felt that I received two educations for the price of one. I did a long internship, and it was worth it. Doing a long internship means you can learn more, show more effort, and the company gets a better feel for you. They might even hire you back. I’m a very obvious example of staying longer. I’m back in Germany now working for the same company as a permanent employee.
—BOSP Berlin Alum

The Berlin Center is open for study in Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters. Students who study in Berlin for one or more quarters and have completed one year of German language (GERLANG 3) are eligible to participate in a full-time Krupp Internship in any succeeding quarter(s). Since 1982 the Stanford Program in Berlin, with support from the Krupp Foundation (Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung: http://www.krupp-stiftung.de), has placed over 1100 Stanford students, well over half of whom are engineers, in paid internships throughout Germany. Internships are available in virtually all fields of engineering. In close cooperation with the applicants, the onsite Internship Coordinator works to place students in internships closely related to their academic and career interests and their technical and language skills. Internship placements are in private companies and public institutions all over Germany, not only in Berlin. The program guarantees €1000 for a full working month, which covers all living expenses. Internships last from three to six months.

Students without previous German language experience can enroll in beginning intensive German in Berlin in Autumn or Winter Quarter, or they can take a minimum of one quarter of German prior to arrival in Spring Quarter. The equivalent of three quarters of German is required before beginning a Krupp Internship. This is the minimum; some hosts might require a higher level of proficiency. Internships tend to be more rewarding for those engineering students – advanced junior, senior, and co-term – who have already taken a number of engineering courses; product design students must have a portfolio of work proofs. Past internship hosts have included: Bosch, BMW, 3M Germany, Siemens, Volkswagen, Yahoo! Deutschland, and Fraunhofer Institutes for Mechanical Engineers and computer scientists; Bayer, Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GmbH, Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, and Max-Planck-Institutes for Chemical Engineers; Bosch, LuraTech, Sennheiser, and Siemens for Electrical Engineers; Hochtief, Corporation for Sustainable Building Technology (GFÖB/Arcadis Deutschland), Berlin Senat Department for Urban Development, and Fraunhofer Institutes for Architects and Civil Engineers; and Brandenburg Economic Development Board Potsdam, Continental Automotive, Greiner Ingenieurberatung, Rolls Royce Deutschland, and VCM Venture Capital Management for Management Science & Engineering students. After returning to campus students can work with the Department of German Studies to reflect on their internship experiences in writing and earn academic credit for doing so. See https://undergrad.stanford.edu/programs/bosp/explore/berlin/about-program/overview and http://www.stanford.fu-berlin.de/ for program details and internship profiles. Because all coursework at the Berlin Center satisfies German Studies departmental requirements for the major and minor, some engineering students who have studied in Berlin have even graduated with a German Studies minor or double major.

In some quarters, a Stanford engineering professor will teach at the Berlin Center. During these quarters, one or more engineering-oriented courses are taught in addition to the regular course offerings in German history, culture and economics. Mechanical Engineering Professors Edward Carryer and Sheri Sheppard will teach in Berlin in Spring Quarter 2014-15. ENGR 40 and ENGR 50 are offered as tutored video courses every quarter.


Now open in Winter, Spring and Summer Quarters, the BOSP program in Cape Town introduces students to the people, history, politics, and culture of post-apartheid South Africa, with an emphasis on initiatives undertaken and challenges faced by an emerging democracy. Service learning, encouraged for all students, is core to the program enabling students to contribute to development efforts of the Center's NGO partners, activists and residents of Cape Town communities as they learn about them and their work. When integrated with critical reflection and concurrent coursework, these opportunities deepen learning about South Africa and the ethics and practice of service in such contexts and help ensure that the program and its participants positively impact citizens and communities of the Western Cape. Students may also elect to participate in the Program’s Community-Based Partnership Research program and undertake investigations into information needs of the partners.

Engineering School students have participated in the Cape Town program consistently since it opened in 2010. Some of these students find that they can explore their major interests through service-learning activities that include: investigation of water quality and distribution policies; environmental analysis and activism; mathematics instruction, etc. Others use the service-learning program as a time to explore other interests outside their major. Beginning in 2014-15, engineering students can enroll in one SCPD course from a selected list. For additional details, please see https://undergrad.stanford.edu/programs/bosp/explore/search-courses


It was the most integrated academic experience I’ve ever had; I truly felt like I was learning every moment of the day. My classes, almost all about modern Italy, dovetailed with each other, but also dealt with issues I was confronting every day in the newspapers, with my Italian “family,” with Italian friends and in movies and music.
—BOSP Florence Alum

Home to important innovators such as Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Brunelleschi, the city of Florence provides unique intellectual and visual resources for students in different fields. In particular, it offers engineering students unparalleled opportunities to study the techniques and the innovations of the Renaissance engineers that brought about great marvels such as Brunelleschi’s Cupola. Qualified students can also elect to participate in academic internships in engineering, architecture, product design and related fields (to learn more please email fosca@stanford.firenze.it). The program is structured to integrate students as fully as possible into Italian culture through homestays, language partners, and volunteer work during the Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters. A minimum of one year of Italian (ITALLANG 3) is required. A version of ENGR 50 is currently offered all three quarters as tutored video with the support of an on-site engineering professor and his own on-campus counterpart. Beginning in 2014-15, engineering students can enroll in one SCPD course from a selected list. For additional details, please see https://undergrad.stanford.edu/programs/bosp/explore/search-courses


My mentor was the only female engineer and she was terrific. She is still a source of inspiration to me, and we have kept in contact since. I learned more about Japanese companies by being there than you can ever learn in books . . . during everyday experiences like the morning group meeting to the relatively rare, like the group “off–site” sleepover party at a hot spring spa.
—Kyoto-SCTI Alum

The Stanford Program in Kyoto was founded in collaboration with the School of Engineering, and has since provided students of engineering the opportunity to fit language immersion and practical classroom experience into their busy schedules. The program is designed for students with intellectual interests in the structure and politics of advanced economic and technological systems, in Japan’s unique energy-environment situation, and in exploring aspects of contemporary Japanese society and it cultural underpinnings. For students with technical specialties, the program helps them understand the professional value of developing a linguistic and cultural competence that facilitates interaction with Japanese while simultaneously complementing their technical abilities. The program is open both Winter and Spring Quarters. In Spring Quarter, an electronic version of ENGR 261 is offered with the support of an on-site graduate student from Electrical Engineering and ENGR 40 is also offered as a tutored video course. Beginning in 2014-15, engineering students can enroll in one SCPD course from a selected list. For additional details, please see https://undergrad.stanford.edu/programs/bosp/explore/search-courses

Minimum language requirements for Kyoto differ depending on whether a student chooses to complete the optional summer internship and whether an internship is technical or non- technical in nature. Students not intending to complete an internship or those interested in a technical internship must complete one quarter of five-unit JLCC (JAPANLNG 1) prior to Winter enrollment or two quarters of five-unit JLCC (JAPANLNG 2) prior to Spring quarter enrollment. Students participating in a technical internship must complete the third quarter of first year Japanese either on campus (JAPANLNG 3) or in Kyoto (OSPKYOTO 3K) prior to the summer internship. Students proposing internships in non-technical fields must complete four quarters of five-unit JLCC (JAPANLNG 21) prior to Winter quarter enrollment or five quarters prior to Spring quarter enrollment. The final quarter of the second-year sequence can be taken either on campus (JAPANLNG 23) or in Kyoto (OSPKYOTO 23K). Please note that the requirements for non-technical internships are currently under review.

The Internship Coordinator works to place all students in fully funded internships (accommodation and stipend provided) related to their academic and career interests. Student interns are expected to participate in the internship in Japan from late June for a 10-week period. Interns are placed in organizations of all sizes and structures, from multinationals such as Hitachi, NEC, Fujitsu and Kawasaki, to national leaders such as Rakuten, KVH, DeNA and Akebono Brake Corporation, through to entrepreneurial start-ups such as Appirits and NaviPlus. The program also strives to place students with highly specialized interests in appropriate organizations, with past placements including Keiko University Hospital, a family-run taiko drum shop, and an organic farm.


The program in Madrid is open Autumn, Winter and Spring Quarters and has a language requirement of one year of Spanish (SPANLANG 3 or SPANLANG 2A). In addition to opportunities to explore Spain’s history and culture through a variety of humanities, health and social science courses, the Madrid program offers engineering students with sufficient language fluency the possibility of enrolling in courses at the Universidad Politécnica, one of Spain’s premier engineering universities. Its Industrial Engineering School is close to the Stanford Center and offers courses that are of interest to Stanford students. Students can also participate in academic internships as part of the course “Integration into Spanish Society.” Beginning in 2014-15, engineering students can enroll in one SCPD course from a selected list. For additional details, please see https://undergrad.stanford.edu/programs/bosp/explore/search-courses


My academic work at Oxford reached a level of intensity that was difficult to attain at Stanford because the one on one tutorials forced me to focus my research interest into a coherent investigation of a single question. I have never been so excited to do research in my life because Oxford gave me a brilliant and energetic teacher that met with me individually for two to three hours per week. It was the first time that I ever felt like I had a part in the learning process because the classes were driven solely by my input and interest.
—BOSP Oxford Alum

The Stanford program in Oxford is offered in Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters, and each student takes a tutorial as a regular part of the program. As the characteristic pedagogical method for undergraduates at Oxford, the tutorial is a highly personalized, demanding, and rewarding form of instruction that involves weekly meetings between a student (or, occasionally, two students) and a member of the Oxford academic community. Tutorials on selected topics in engineering, including architecture and computer science, are sometimes possible. The BOSP website has a list that students can review to see the range of tutorials. Beginning in 2014-15, engineering students can enroll in one SCPD course from a selected list. For additional details, please see https://undergrad.stanford.edu/programs/bosp/explore/search-courses


Studying in Paris was incredible and I think impossible to completely understand unless experienced. Not only was having classes in French in a French university setting interesting, but it seemed like the entire city acted like a classroom. All academic, artistic, social, and cultural experiences are part of the program.
—BOSP Paris Alum

The Bing Overseas Studies Program, the School of Engineering, and the Department of French and Italian are working together to provide opportunities for engineering students studying in Paris. The Stanford Program in Paris is located in the Institut Supérieur d’Électronique de Paris (ISEP). ENGR 40 is offered as a tutored video course in Autumn and Spring and ENGR 50 in all three quarters. Students in these courses meet weekly for tutoring with a member of the ISEP or another engineering school faculty member. Beginning in 2014-15, engineering students can enroll in one SCPD course from a selected list. For additional details, please see https://undergrad.stanford.edu/programs/bosp/explore/search-courses

One year of college-level French (FRENLANG 3) is required and students with two years of college-level French will have access to additional engineering courses taught in French. Internship arrangements are continuously being expanded in France. One of the newest academic internship offerings involves participation in an Electronic Engineering Lab during the Autumn, Winter, or Spring, Quarters. To be eligible for this internship, students are expected to have some background in electronics or microelectronics. These new research internships are financed by French companies or hospitals and are excellent ways to pursue research in your field in Paris while getting to know French and international researchers at the ISEP, your host institution. They include research in the fields of image processing, robotics connection, radio digitalization, and object tracking. A second network of internships is based on students' specific interests and requests and can accommodate the diverse interests of engineering students. These require students spend two quarters in Paris, either Autumn and Winter or Winter and Spring. The first quarter is devoted to gauging students' interests and preparing for the experience, the second, to the internships themselves.


With ecosystems extending from the desert to the Antarctic, Chile incorporates a unique range of environments. Located in Santiago, the BOSP program is open Spring, Summer and Autumn Quarters with the majority of its courses taught in Spanish. A thematic quarter with a focus in the areas of ecology and urban planning has been offered since Spring Quarter 2012-13. A Civil and Environmental Engineering approved course on Chilean energy management and policy is offered in Summer Quarter. Internships can be arranged with organizations concerned with renewable energies and seismic technology. Through the language-partner program, Stanford students interact with Chilean students, often engineering students, to develop their language skills. Students who stay for two quarters (Summer and Autumn Quarters), and have a high level of Spanish proficiency, can take courses, including engineering courses, at the two major local universities, the Universidad de Chile, and the Universidad Católica de Chile. The language requirement is one year of Spanish (SPANLANG 3 or SPANLANG 2A). Beginning in 2014-15, engineering students can enroll in one SCPD course from a selected list. For additional details, please see https://undergrad.stanford.edu/programs/bosp/explore/search-courses


For those students who want to get an initial taste of being overseas, BOSP offers Overseas Seminars. These seminars provide the opportunity for 12-15 students to participate in an intensive, three-week course taught by Stanford faculty. The seminars, offered for two units of Summer Quarter credit, focus on locally relevant topics and include travel within a particular region to supplement class work. Seminar locations for 2013-14 were in Brazil. Ecuador, England, France, Italy and the Netherlands. Each year, there will be a changing array of seminars offered in a variety of locations. For additional information please see http://bosp.stanford.edu/seminars.


In addition to the programs mentioned above, the Bing Overseas Studies Program also offers a Winter Quarter program in Istanbul and consortium programs in Barcelona (CASB), where students can take up to 3 science and engineering classes in Spanish/Catalan at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-UPC, and in Kyoto (KCJS). Keep in mind that in any quarter of study, Stanford Engineering faculty members may be faculty-in-residence at one of the BOSP programs, thus providing expanded opportunities for engineering students.

For students interested in information on non-Stanford programs, a BOSP staff member can advise you regarding the processes involved when studying in a non-Stanford program and applying for transfer credit.

Information about applications and deadlines can be found at http://bosp.stanford.edu as well as complete and up-to-date descriptions of BOSP opportunities and the range of academic options offered overseas.

For information on scholarships for study and research abroad or overseas internships and short-term work, see the “Summer Employment and Career Planning” section later in this handbook.

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