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Dual Degree students enjoy both campuses

Brittany VanSnepson | Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A small group of Saint Mary’s students are getting the best of both worlds as they take Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s courses through participating in the Dual Degree Program.

The Dual Degree Program is a five-year program in which the students attain a bachelor’s degree in math or science at Saint Mary’s and receive another bachelor’s degree in engineering at Notre Dame.

“The program allows us to be an integral part of the Saint Mary’s community while exploring the benefits of a degree at Notre Dame,” Angela Willson, a sophomore in the Dual Degree Program, said. “There is nothing better than coming back to the Saint Mary’s campus and feeling like you are home where you belong.”

The first year of the program immerses students exclusively in Saint Mary’s courses to help them acclimate to college life. Then students start taking classes at Notre Dame during their sophomore year.

“The transition from all Saint Mary’s classes to having classes over at Notre Dame was jarring because it was a big change from attending smaller classes to being in this huge lecture hall with 100 other people,” said Taylor Chamberlain, a sophomore chemistry and chemical engineering double major.

The Dual Degree Program has students taking classes on both campuses throughout their sophomore, junior and senior years. The fifth year of the program has students solely dedicated to taking Notre Dame courses.

“I look forward to continuing more classes at Notre Dame,” Willson said. “When you’re a sophomore in the program, you really haven’t begun to explore your actual intended engineering major.”

All Dual Degree participants must submit an application to Notre Dame in order to finish their fifth year in the program.

“The possibility that I may not be accepted into the fifth year of the program is a constant concern,” Chamberlain said. “But I don’t dwell on it too much because I don’t want to do anything else.”