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Science & Engineering Profile

Otterbein offers the smartest way to learn. Think that’s a bold claim? It is. And it’s true.

Choosing a college is all about finding the right fit. And while many of those “fit” factors focus on finding the place where you feel most at home, another critical factor is determining which university you believe will do the best job in helping you get ready for life after school. 

At Otterbein being ready means our students have a start on a great career path; they have the life skills, knowledge, and experience that will translate to success in work and in life; and, ultimately, they are prepared to lead lives of purpose. (You will, of course, have fun and make great friends too!) 

Academic reputation matters. In fact, in a national survey* students like you all across the country said it was the most important factor in making their college choice.

So if you’ve ever asked yourself, “Does how I learn matter?” the answer is: yes. It does. And here’s why Otterbein students enjoy the smartest way to learn.

It starts with your major...
You’ll go in depth with your studies at Otterbein, guided by professors whose mission goes beyond just teaching. They’re invested in you and the individual you have the potential to become. 

Otterbein’s enviable 11:1 student-faculty ratio makes “personal” the rule. Professors know your name at Otterbein. But they also know your goals, your talents, your weaknesses, and how to get you from where you are to where you need to be so you can succeed. 

Dr. Halard Lescinsky, professor of Biology and Earth Science, says professors are passionate about what they do and always look for new opportunities to help their students learn. “Our department prides itself on being a learning community. Students and faculty work side-by-side, both in and out of the classroom. Whether it is in the lab, at the zoo, in the local stream, or even on a field course in Costa Rica or research in Panama, the faculty love to do science, and we are looking for engaged students to join us.”

Philip Kellogg, a Physics major, can attest to the importance of the personal attention he’s received. “The professors not only know your name but also know you as a person. They are always willing to help you with homework, applications, scheduling or any academic issues. Not only are they willing to help, they are actually around to do so.” 

Cara Hardy, a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major, has also been supported by faculty during her time at Otterbein. “Dr. John Tansey has helped me write research proposals to get funding and given me the opportunity to present my research at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting in Boston. He opens the door and lets you make the choice of whether or not you’ll walk in.”

That’s a major difference for your studies at Otterbein. It really is personal here. 

Otterbein offers more than 70 majors and 40 minors, including a variety of science and technology majors such as Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Zoo and Conservation Science, Equine Science, and Computer Science, as well as the new Systems Engineering program. 

Launched in fall 2015, the Systems Engineering major combines the principles of mechanical, industrial, and electrical engineering. The program focuses on task-oriented team projects, which create truly engaging learning exercises where students consider all aspects of the problem as parts of a system and apply theory, economics, and practical and cultural experiences to find solutions.

Next, Otterbein’s curriculum...
Some schools call their curriculum the “general education” requirements. Otterbein’s academic curriculum is anything but general.  

In fact, the American Association of Colleges and Universities, the nation’s authority on undergraduate education, has described Otterbein’s Integrative Studies curriculum as the model they wish other schools would follow. 

Beth Rigel Daugherty, professor of English and one of Otterbein’s “Master Teachers,” described the pairing of your major course of study with your Integrative Studies (IS) curriculum as serving a critical function. 

“Your major keeps you from becoming dangerously superficial, whereas IS courses keep you from becoming dangerously narrow,” Daugherty said.

The entire purpose of Otterbein’s IS curriculum is to prepare you for a rapidly shifting marketplace and world. 

It’s not enough anymore to be an expert at simply one thing. According to Wendy Sherman Heckler, Otterbein’s Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of University Programs, to really be competitive and relevant, you have to know how it all works together.

“A truly well-rounded education is necessary in an age when students could change careers multiple times,” Sherman Heckler explained. 

Gary Maul, Director of the new Systems Engineering program, agrees and says a liberal arts education will allow Otterbein Engineering students to stand out in the industry. 

“You can’t solve problems in engineering today from one discipline,” Maul says. “At Otterbein we’ve created an approach to learning that will produce well-rounded graduates with a strong grasp of engineering fundamentals accompanied by a broad understanding of the complex nature of those problems.” 

Finally, it’s the Otterbein experience...
Otterbein is nationally recognized for its expertise and commitment to hands-on learning—or our “Five Cardinal Experiences.” It comes down to making sure you have experiences in the field—applying what you’ve learned in the classroom or lab to real-world situations. 

At Otterbein this kind of experiential learning is about much more than answering a phone so you can list an internship on a résumé or just visiting someplace exotic. Otterbein believes in connecting students to life-changing experiences that are as unique as each one of our 2,400 undergraduates.

These experiences might mean that you conduct research with your faculty mentor and professional researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital like Jacob Bowman when he was only a sophomore. Or it could be that you study elephant behavior at the Tucson Zoo like Matt Vieth. Or it could mean that you gain professional insight as an intern at the BASF Corporation like Stephanie Gnewuch. Or study sea anemones and crustaceans alongside an alumnus in Bermuda. Or perhaps spend a summer interning with one of the industrial supporters of Otterbein’s Systems Engineering program, such as Honda or Nestlé PTC.

Leading a life of purpose
What makes Otterbein the smartest way to learn? 

It’s the way an Otterbein education prepares you for how things work in the real world. We’re not only an academic model; our graduates possess the experience, knowledge, and attributes that the nation’s employers said they most desire in new hires from college.**

Otterbein will prepare you to lead a life of purpose. You’ll graduate from Otterbein with more than a career—you’ll leave with a calling. When you join our model community, you’ll find Otterbein graduates are leaders in their professions and their communities who care about serving the common good. Our 25,181 alumni around the world are shining examples and are ready to mentor your next steps.

Ready to learn more? Hear from Otterbein students and take a virtual tour at You can call Admission at 614-823-1500 or plan your visit online at

* “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2012,” CIRP Freshman Survey, 2012

** “It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success,” an online survey conducted on behalf of the Association of American Colleges and Universities by Hart Research Associates



Otterbein is a private, coeducational, comprehensive liberal arts institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Otterbein has welcomed all learners since 1847 and is one of the first universities in the nation to have included women as faculty and students since its founding. 


• Located in Westerville, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus

• Ranked as the fifth-friendliest town by Forbes in 2012


• Ranked in the top 10% among the 149 schools in its category in the 2015 U.S. News & World Report guide to “America’s Best Colleges”

• Recognized by Washington Monthly as a top school for contributions to the public good 

• Recognized by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for its commitment to community service and service learning


• 2,900 students (2,400 undergraduate, 500 graduate) 

• More than 35% of the incoming freshman class are student-athletes.

• 21 men’s and women’s athletic teams

• 100+ student organizations to join

• 11:1 student-faculty ratio

• 18–20 average class size


• More than 70 majors and 40 minors

• Distinctive programs: Allied Health; Equine Science; Theatre and Dance; Zoo and Conservation Science; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 

• Popular programs: Systems Engineering, Business, Education, Nursing, Biology, Psychology, Communication 

• New programs: Mechanical Engineering*, Environmental Health and Safety Engineering*, Engineering Physics*

• 96% of respondents from a survey of the Class of 2015 were either employed or continuing their education in graduate school within six months of graduation.


• Use Otterbein’s affordability estimator to predict the type of aid you might receive:

• 99% of Otterbein freshmen receive some form of merit and/or need-based aid:


* pending final approval by state and regional accrediting bodies