June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.29.1 - 12.29.9
A Culminating Experience Model for Master’s Students in Engineering Management
Most graduate schools that offer Master’s Degrees require some sort of culminating experience. These culminating experiences usually consist of a thesis or project, or an examination based on certain core courses. Department of Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Management (MSEM) at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) offers Master’s Degrees in Engineering Management. The program is offered both in residential mode and online mode. Students in both programs must satisfy the same admission requirements and must fulfill a culminating experience course. This culminating experience is individually designed between each student and his/her faculty advisor. Each student selects two case studies from a pool of developed case studies. These case studies have been designed to allow students to demonstrate their ability to utilize and apply the knowledge and skills gained throughout the Master of Science in Engineering Management degree program. This paper describes the process that students go through during the culminating experience course and expresses how the case studies were developed. It explains a set of underlying beliefs that give life to courses and guide program implementation. Finally it presents a set of issues important in transferring the experience to other graduate schools who offer engineering management programs. This culminating experience model replaces a comprehensive exam.
Engineering Management as a discipline is relatively new and well-represented by its own professional society, the American Society for Engineering Management. The first program was established in 1915, but by the mid-1970s, only 22 universities were offering this program. The American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM) reported that there are over one hundred universities offering Engineering Management masters programs1. As the value of these programs became apparent, their number began to increase rapidly.
Engineering Management, as a discipline, evolved from the need to provide a link between the managers and engineers of all types. A quick review of master program descriptions describes EM programs as providing a strong engineering core with additional studies in management, technology and business related courses. Hicks et. al.2 classified Engineering Management masters programs into three groups. One group focused on traditional management concepts such as planning, marketing, accounting, etc. The second group focused on mathematical concepts including operations research, probabilistic models, and risk/decision analysis, etc. and the third one focused on behavioral management comprising motivation, project management, leadership, engineering management, etc.
The department of Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Management (MSEM) at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) has a unique role in southern California. The Engineering Management program at Cal State Northridge offers courses in Engineering Management, Decision/Risk Analysis, Statistical Analysis, Operations Research, Economic Analysis, Financial
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