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A Model Bi Directional Integrated Foreign Engineering Exchange Program: Functional Details For Success

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Engineering Education; An International Perspective

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.69.1 - 8.69.6



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Paper Authors

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Holger Dahms

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Stefan Bartels

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John Gassert

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Jens Thiedke

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Owe Petersen

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2003-1338

A Model Bi-Directional Integrated International Engineering Exchange Program: Functional Details for Success

Owe Petersen, John Gassert / Stefan Bartels, Holger Dahms, Jens Thiedke Milwaukee School of Engineering, USA / Fachhochschule Lübeck, German


This paper describes the essential functional issues addressed, and the methods and decisions used to resolve those issues, to successfully implement a unique bi-directional international student exchange program in Electrical Engineering between the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) and the Fachhochschule Lübeck (FHL), University of Applied Sciences.

Prior papers and presentations provided the general outlines of the international student exchange program or primarily focused on details related to the ABET accreditation process.1-4 The latter is a crucial issue since every degree path must meet all EC2000 accreditation criteria. Over 100 students have participated in the program since its inception in 1994. All but one student successfully completed all requirements of the exchange program and received degrees from both MSOE and the FHL.


Many universities offer opportunities to study in a foreign country. The organization of the student exchange programs range from a university serving as a gathering point and providing an umbrella program for students from many institutions to universities establishing a presence in a foreign country and exporting their own faculty to teach courses. Other institutions have a coordinated program of study that includes formal consideration of how the study abroad experience at a foreign university advances the student’s progress towards a degree.

The Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) and the Fachhochschule Lübeck (FHL), University of Applied Sciences, Lübeck, Germany jointly developed and implemented a unique international student exchange program in the discipline of Electrical Engineering (EE). The uniqueness of the program lies in the fact that it is fully integrated into the EE curriculum of both institutions and constitutes a specific degree path at both institutions. Graduation is not delayed for students who participate and successfully complete the prescribed academic requirements.

The international student exchange program was developed and completely implemented in approximately 1-year. Many issues had to be resolved, some anticipated and others initially unforeseen. The successful implementation of an international student exchange program clearly hinges on the details – “The devil is in the details.” One normally thinks in terms of simply having students take courses and transferring them to the home institution. But the curricula of both institutions must be sufficiently similar in order to allow a coordination of courses and structure that will achieve the educational objectives of both institutions, i.e., basic decisions had to be made regarding how the exchange curriculum would fit into the home curriculum.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Dahms, H., & Bartels, S., & Gassert, J., & Thiedke, J., & Petersen, O. (2003, June), A Model Bi Directional Integrated Foreign Engineering Exchange Program: Functional Details For Success Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11577

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