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A Promising Model For Integrating Design In Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.86.1 - 6.86.10



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Paper Authors

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Norman Asper

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Bijan Sepahpour

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

Session 1125

A Promising Model for Integrating Design in Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum Bijan Sepahpour and Norman L. Asper The College of New Jersey


A model for incorporation of a comprehensive design experience into a typical four-year undergraduate engineering curriculum is proposed. This model will provide an evolutionary process through which the students would gain the necessary know-how and a high level of confidence for challenging real world problems. The model has been utilized for the past five years at the College of New Jersey. The success rate of this approach is measured by the performance and creativity level of the two generations of students/graduates who experienced the new environment with both the students/graduates of prior years and students/graduates of other institutions. The foundation of the proposed model is laid in the first semester of the freshman year by introduction of a formal course in fundamentals of engineering design and reinforced in the second semester by a course that brings the elements of liberal arts and humanities into perspective. In the remaining three years of the curriculum, design projects and exercises are strategically incorporated all through the engineering courses - targeting the full spectrum of design parameters. Included in these parameters are “Safety, Manufacturability, Cost Effectiveness, Ergonomics, Analytical and Numerical Optimization, use of Commercial Software, Social, Economic and Environmental Factors, Group Dynamics, Project Management and Global Competition.” In the senior year, the required 2-semester Senior Design Project will challenge the students to fully implement the culminating experience they have gained through the above process.


Engineering education is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of students. As one would expect, many of these changes are initiated and paced by the radical advances in technology. In addition however, engineering education must also consider those subtle changes occurring in the social system, the changes in the needs and wants of the “end user” (consumer), and the changing needs and desires of the engineering professionals. All of these variables place fundamental constraints on the continued development of the engineering education program, and specifically on the engineering design element.

In the past, students graduating from traditional engineering programs were generally well founded in math and physics, and possessed reasonable procedural engineering analysis skills. They had been exposed to some liberal arts, and may have had some teamwork experiences in some type of engineering capstone design course. The educational process however was fundamentally directed at using the student’s mind as a “storage facility”. The resulting problem

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Asper, N., & Sepahpour, B. (2001, June), A Promising Model For Integrating Design In Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9692

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