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An Engineering Degree Program With Flexibility Designed For Student Centered Learning

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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

Issues in Multidisciplinary Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.192.1 - 8.192.5



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Paper Authors

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Sheryl Sorby

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

Session 1380

An Accredited Engineering Degree Program with Flexibility Designed for Student-Centered Learning

Sheryl A. Sorby College of Engineering Michigan Technological University Houghton, Michigan


The Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) program at Michigan Tech has been around since the early 70s. We have recently restructured our BSE program to allow students flexibility in pur- suing their interests outside of engineering. We also think that this new structure will enable us to use the BSE program as an “incubator” for future engineering programs we may wish to develop. The BSE program is fully accredited by ABET and consists of courses in four areas: 1) a General Education core, 2) a Math and science core, 3) an Engineering core, and 4) an Engineering Emphasis area. The engineering emphasis area provides students with upper-division coursework in a single discipline and enables them to pursue graduate studies within that discipline if they desire. As part of the new BSE program requirements, students are also required to complete directed electives, in an area generally outside of engineering itself. The directed electives are typ- ically in a university minor or certification area. This paper describes our BSE program and pro- vides data on students currently enrolled in it.


Engineering programs typically have very little room in the curriculum for students to make choices for interests they might have outside of their disciplines. This lack of flexibility likely acts as a deterrent for some students who might otherwise choose engineering. This inflexibility also often acts as a deterrent in the development of new, cutting-edge engineering programs.

Prior to EC2000, accreditation standards were focused on extensive quantitative requirements. Engineering programs were required to have a certain number of hours in several topics in order to obtain accreditation. Now, however, ABET has embraced outcomes-based education and has significantly reduced the amount of bean counting required in the design of engineering curricula. According to current ABET standards [1], in order for an engineering program to be accredited, students must complete the following coursework:

• One year of a combination of college level math and basic sciences (some with experimental experiences) appropriate to the discipline • One and one-half years of engineering topics, consisting of engineering sciences and engi- neering design appropriate to the student's field of study, and

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

Sorby, S. (2003, June), An Engineering Degree Program With Flexibility Designed For Student Centered Learning Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11603

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