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Changes In Engineering Education In The United Kingdom

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.142.1 - 5.142.10



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Paper Authors

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William Shepherd

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Brian Manhire

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Darwin Liang

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

Session 3460

Changes in Engineering Education in the United Kingdom

Darwin Liang*, William Shepherd**, Brian Manhire** *University of Bradford, UK / **Ohio University, USA


This paper provides an overview of the current status of engineering education in the United Kingdom. A comparison of traditional undergraduate and post-graduate engineering pro- grammes offered by universities and technical polytechnics against proposed engineering & technology programs is highlighted in view of recent changes. In addition, current issues in- cluding student enrolment and graduates’ professional development are described.

I. Introduction

The last thirty years, from the 1960s to the 1990s, have been ones of rapid change for UK higher education, especially in the realm of engineering education. The changes have con- cerned mainly externally driven issues of supply and demand, finance, structure and delivery modes. Internal issues such as the value and purpose of what is taught and how it is taught have also been subjected to changes. The external political changes have produced a greatly enlarged mass higher education system with a participation rate approaching that of the U.S.A., but without corresponding increase of funding. Moreover, the educational sector still retains many of the values of the former, rather elitist, system whereby higher education was for a relatively privileged few who were selected for their academic ability. These imbalances are the cause of many of the tensions that U.K. engineering education now experiences13.

II. The Robbins and Dearing Reports

In the former period, the Robbins Report (1963) was a landmark for the changes in the 1960s, whilst changes in the later period 1989-94 are likely to be associated with the publication of the Dearing Report (1997). Let us examine their respective contributions in more detail. The five years following the publication of the Robbins report saw13:

• an expansion of student numbers and funding which in percentage terms more than matches recent experience; • the creation of new universities; • the transformation of the colleges of advanced technology into universities; • announcements that established the polytechnics and the Open University; • the establishment of the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) and of a new Department of Education and Science (DES); • a substantial increase in overseas student fees

Shepherd, W., & Manhire, B., & Liang, D. (2000, June), Changes In Engineering Education In The United Kingdom Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8203

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