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Engineering Education In Asia The Thailand Example

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

International Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.481.1 - 7.481.8



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Paper Authors

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Mayuree Thespol

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J. Clair Batty

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

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Session XXXX

Engineering Education in Asia—the Thailand Example

J. Clair Batty, Utah State University Mayuree Thespol, Kasetsart University


Since 1985 the number of Bachelor level engineering degrees produced annually in selected Asian countries has increased by more than 60 percent and the yearly production of engineering doctorates has increased by more than 300 percent. The Thailand model is presented as an example of the quality and direction of engineering education in Asia. Thailand is a leader in the observable Asian shift in emphasis to doctoral level engineering education. It is suggested that Asia in general and Thailand in particular are becoming ever more important members of the global engineering education community and that opportunities for collaboration should not be overlooked.


A penchant for science and engineering by Americans of Asian extraction has drawn attention for some time. It has been pointed out, for example, that minorities tend to be a much smaller proportion of scientists and engineers in the United States than they are in the total U.S. population. Asians, however, in 1997 comprised 10 percent of scientists and engineers in the United States although they were only 4 percent of the U.S. population.1 Students from Asian countries tend to dominate the rest of the world on standardized achievement tests in mathematics and science. 2 The number of bachelor level engineering degrees in the U.S. peaked in about 1985 at around 77,000, declined by nearly 20 percent to about 62,000 in 1991 and has remained at about that level until the present. During that same period the number of bachelor level engineering degrees produced in selected Asian countries increased by more than 60 percent from about 200,000 to over 325,000. Engineering BS degrees in the U.S. comprise only about 5 percent of the total number of BS degrees granted in the country. 1 That percentage is generally much higher in Asian countries. For example, in Thailand about 13 percent 3 and in Japan about 19 percent 1 of the BS level degrees granted are in engineering.

Recently Asian countries are placing greatly increased emphasis on doctoral level engineering programs and degrees. Between 1985 and 1997 the number of doctoral degrees granted in engineering in selected Asian countries increased by about 300 percent from 2,000 to 8,000 per year.1 Nearly 50 percent of the doctorates in engineering awarded by U.S. institutions now go to residents of foreign countries4, many of whom are Asians. Clearly something in the culture and/or the development stage of the countries involved is driving these very interesting trends.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Thespol, M., & Batty, J. C. (2002, June), Engineering Education In Asia The Thailand Example Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11138

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