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Engineering Technology Masters Program: Thesis Required!

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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

5.272.1 - 5.272.6

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Albert B. Grubbs

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Michael R. Kozak

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

Session 3247

Engineering Technology Masters Program: Thesis Required! Albert B. Grubbs, Jr., Michael R. Kozak University of North Texas


Not a single Engineering Technology doctoral degree-granting program could be located in the United States by the authors. Therefore, it could be argued, and has been, that the master’s degree is the terminal degree for Engineering Technology. In many programs located at doctoral granting institutions, a doctoral degree is either implicitly or practically required for tenure and promotion. Two recent national studies, conducted by the authors, indicate a near drastic shortage of Engineering Technology faculty for four-year colleges and universities. As a result, some institutions are "solving" this problem by requiring only a masters degree - knowing that most individuals who posses only a masters degree have not completed a thesis - and, in many situations, are expecting these people to compete in a university’s research-dominated environment. For those graduates that enter or remain in industry, degree requirements that are based solely on completion of courses without the requirement for the student to conduct and report on a meaningful applications-oriented project may result in graduates that are not representative of the mission of engineering technology. A possible solution is to require a thesis that emphasizes application research in every masters degree program in Engineering Technology. Beginning in 1994, the Engineering Technology Department faculty at the University of North Texas approved a thesis-only masters program.

I. Industrial Influence

The knowledge and skills required for functioning in industrial organizations are changing. In order to remain on the cutting edge of the profession, graduate curricula must be constantly reviewed. Today’s business administration programs do not focus on the development of technical competencies, and engineering programs place little emphasis on management skills1. However, to make informed and intelligent decisions, managers must understand technology and be able to analyze available technological information2. One of the definitive characteristics of engineering technologists is the ability to plan, implement, interpret, and report on technical projects involving the application of existing or developing technology for solving industrial problems.

II. The University Environment

According to Curtis and Latif3, degree programs are identified in a university’s mission statement according to the following criteria: program priorities, instruction enhancement, collaborative ventures, efficiency and effectiveness, and service and research functions. While a university’s primary focus may be on teaching and learning, the university is committed to offering training, applied research and other services that support local business and industry.

Grubbs, A. B., & Kozak, M. R. (2000, June), Engineering Technology Masters Program: Thesis Required! Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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