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Enhancing Student Retention in Undergraduate Engineering Programs – A Case Study

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Study Abroad, International Experience, Exchange Programs and Student Retention

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.538.1 - 23.538.7



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Paper Authors


Ahmed Imran Ajman Univeristy of Science & Technology, UAE

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Dr. Imran's fields of interest include Engineering Education and Biomedical Engineering.

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Mohamed Nasor M. Kalil


Fahar G. M. Hayati Ajman University of Science & Technology

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Professor Fahar Hayati received his B.Eng. degree with honors from Sheffield University in Electronic Engineering in 1966 and the Ph.D. degree from Edinburgh University, Scotland in 1971. Since 1969 he has been extensively involved in the engineering profession and engineering educatuion. His main interest presently is in the area of renewable energy and also in engineering education. Since July, 2000 he has been the Dean of the College of Engineering at Ajman University of Science & Technology (AUST) in the UAE.

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Enhancing Student Retention in Undergraduate Engineering Programs – A Case StudyStudent retention in undergraduate engineering programs is an issue of concern globally.However, there is a lack of systematic studies to understand the factors that might influence suchretention. In this case study, statistical data was used from three accredited undergraduateengineering programs (in Electronics, Communication and Biomedical Engineering) to analyzeand compare two distinct groups of students for various patterns related to program enrollment,retention and attrition. Group A (GA) students were admitted during the six-year period 2000–2005. Group B (GB) students were admitted during the six-year period 2006–2011. Thedifference between the two groups was that from the academic year 2006–07 major changeswere introduced in the programs related to admission and program completion requirements aswell as related to the curriculum design and contents. Cumulative data until the first semester ofthe academic year 2012–13 was analyzed.The total intake for GA was 15% more than that for GB. The student retention was 48% for GAand 76% for GB. This is a significant improvement in the retention of students for GB over GA.Further, from those students who aborted their programs, 53% of attrition for GA and 73% ofattrition for GB occurred in the first year of admission. This observation suggests thatsignificantly higher percentage of students in GB were in a position to take an early decisionabout continuing or aborting their respective program. These patterns of student retention and ofthe first year attrition were strikingly similar for each of the three programs when analyzedindividually.The analysis suggests that the retention of undergraduate engineering students could beinfluenced by admission requirements, program completion requirements and curriculum designand contents. Further, first year students require more attention.

Imran, A., & Kalil, M. N. M., & Hayati, F. G. M. (2013, June), Enhancing Student Retention in Undergraduate Engineering Programs – A Case Study Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19552

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