June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.589.1 - 23.589.13
Factors that Influence Engineering Freshman to Choose Their Engineering MajorAs at many universities, our university (medium sized state-supported comprehensive university) has acommon first year for engineering majors. Engineering disciplines within the college of engineeringand sciences include bioengineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, industrial andsystems engineering, and mechanical engineering. Students with initial interest in any of thesedisciplines enter the university as an “undeclared” engineering major, and are formally in the freshmanengineering design division for the first year. Note that the college of engineering and science alsoincludes computer science, but the computer science discipline has a separate first year experience forfreshmen, due to the differing requirements in that field. All the intended engineering majors enroll ina set of common engineering courses (8 credits total over two semesters), which are intended to exposethe students to all options within engineering at our university, and also to develop their writing andspeaking skills in a technical context. Although enrollments vary from year to year, the averageenrollment over the past four years has been about 300 students. In addition to a large common lecturesection, the students have labs and writing/speaking groups in smaller groups of about 30 students persection. The “Explore Engineering” course includes technical lectures, presentations fromdepartmental representatives, and many hands-on activities.Near the end of the spring semester, all students are asked to select their specific major, from thoseavailable. For the past four years, a survey has been given to the students, asking them about thedegree to which each of 11 factors contributed to their ultimate choice of major. Four factors emergedas the most significant. These include: (1) major already chosen before beginning explore engineeringcourse; (2) perceived societal impact of chosen major; (3) personal interests most closely align withchosen major; and (4) perceived job prospects in chosen major. More detailed analysis of theseresults, and trends over the years this survey has been used, will be given in the paper.
Zahorian, S., & Elmore, M., & Temkin, K. J. (2013, June), Factors that Influence Engineering Freshman to Choose Their Engineering Major Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19603
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