June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Continuing Professional Development
14.863.1 - 14.863.8
Master of Engineering Program as a Mechanism to Provide Relevant Graduate Education to Working Professionals
The paper describes a new degree program, the Master of Engineering (MEng) Program, and compares this new program with the traditional MS program. The characteristics of the new program are presented and the advantages for working professionals are discussed. The outcomes achieved in the initial offering of the program are also described.
Need for the Program
The report Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers states “A world of work that has become more interdisciplinary, collaborative, and global requires that we produce young people who are adaptable and flexible, as well as technically proficient”1. Today’s engineers must be integrators of knowledge, able to innovate and collaborate in an interdisciplinary environment. Major change in the engineering education system is necessary if it is to meet the needs of the nation and the world in the coming century. Recent national reports on engineering education 1,2,3,4,5 stress the need for flexible graduate programs focusing on advanced practice and the world of work of the future. Bordogna5 puts it this way “There is a growing consensus that professional engineers need an integrative masters degree and that our universities need to offer more practice oriented masters degree programs that have stronger connections to industry and to the social, economic and management sciences”. From these sources and our own conversations with technical organizations, there is clear and compelling evidence for the need for a graduate program specifically targeted to the needs of working professionals.
Surveys conducted by both Northern Arizona University 6 and JACMET7 indicate that there is a need and market demand for practice-oriented graduate education. The results indicate that course length should be shorter than the typical three-hour graduate course. In addition, place- bound graduate engineers would like to operate in a virtual university climate, that is, be able to access course material 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
The National Science Foundation8, in a report entitled Higher Education in Science and Engineering: Graduate S&E Students and Degrees in the United States - Overall Trends in Graduate Enrollment states that “Terminal master’s degree programs might be viewed as the science equivalents of master’s degree programs in business administration. Although these programs have existed for many years, industrial and academic interest is growing in programs that prepare students to enter emerging science and engineering (S&E) fields as skilled professionals.”
In preparation for establishing the new program, the College of Engineering at the University of Cincinnati prepared an educational needs assessment to quantitatively measure the interest in the proposed master of engineering program. The assessment was made available to College alumni through a web-mediated survey.
Rutz, E., & Keener, T. (2009, June), Master Of Engineering Program As A Mechanism To Provide Relevant Graduate Education To Working Professionals Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/4653
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