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Strengthening The U.S. Engineering Workforce For Technology Innovation: Why The Professional Graduate Degree In Engineering

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Professional Graduate Education and Industry

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1078.1 - 14.1078.9



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Paper Authors

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Roger Olson Rolls-Royce Corporation

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Donald Keating University of South Carolina

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Thomas Stanford University of South Carolina

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

Strengthening the U.S. Engineering Workforce for Innovation: Why the Professional Graduate Degree in Engineering?

1. Introduction

This is the third of four invited papers prepared for the National Collaborative panel session concerning the deliberate advancement of professional engineering graduate education relevant to the needs of creative engineering practice in industry to enhance U.S. technological innovation and competitiveness. The paper sets a solid foundation and educational philosophy of professional engineering graduate education specifically designed to encourage, inspire, and enable the continued professional growth of the nation’s engineers, working in industry, beyond the baccalaureate entry-level [level 1 and 2]. It differentiates between the traditional aims of graduate education for scientific research for academic/research positions and those of advanced professional engineering graduate education for engineering leadership positions in industry for effective technology development innovation, and other creative engineering works.

The comparison differentiates between the traditional Master of Science and PhD degrees for scientific research, and the professional Master and Doctor of Engineering degrees for growth in professional, creative, and innovative engineering practice. This comparison extends through the professional Master of Engineering [M.Eng. level 3], and the professional Doctor of Engineering [D.Eng. level 4-6]. Professional Fellow levels [level 7-9] of responsible engineering responsibility and leadership are generally conferred by an engineer's employer.

The paper also builds on the positive outcomes already established as best practice in other nations, such as the UK for professional M.Eng. and D.Eng. programs. While taking best practice and lessons learned from the UK model, the National Collaborative is building a model specific to the needs of U.S. engineers in industry to properly enable their skills, and to promote lifelong learning, development and growth throughout a graduate engineer’s professional career. Creative engineers enhance their skills beyond their highest attained degree, although coherent advanced degree programs are beneficial to properly hone these skills, and to enable practitioners to achieve their fullest creative potential for effective leadership of engineering innovation.

2. What is a Professional Graduate Degree in Engineering?

A professional graduate degree in engineering for the practicing engineer in industry is designed to help the engineer advance in the field of applied engineering, whereas today's engineering graduate degree more frequently prepares students for advanced careers in the academic/research arena. A professional graduate degree in engineering will provide an engineer in industry a path towards either engineering management; or a deeper knowledge in a chosen specialty such as aerodynamics, structural mechanics, or computational fluid mechanics.

3. Why is a Professional Graduate Degree in Engineering needed?

Olson, R., & Keating, D., & Stanford, T. (2009, June), Strengthening The U.S. Engineering Workforce For Technology Innovation: Why The Professional Graduate Degree In Engineering Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4764

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