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Study Abroad Programs In Mechanical Engineering

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

International Exchange/Joint Programs in Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1171.1 - 11.1171.13



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Paper Authors


Jan Helge Bøhn Virginia Tech

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Jan Helge Bøhn is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech. He received his BS in Computer Science, and his MS and PhD in Computer and Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, in 1988, 1989, and 1993, respectively. Prof. Bøhn's research centers about geometric modeling, software engineering, and the engineering design process.

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Manfred Hampe Technische Universitaet Darmstadt

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Manfred J. Hampe graduated as chemical engineer from Technische Universität Clausthal, Germany, in 1976. He received his PhD from Technische Universität München, Germany, in 1980. He worked at Bayer AG, Leverkusen, Germany, as a process engineer. Since 1995, he has been the full professor of Chemical and Process Engineering at Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany. His research interest focuses on mass transfer processes.

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

Study Abroad Programs in Mechanical Engineering


The Technische Universität Darmstadt (Germany) and Virginia Tech (USA) view the bilateral exchange of students with their respective academic programs, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, to be the cornerstone and foundation needed to support successful and sustainable joint-research activities. They also view such programs as a prime opportunity to benchmark each other’s academic programs, thus providing a thorough, global benchmark to complement their respective portfolios of domestic benchmark partners. It is in this context that these two research universities have developed a bilateral senior year abroad program and a dual Master of Science degree program in Mechanical Engineering, both in which the students study in the language of the host university and graduate on schedule. This paper describes the design of these two programs.

Keywords: International education; Study abroad; Dual degree program


The objectives of engineering education are evolving and becoming ever more challenging to meet. As the frontiers and complexities of engineering grow and increase, there is pressure to include increasingly more technical content into the curriculum. At the same time, there is strong pressure to improve the on-schedule graduation rate by reducing the number of credits required for graduation. Engineering programs have furthermore been challenged over the past several years to produce graduates that are articulate and that can function well on multidisciplinary teams; in essence, the quintessential renaissance engineer capable of mastering just about any challenge coming his or her way. A recent addition to this mix is the need to produce engineering graduates that are globally competitive and poised to succeed in the global engineering market place.

It is difficult to learn and understand another culture without experiencing it first hand. Universities have long since realized this and offered their students the opportunity to study abroad. The concept of junior year abroad in liberal arts is well established; with students taking courses abroad and transferring the credits earned back into what for engineers are incredibly flexible curricula. In contrast, the typical solution for engineering students has been to increase the duration of their studies in order to accommodate a study abroad experience. Hence, the study abroad participation rate among engineering students has significantly trailed that of liberal arts students. For instance, at Virginia Tech, which is one of the largest producers of undergraduate engineers in the USA, only 1.7% of its engineering students study abroad, compared to 15% its of non-engineers.

Bøhn, J. H., & Hampe, M. (2006, June), Study Abroad Programs In Mechanical Engineering Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--925

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