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The Current Status And Uses Of The General (Undesignated) Engineering Program With A Case Study

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Issues in Multidisciplinary Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1113.1 - 8.1113.9



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Paper Authors

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Byron Newberry

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James Farison

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

Session 1380

The Current Status and Uses of the General (Undesignated) Engineering Program with a Case Study

James Farison, Byron Newberry

Department of Engineering, Baylor University, Waco TX


In this paper we discuss several important aspects of the category of engineering programs named simply Engineering (or General Engineering) or Engineering Science, in contrast to programs with a designated disciplinary focus, such as Electrical Engineering or Mechanical Engineering. Our purpose is to explore the role such undesignated, or general, engineering programs play in the overall scheme of engineering education. Our analysis of the general Engineering programs consists of two parts. First, we present a survey of the current status of these programs nationally. We then present a case study of the Baylor University general Engineering program, with which we will illustrate some of the trends found from the national survey.


There are currently 48 engineering programs offered at U.S. institutions with ABET/EAC accreditation under the name Engineering, General Engineering, Engineering Science, or Engineering Sciences. Such programs are often characterized by a more general or interdisciplinary nature, and are distinct from designated programs in not having to satisfy individual program criteria in addition to the basic criteria for ABET accreditation. The latter is also true of Engineering Physics programs, but these are not included here since the “Physics” designation is often significant; i.e., it represents a real program emphasis in the discipline of physics. The Engineering, General Engineering, Engineering Science and Engineering Sciences programs are hereinafter collectively referred to as “general Engineering” programs, while the lowercase use of “engineering” will refer to any or all types of engineering programs.

We can hypothesize that general Engineering programs exist primarily for one of two reasons. First, when an institution begins its initial program in engineering, the program may be small and more general than it is specialized, and fits naturally the general Engineering name; or, an institution, as a consequence of either its mission or its administrative structure, may choose to continue a general Engineering program as its only engineering program. Second, an institution may offer, for specific programmatic reasons, a general Engineering program alongside one or more designated engineering programs. Frequently this is to provide additional flexibility in the curriculum for students with unique career interests; or the general Engineering program may be used as an incubator for developing new designated engineering programs.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition ©2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Newberry, B., & Farison, J. (2003, June), The Current Status And Uses Of The General (Undesignated) Engineering Program With A Case Study Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11835

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