The role and latitude of the engineering profession is changing rapidly. Global issues, technological innovation, expansion of discipline boundaries, and increased professional expectations are transforming what engineers do and how they do it. Society is demanding more than discipline specific technical knowledge. The earliest engineering disciplines, civil, mechanical and electrical, have given rise to distinct engineering specialties and application‐based disciplines. Many contemporary engineering problems are considered to be multi‐disciplinary in nature and require systems thinking in problem formulation and solution. It is clear that we must educate engineering students for a technological era of increased scope, scale and complexity. Future engineering expertise will be required at a higher intellectual level than currently provided. Research and anecdotal information identify a trend in the demand for graduate level education prior to entering the workforce that encompasses both hard technical and soft non-technical skills.
To address the increasing industry demand for workers to have advanced education and the accompanying increase in undergraduate engineering enrollment, the [Institution] developed new MS graduate degrees in three programs to meet demands. By employing a multi-disciplinary approach existing non-technical graduate degree courses, focusing on management and leadership, that can be taken to fulfill electives better prepare graduate students to meet employer and industry requirements. As a result, MS engineering programs have seen increased enrollments and partnerships with other departments and industry connections. Various elective tracts provide the opportunity for students to earn graduate certificates in soft skills in addition to technical MS degree in just 10 courses. Given that the target population are working professionals, students take courses in the evening and can complete a MS degree in less than two years. This paper discusses the development of the three new MS programs with specific details on the mechanical program for technical course work paired with the project management for non-technical coursework. Additional details are provided on the development of online offerings for future students who do not have the option for face to face classes. Qualitative and quantitative student feedback are also discussed, showing the positive impact the programs have on engineering, as well as students’ positive perceptions of the programs for preparation of professional skills.
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