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Engineering Education

Two engineers in training at the
Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress



Engineers utilize the phenomena of science developed by pure scientists to apply to practical situations and improve applications
Engineers invent new technology or renovate technology from the past. The engineering profession differs from the technician profession as engineers build the tools that technicians utilize.

“Engineering is the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences, gained by study, experience, and practice, is applied with judgement to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind”
Definition of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

Students often become interested in following engineering as a career choice as a result of the following characteristics.

1. Success in the mathematics or science classroom environment
2. Advice from a teacher or counselor
3. Family members
4. Employment statistics following college
5. High starting salary
6. Likes to assemble and disassemble things and takes advantage of troubleshooting to solve everyday problems

Regardless of which of the following characteristics attract your interests, this site is designed to inform on the recent trends in education in engineering and to provide valuable resources in engineering education.

Print Source For Further Look:

Gomez, Alan G. A Project-based introduction to engineering. In Engineering your future. 3rd ed. St.Louis, MO, Great Lakes Press, c2012. 794 p.
   Includes bibliographic references
   TA157.G7112 2012 <SciRR>



Besides the conventional school systems or college institutions, online classes offer a depth into the soft skills or fundamentals that reside in an engineering profession and education

Taking classes from the number one engineering major university in the United States?
Very possible!
The site is a compilation of programs from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that are open to the public. MIT offers free access to the majority of its curriculum and teaching tools. Ranging from courses such as Intro to Electrical Engineering to Differential Equations, the site is a foundation builder for individuals to deepen their studies in engineering or entertain their curiosity about the STEM field. Though not in all K-12 education systems, some high schools, even some college institutions, recognize credit from MIT’s Opencourse Software. The program is incredibly useful, as everyone can preview what the classes would be like at MIT.

See Especially: MITOpenCourseware High School Highlights
      By providing courses for high school exam preparations and teacher resources, MIT prepares future prospective high school students for STEM careers.


Including a diverse set of colleges such as the University of Michigan, Columbia University, and University of London, Coursera combines the free online classes offered by top colleges across the world. Many of the courses are able to be completed on a personal time schedule in a specific duration of time for mastery of content. The courses can serve to supplement knowledge or provide a newer perspective to issues. Over 80 courses are in the engineering curriculum and hundred more exist in specific categories.

Examples specific courses include:

Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering Laboratory: Don Johnson, Rice University

Engineering Life: Synbio, Bioethics, and Public Policy: Debra Matthews, Johns Hopkins University

Linear Ciruits: Nathan Frazier and Nelson Baker, Georgia Institute of Technology

An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching: Derek Bruff, Trina McMahon, Bennett Goldberg, and Henry Campa, Vanderbilt University

Introduction to Programming with MATLAB: Akos Ledeczi, Michael Fitzpatrick, and Robert Tairas, Vanderbilt University

Stanford Online High School
Regardless of the discipline in engineering schools across the country, physics and calculus serve as the basis of what is taught in engineering classrooms. Designed specifically for high school students, Stanford teaches college-level calculus and physics to students as an alternative to the classroom. Classes include final exams and authentic credit from Stanford University under continuing studies program. Offered throughout various points in the school year, the program consists of a fall term, summer term, and spring term.

Sources for College Engineering Programs:

Peterson’s graduate programs in engineering and applied sciences. Albany, NY, Nelnet Company, c2014, 623 p.
   L901.P446 2014 <SciRR>

- Through comparing the kind of degrees awarded, financial overview, application statistics, and information on demographics of each education institutions. This reference can be used to choose a college program best suited for one’s needs and interests.

Typical Schedules For Engineering Students in College:

NYU School of Engineering


      Though the courses described are specific to the college at New York University, the curriculum and class schedules for most college students are similar and they can used to prepare yourself for college engineering.




Engineering Studies

   The Taylor and Francis publication stresses upon the critical thinking and the interdisciplinary component of engineering. This journal updates information on the ties between the technical side and nontechnical aspects of engineering. It also provides connection to engineering education resources.

Examples of specific articles:

“A knowledge profile of an engineering occupation: temporal patterns in the use of engineering knowledge” Julie Gainsburg, Carlos Rodriguez-Lluesma, and Diane Bailey

“Doing gender in engineering workplace cultures. II. Gender in/authenticity and the in/visibility paradox” Wendy Faulkner

“Success, recruitment, and retention of academically elite women students without STEM backgrounds in US undergraduate engineering education” Lisa A. McLoughlin

International Journal of STEM Education

   Through referencing modern research on education patterns at collegiate levels and primary school levels, trends in the STEM education can be learned and implemented. The journal, through articles, release information on good curriculums and learning environments.

“The landscape of Pre-K12 engineering online resources for teachers: global trends” Aikaterani Bagiati, So Yoon, Demetra Evangelou, Alejandra Magana, Garene Kaloustein, and Jiabin Zhu

“Meteorology meets engineering: an interdisciplinary STEM education module for middle and early secondary school students” Bradford Barrett, Angela Moran, and John Woods

“A comparative analysis of the relationship between learning styles and mathematics performance” Vania Ma and Xin Ma


As globalization takes place in the workplace, complicated links are required between the conventional occupations that have existed. Ranging from Art-Engineering Majors to Business-Engineering Majors, dual-degree programs and major-minor curriculums have been designed by modern colleges to answer the need.

Specifically with engineering, a lot of skills from business is required to carry out successful projects. The practical world is nothing much like the classroom environment. Students learn skills required in courses such as Project Management, that teaches on the control of money, people, and time prior to the start of real engineering. Much of the dual-degree programs tied in with engineering, is with business, as they provide insight to successfully carrying out a project from an economical and timely standpoint.

Lock, Dennis. Project Management. 10th ed. Burlington, VT, Gower, c2013. 550 p.
   Includes bibliographic references
   T56.8.L6 2013

Print Sources on Interdisciplinary Education

Klein, Julie T. Creating Interdisciplinary Cultures: model for strength and sustainability. San Francisco, CA, Joey Boss Association of American Colleges and Universities, c2010. 208 p.
   Includes bibliographical references
   LB2361.5.K54 2010

Acquisition of entrepreneurial skills through research in technology and engineering management. Llorin, Kwara State, Kwara State Polytechnic, c2010. 233 p.
   Includes bibliographical references
   TA5.A37 2010

Ross School of Business (University of Michigan)
   For the students of the College of Engineering, College of Literature, Arts, and Science, School of Kinesiology, Penny W.Stamps School of Arts and Design, and the School of Music, Dance, and Theatre, the Ross School of Business offers dual-major options. Once accepted into both of the colleges, the student can select a home-school and carry out a plan for a dual major with their advisor. Though rigorous and requiring extra terms of school, the dual-major option at the University of Michigan allows for students to fulfill requirements in both majors and pursue a interdisciplinary education

Jerome Fisher M & T Program (University of Pennsylvania)
   Serving as the oldest dual-major program at the University of Pennsylvania, the management and technology program was one of the first in the country to combine the two innovative areas of study together. By studying the intersection and how it affects everyday lives, students tend to have a strong vision that UPENN likes to boast as practical.

Charles H.Dyson School of Engineering (Cornell University)
   Specifically designed for engineering students by the Dyson School of Engineering, students who declare their intent to minor can take classes at the business school. With required 7 courses from the Dyson School of Business, engineering students can graduate with a minor in business along with a major in engineering. Started by the donors of the alumni of Cornell, it represents the recent trends of top colleges in the United States.


   In 2012, women earned approximately 18.9 percent of engineering degrees in the United States, a growth from the 17.9 percent in 2009. The amount of enrollment also increased by 0.9%. Furthermore the participation in engineering degrees by under represented women has nearly doubled.

   Despite the overall imbalance of females in the engineering workforce, the percentage of admission into engineering programs for females are higher at the bachelor level, masters level, and graduate level. It is therefore of significant value that the K-12 education system can reduce the many of the stereotypes regarding the engineering majors and expose STEM education to female students at an earlier level.

Print Resources for Outlook on Women in STEM Fields:

Schiebinger, Londa. Gendered innovations in science and engineering. Stanford, CA, Stanford Press, c2008. 244
   Q130.G467 2008

Layne, Margaret E. Women in engineering: professional life. Reston, VA, American Society of Civil Engineers, c2009. 247 p.
   TA157.W676 2009

Societies related to women in engineering:

SWE: Society of Women Engineers
   By providing resources and public policy support, the SWE fulfills its mission of helping women to demonstrate their full potential in the work place and create an image of engineering as a positive difference in the lives of women. Provides connections for development in the workforce and legal support.

WISE Campaign: Women in Science and Engineering
   Often found in different engineering colleges across the nation, the WISE programs offer various workshops, panels, and programs to inform incoming college students about the engineering major and generate interest. It helps female students to choose a disciple in engineering and provide mentoring through the alumni networks.

MIT Women’s Initiative For Students
   Following its mission to increase the percentage of females in the engineering workforce, MIT lists the resources and summer programs that pre-collegiate females students can follow to prepare themselves for a STEM education in college.



   There is a significant disparity between the number of engineering students currently and the expected amount of open jobs according to predictions. With the academic K-12 curriculum, most of the time left in hands of the local school boards, it is important that there are guidelines to implement STEM education at the K-12 level.

For Teachers

   There are several advantages to teaching the STEM curriculum at the K-12 level in comparison with the traditional science and mathematics based curriculum. STEM offers a more applicable aspect to the lessons learned in the science and mathematics classroom. Indirectly, by providing design projects, engineering encourages problem solving and communication skill development within teams. Furthermore the hands-on aspects also attract the attention of students with ease.

Engineering in pre-college settings. synthesizing research, policy, and practices. Purzer, Senay, Strobel, Johannes, and Cardella Monica E. West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University Press, c2014. 457 p.    Includes bibliographical references
   By adding insight into the templates often used by current engineering teachers in projects, curriculum design, and plans for funding, Engineering in Pre-College Settings provides a strong foundation for starting educators to build upon.

Wankat, Phillip C., and Frank S. Oreovicz. Teaching engineering. West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University Press, c2015, 482 p.
   Includes bibliographical references
   T73.W18 2015
   Going into a profounder aspect of the engineering implementation into K-12 curriculum, the book provides suggestions by steps in designing a classroom. Ranging from lectures to arranged field-trips, K-12 teacher can look to this book for specific help on a wide variety of tips.

Honey, Margaret, Greg Pearson, and Heidi Scweingruber. STEM integration in K-12 education: status, prospect, and an agenda for research. Washington, The National Academies Press, c2014. 165 p.
   Includes bibliographical references
   Q183.3.A1S733 2014

Sneider, Carl L. The Go-to guide for designing for engineering curricula, grades 9-12, choosing and using the best materials for your students. Thousand Oaks, California, Corwin: A Sage Company, c2015. 195 p.
   Includes bibliographical references
   TA153.G59 2015

Helpful Internet Resource for High Schools:

   Rather than a broad planning overview of the curriculum, this source offers teacher-collaborated learning modules to aid the school curriculum in STEM fields. Through the National Science Foundation funding, TeachingEngineering has free resources to labs and activities that apply the fundamentals learned in class, for a step closer to the STEM education.

Project Lead the Way (PLTW)
   The online resource above provides the courses that prospective engineers in high schools will take during their 4 years. Starting with Engineering Design and ending in a capstone project, the program is a model that was designed for school systems to install as a whole. Details can be found for registration in the “our programs” tab in the website.

Innovative Curriculum for Engineering in High Schools (American Society for Engineering Education): PDF File
   Proposed in 2012 at the annual meeting of American Society for Engineering Education, the PDF file proposes a curriculum schedule for 9th-12th grade called the ICE-HS learning design. In 9th grade, engineering thought is mixed with traditional sciences. 10th grade is equipped with lessons in various disciples of engineering. 11th grade emphasizes on managing projects. 12th grade revolves around creating a successful engineering project to indicate learning upon completion. It follows a bigger process called learning by design

More Sources:

American Society for Engineering Education

K-12 Science Education

Helpful Internet Resources for Middle Schools:

The Engineering Place

Engineering Go For It




   According to the statistics from National Math and Science Initiative, 38% of students who enter University-level STEM majors do not graduate with a STEM degree. These numbers indicate an engineering education is tough at the college level and its important for high school students to prepare their best for the rigor and acceptance into the increasingly popular STEM field.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Admissions
   The site gives insight into the kinds of science that should be taken at high school. MIT gives tips for most students to finish calculus and physics before arriving in their curriculum, as many other engineering schools do.

Try Engineering Insight Page
   See especially: What Courses Should I take in High School and How to Choose the Correct College

The following table represents an example of an ideal high school schedule for prospective engineering students.


9th Grade

10th Grade

11th Grade

12th Grade

Mathematics Classes

Algebra 2



AP Calculus AB

AP Calculus BC

Science Classes

Honors Physics

Honors Earth Science

Honors Chemistry

Honors Biology

AP Physics

AP Chemistry

AP Chemistry

AP Biology

Alternative Options

Technical Drawing

AP Environmental

Architectural Drawing

AP Computer Science

Engineering Ethics

Engineering Drawing

Engineering Project Class

AP Environmental

Humanity Studies

Honors English 9

Honors World History

Honors English 10

AP World History

AP English Language and Composition

AP United States History

AP English Literature and Composition

AP US Government and Policies

Key Points to Remember:

  • Some schools do not require the intermediary step of AP Calculus AB, therefore it is important to take AP Calculus BC in 11th grade and look through local colleges or online programs to continue into differential calculus or other college-level mathematics
  • Look at every opportunity to double-up in mathematics and science courses
  • Even if humanity studies are not the main focus of engineering students, solid writing skills are stressed by top engineering classes and are the main mode of communication between engineers.
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   August 6, 2015
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