Accelerated program prepares engineers for job market
Aug. 20, 2007
KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University will soon offer an option that gets at the heart of what executives say they most want new mechanical engineers to have--advanced technical training.
This fall, the University will introduce an accelerated bachelor's/master's degree option in mechanical engineering for career-minded mechanical and aeronautical engineering majors.
The program seamlessly dovetails undergraduate and graduate course work, giving qualified majors in those disciplines a chance to enroll at WMU as freshmen and leave five years later with a master's as well as a bachelor's degree.
"An estimated 60 percent of those now graduating from engineering programs will eventually get a master's degree. Industry is looking for more and more graduates with the kind of technical skills you only acquire in graduate school," says Dr. Timothy Greene, dean of WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
"In today's highly technical climate, companies need people with specialized expertise who can provide innovation and a competitive advantage. Our accelerated mechanical engineering program gives students that specialized expertise, and in the shortest amount of time possible."
That makes the accelerated option an appealing career track for talented, highly motivated undergraduate students, notes Dr. Parviz Merati, chairperson of the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering.
"It's an opportunity for our top-notch engineering undergraduates to shorten by a year the time it would take to earn a master's degree," says Merati, who serves as the accelerated program's undergraduate advisor.
"WMU's engineering school already has a reputation for producing highly competent graduates who can make immediate contributions to their employers. The accelerated program is another way we're giving them an edge and preparing them for future success," Merati adds.
"When our students leave this program, they'll stand out because they'll have a master's degree in hand--proof beyond a shadow of a doubt that they're exceptionally focused, hard working and capable people."
During their undergraduate careers, students in the accelerated program may substitute up to 12 credit hours of graduate course work for undergraduate course work. Once they enter graduate school, they're able to quickly move through their master's degree requirements because they've already taken several graduate classes.
For the substituted courses to count, those participating in the accelerated program must maintain a good grade point average as well as finish their master's degree within two years of finishing a bachelor's degree in either mechanical or aeronautical engineering. The total amount of combined credits students need to earn varies slightly, depending on whether or not they elect to complete a graduate-level thesis.
"One of the great things about the accelerated program is that it allows us to admit students to the graduate program earlier than normal," Merati says. "This enhances the overall quality and value of the program because students are better able to plan their studies and we're better able to integrate our undergraduate and graduate courses."
For more information, contact Dr. Koorosh Naghshineh, graduate advisor for the accelerated bachelor's/master's degree in mechanical engineering, at email@example.com or (269) 386-3431.
Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org