Media contact: Yvonne Taunton
University of Alabama at Birmingham will begin offering a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a major in engineering design later this year.The
This innovative new program will emphasize design and product development and will include hands-on project-based experiences throughout the curriculum.
The program was approved by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees at its Feb. 7 meeting and will begin accepting its first students this upcoming fall.
“We are very excited to announce this new program, which will be the first of its kind in the state of Alabama,” said UAB’s School of Engineering interim dean, Timothy M. Wick, Ph.D. “This program will offer undergraduate students the flexibility to focus their studies on specific areas of interest in the existing engineering departments, or select from a variety of minors in engineering or other disciplines. The goal is for students to tailor their curriculum to prepare for their professional goals, while still gaining the skills necessary for traditional engineering roles — both as student interns and eventually as professional engineers.”
In addition to the new degree program, the School of Engineering is also creating six new minors in emerging technologies. Students in the Engineering Design program must choose at least one engineering minor. In choosing electives, students may opt for a second minor, which could be from engineering or another non-engineering minor.
“These new minors were created because they represent areas of specialization that have been identified as important to economic development in the state, region and nation,” Wick said. “They represent the school’s consistent effort to make sure our educational outcomes are answering current and future industry demands. The option for a second minor creates great potential for interdisciplinary studies that could also enhance the students’ marketability for a wide range of jobs.”
In addition to the minor requirements, students must take a progression of engineering design courses — 15 hours, plus up to 22 hours of core engineering courses, which are offered by the five other baccalaureate degree-granting programs — Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Materials Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.
The specific objectives of the B.S. in Engineering Design program are to:
- Provide students with a customizable, design-rich accredited engineering degree program for a career in engineering design, product development, entrepreneurship, pre-med, pre-law or related fields;
- Train students to practice engineering that may not fit traditional engineering structures or careers — Project Engineer, Design Engineer, Supply Chain Management, etc.;
- Learn to apply design thinking principles to ideate and solve important societal problems; and,
- Work effectively in interdisciplinary teams.
“Traditional engineering curricula provide a solid foundation in mathematics, science and engineering fundamentals that graduates need to meet job requirements of traditional engineering careers,” Wick said.
“However, traditional engineering graduates may not have a thorough understanding of product innovation, project management, product development and system integration. Our goal for engineering design students is to instill in them the ability to synthesize engineering, business and societal priorities. The program is designed to leverage the strengths and complement the existing programs in the School of Engineering.”