Colorado School of Mines is launching a new, broad-based Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree this fall that integrates the strength of a Mines technical degree with the flexibility to pursue individual interests and passions.
This will be the first time Mines has offered a general engineering degree since 2012, when the previous iteration was transformed into four separate degree programs for mechanical, electrical, civil and environmental engineering.
The revitalized BSE will give students exposure to the broad fundamentals of science, mathematics and engineering while engaging in significant project-based learning experiences every semester. Flexibility will be a hallmark of the degree, with students able to build their own specialized area of focus or choose from one of six interdisciplinary areas – energy studies, water security, community development, robotics and automation, corporate sustainability, and music, audio engineering and recording arts.
“The Bachelor of Science in Engineering is all about educating the next generation of engineering innovators, design thinkers and impact makers who will be leaders in defining and solving problems,” said John Persichetti, director of the BSE Program and teaching associate professor in the Engineering, Design and Society Division. “The BSE is for students who have a vision of what they want to do with their engineering degree that isn’t directly served by a traditional engineering degree, who want to integrate relevant social science content into that degree, and who are not intimidated by ambiguity or the complexity of tackling real-world problems.”
Core engineering education will cover five fundamental topics – fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, statics, circuits and materials – with a supporting foundation in the humanities and social sciences, including a required communications class. All BSE students will also participate in six semester-long Integrative Design Studios, with the hands-on, human-centered learning experiences culminating in the yearlong Capstone Senior Design Studio.
“These Integrative Design Studios are intended to give students training in and exposure to the fact that in practice engineers must interact with more than the technical challenges of a problem and must often first be ‘problem definers’ before they are problem-solvers,” said Kevin Moore, dean of the College of Engineering and Computational Sciences. “Understanding the context of engineering in today’s world requires understanding the social, political, economic, environmental and cultural impacts of their designs in order to truly make a difference.”
Graduates of the BSE program will be well positioned to work in leadership roles in a wide range of industrial, governmental, academic and non-engineering disciplines, Persichetti said. More than half of recruiters at Mines surveyed a couple years ago said they would be interested in graduates with a BSE.
“Mines graduates are viewed as really being top-notch when it comes to solving problems – we’re just broadening a student’s mindset and exposure to how to solve those problems,” Persichetti said. “Stronger emphasis on communication and leadership skills coupled with design thinking and methodologies that are built and honed through ongoing design studios will provide employers with an engineer who is well equipped to make immediate and meaningful contributions as a new hire.”
Additional BSE focus areas could be added in the future, including pre-med and STEM education.
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