A new major in engineering design at top-ranked Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is adding even more real-world value to the already-practical study of engineering.
Believed to be the first such bachelor’s degree program in the country, the engineering design curriculum combines design studio classes, junior-year off-campus partnerships with industry, and hands-on experience with machine shops, rapid prototyping, software programming, and computer-aided design.
The program was created in response to the rapidly changing engineering landscape, says program director Patsy Brackin, an award-winning engineering educator. Increasingly, she says, the lines between traditional disciplines—such as electrical, mechanical and computer science—are blurring. Many of today’s mechanical products now employ microcontrollers and software, and engineers need to be comfortable working across those technical boundaries.
“We need this sort of broad-based engineer who can communicate across disciplines and understand the hands-on aspects of design,” says Brackin.