A university is an institution that educates a student to better prepare them to work in the field that they choose. The best curriculum varies for each student, but it is necessary that the students have some experience in the working environment before they set out on their own. For engineers, strong working skills of your major and internships are essential to survive in today s society. A successful engineer must also take additional courses writing and computer technology and spend no less than five years in the university. The ideal engineering student would go above and beyond the academic requirements for completing their major and would have working experience in the field that they choose.
As an electrical engineering student at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), I have been exposed to a curriculum that gives students more exposure to other areas of the field. The curriculum includes more technical writing and computer technology courses that will help students prepare for the tasks performed by an actual engineer. Some corporations, such as Alcar, are even making courses in communication, technology, and management into prerequisites to work in the industry. These types of courses are especially gratifying because they qualify students for better jobs and allow students to express their ideas more clearly. These traditionally non-engineering courses have now become necessary to complete the best possible engineering education.
Linda Geppart supports my theory of a wider spectrum of classes in her article, Educating the Renaissance Engineer. Geppart believes that engineers may have their areas of specialty, but they need exposure to other areas as well. For example, an engineer must have at least a working knowledge of other technologies so they know where to seek help to solve a problem. Also, many engineers are needed in other professional areas such as marketing, manufacturing, development, and research. This means that engineers need to have communication and writing skills , said Jin Park, professor of electrical engineering at Yonsei University (in Geppart, p.16). Progress in communications and technology keeps raising the level of knowledge that engineers need today.
Another step to the ideal education would require the students to have experience working in the field they have chosen. Many Universities are giving their students the option to have an internship to fulfill the academic requirements for that semester. My brother, a computer engineering major at Creighton University, has the choice to take an internship the final semester of his junior year. Mentioned in the Geppart article was how many universities in Europe are requiring their students to have internships. In Germany, it is mandatory for the electrical engineering students to spend at least a half-year in the industry. An internship is an extremely valuable part of an engineering education and should be integrated into more Universities. On-the-job experience gives students a chance to work on real projects in an industrial environment. The students working in the actual industry are far better off than the students learning similar material at a desk are because they will have hands on experience doing the work of an actual engineer. Work experience is a crucial part of any education. The time when most colleges allow internships is at the end of the junior year. This way, the students will be able to focus on the topics that they need for that job or a similar one. Some companies will even pay for your last years of college or for your certification, in order to bring you back.
In order to receive the best education possible, a student should be able to choose their own electives in their major, especially since many students decide to go into different fields of work later on. Many schools such as Carnegie Mellon University are adapting this into their curriculum and letting their students customize their own education. Most students would obtain much more knowledge in classes they were actually interested in than those they were getting out of the way to fulfill their graduation requirements. I find myself working a lot harder in classes that I am interested in than those that I am not interested in. The notion of choosing your own electives is also very important for those who want to pursue their bachelor s degree with a degree in another field such as medicine or business.
Finally, four years is not a lot of time to receive the best education. A student should stay in a university long enough to get a masters degree or a double major, which would usually be about five years. UCSB offers many different five-year programs including a combination engineering degree with a business degree or an engineering degree with a computer science degree. Also available at UCSB, like in many universities, are the higher education programs like the master s degree or a PHD. It is essential for universities to offer such programs to give students the opportunity to obtain the ideal education. The expanded program at UCSB does not allow the students to pick many classes outside the requirements because the double major takes up almost all of the time. But the ability to broaden the spectrum of classes a student takes lies in the individual student. A student could still graduate in less time by taking summer courses.
The ideal student would complete the requirements for their major and take extra classes to widen the spectrum of their knowledge in their line of work. The model student would also spend some amount of time working in the field that the have chosen. The best curriculum differs for each student depending on their major but it is vital that they spend no less than five years in the university to complete higher education and get, at least, a master s degree. The more each individual student puts into their college career, the better it will pay off for him or her in the future.