Wichita State University’s College of Engineering has updated one of its programs to create a more strategic career pathway for its graduates and meet the needs of business and industry. Effective fall 2023, the new applied engineering program — formerly engineering technology — has been adapted based on feedback from employers and alumni.
Applied engineering will be classified by the accreditation authority, ABET, in the general engineering category and move to the new 14.0103 Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code, making graduates eligible to pursue their Professional Engineer (PE) licenses in Kansas and elsewhere.
“Feedback provided by both our Industrial Advisory Board and alumni was that our graduates would be more employable and have more career pathway options if they were able to earn their PE licenses,” said Dr. Gary Brooking, department chair. “This is particularly the case for graduates pursuing careers with companies that have traditionally structured engineering policies, such as consulting companies, or going into sustainability and environmental engineering.”
To be eligible for accreditation through ABET’s Engineering Accreditation Commission, the department had to ensure each academic track met the program requirements for math, science and technical courses, as well as replace “technology” with “engineering” in the program name. The department took this opportunity to also assess the entire program curriculum and make further adjustments to better align with industry demands.
For some academic tracks, two additional courses have been added. For other academic tracks, there are a few more course changes. The names of the academic focus areas have also been updated. The civil engineering focus has been recast to sustainability and environmental engineering; the mechatronics focus has been updated to process automation; and the engineering technology management focus has been reconfigured to engineering management.
“Despite some changes, the overall emphasis of hands-on learning has not changed,” Brooking said. “In fact, our IAB and alumni were adamant that the practical nature of the program should not change, which is what helped us choose the new program name.”
The college selected the applied engineering program name since students gain hands-on experience coupled with theory in fundamental engineering concepts, while more traditional engineering programs place greater emphasis on the mathematical analysis of ideal systems.
“Engineering is hands-on, and the program name change emphasizes that the applied engineering program contains more practice than the six other engineering programs,” said Anthony Muscat, the dean of the college. “We look forward to our students continuing to get that valuable hands-on experience while also being able to pursue their PE licenses.”
Students currently enrolled in the engineering technology tracks can choose to remain in their original degree program or they can opt to move to the new applied engineering program prior to their graduation, ensuring they meet any additional requirements.
About Wichita State University
Wichita State University is Kansas' only urban public research university, enrolling almost 22,000 students between its main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.
Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.
The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.