A para/professional approach to restructuring engineering education

James M. Tien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Engineering education is beset by many of the same challenges that have affected American industry. Much has been recommended and implemented to improve engineering education. However, the traditional structure of engineering education remains, even though current exigencies require a fundamental restructuring. A Para/Professional Model is proposed in this paper as an alternative to the traditional structure; it serves to mitigate the growing cost of education, to overcome the declining quality of high school graduates, to meet the growing need for professional engineers, and to enhance the link between research and engineering education. While the proposed Para/Professional Model is consistent with those advocating a five-year engineering higher education program leading to a Master's degree, it is novel in that it suggests formally breaking up the program into a two-year and a threeyear component, leading, respectively, to a para-engineering degree and a professional (i.e. Master's) degree. Further, the para/professional approach is responsive to the needs of the 21st century and should enhance the engineering profession and raise the self-esteem of US engineers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-127
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Engineering education
  • Graduate education
  • Para-engineering degree
  • Professional education
  • Undergraduate curricula

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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