Engineering is the 21st Century Liberal Studies Degree

A discussion about restating the role of engineering graduates as leaders and world changers is an important and timely one. STEM disciplines, particularly engineering, have benefited from labour market surveys that identify the need for qualified technologists and engineers.

This employability has lead to a perilous argument, which is unfortunately not inconsistent with the views of many academics.

Regrettably, as a consequence, engineering is not viewed by some influential individuals as a rigorous and thoughtful discipline. Rather, it is considered to be an enhanced employability program, which requires hard work and is simply embedded within a university.

McMaster Engineering refutes this viewpoint. We bring nous and skills.

In other words, we provide opportunities for students and scholars to examine, understand, communicate and act to improve our world. We address the great challenges that face our society and produce solutions that combine social responsibility with technological advances.

While we are fortunate that engineers are employable during these difficult times for the global economy, our graduates are also thinkers, change agents and leaders.  Engineering degree programs are well suited to educate exceptional students and facilitate their progress towards remarkable career paths.

Our view is consistent with the emphasis that we place on both experiential and problem based learning and on open inquiry, as well as on teaching and learning within a research intensive environment.

Besides, for some, an attitude that denigrates the learning in engineering arises from a classist perspective, reflecting a bias against those who require and seek opportunity.  Three different studies, two conducted in the U.S. and one based on U.K. data, show that individuals from lower-income households tend to choose “useful” studies. Engineering is such a useful discipline.

McMaster Engineering will continue to develop new degree pathways that are topical. Our Faculty will continue to expand the reach of experiential learning, problem based learning and open inquiry into the undergraduate and graduate curricula.

We talk the talk and walk the walk.


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