Does Understanding of Engineering Change Significantly with Class Standing?


Engineering Management is a diverse field of engineering that struggles with succinctly describing itself. Inevitably, this lack of definition is impairing student enrollment and employer recruiting. For example, the Engineering Management program at the University of Missouri - Rolla defines Engineering Management as: "Engineering Management is the degree that "bridges the gap" between engineering and management and it is the degree that enables a graduate to work with and through people to get things done. More technically speaking, this is the degree that provides graduates with both excellent technical and managerial skills . The degree, in essence combines a typical engineering education (technical) with key elements of a typical management or business education (managerial)" (, 2007). The U.S. Military Academy however describes Engineering Management as: "Professionals providing engineering solutions to management and leadership problems. Engineering Management majors thoroughly study the engineering relationships between the management tasks of staffing, organizing, planning, and financing, as well as the human element in production, research, service, and Army organizations. This highly relevant, contemporary program builds on the traditional roles of the basic and applied sciences and systems analysis, while emphasizing management functions in a technical setting" (, 2007). The Stevens Institute of Technology Engineering Management program states the following about Engineering Management: "Engineering Management is a rapidly expanding field that combines engineering, technology, and business. Hi-technology companies in the telecommunications, financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and other industries utilize the concepts and tools of engineering management such as project management, quality management, engineering economics and statistical tools. These technologybased companies recruit engineering management graduates for their expertise in these tools and techniques. After only a few years many of these graduates are promoted because they can bridge the gap between business and technology" (, 2007). Each of these definitions gives a lot of information about what they program hopes to achieve through technology and management knowledge, but are all lengthy, and the programs struggle to succinctly say "this is what we are" in an "elevator speech" format. At UMR new engineering students enroll in the Freshmen Engineering Program to complete basic engineering courses for the first two years of their college career. After these courses are completed, the students must declare a major and proceed with courses in that field of engineering. Something similar may be practiced elsewhere in engineering schools. Poor understanding of the various fields of engineering may have negative implications on the choice of major for students at their junior level. This lack of understanding may be forcing the student to make uninformed decisions about their choice of major and ultimately compromising their future careers. To explore the potential impact of student familiarity of engineering and ultimately their choice of major, University of Missouri - Rolla (UMR) freshmen were surveyed as well as upperclassmen to gauge the impact of class level (i.e. - freshman, sophomore, junior, etc) on their familiarity of engineering. Results of this exploration, as well as implication for increased enrollment and retention, are presented.

Meeting Name

28th Annual National Conference of the American Society for Engineering Management (2007: Nov. 7-10, Chattanooga, TN)


Business and Information Technology

Second Department

Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Third Department

Psychological Science


Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA)

Keywords and Phrases

Engineering management; Engineering management majors; Engineering management programs; Engineering solutions; Enrollment; Freshmen; Stevens Institute of Technology; University of Missouri; Bridges; Engineering; Industry; Innovation; Management science; Managers; Professional aspects; Project management; Quality management; Statistical mechanics; Students; Systems analysis; Teaching; Technology; Tools; Engineering education

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2007 American Society for Engineering Management, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

10 Nov 2007

This document is currently not available here.