Interdisciplinary Engineering: Enabling Student Dreams, Broadening Participation in Engineering, and Increasing Student Retention


This paper presents the status of the Interdisciplinary Engineering (IDE) degree program at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), formerly the University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR). The IDE degree was founded in 2005 at UMR to meet the emerging need to provide considerable flexibility to students allowing them to construct programs of study in areas of interest while maintaining a solid and rigorous foundation in mechanics, thermal science, electrical networks and linear systems. Students are able to pursue studying the latest technological fields through a collection of "tracks" enabled by the flexibility of the curriculum. This modern degree program houses energetic motivated students interested in a variety of disciplines from product design and amusement park fundamentals to industrial automation and control. The first students graduated the IDE program in December 2007. This facilitated the evaluation of IDE's current status, preparation of its future plans, and sharing these findings with other universities interested in increasing student retention and broadening their demographic of engineering students. This paper presents statistics detailing the students involved in the IDE program, their educational interests inside the program (i.e. track selection), IDE's budding reputation with potential students as well as its recognition in corporate America and its plans to broaden the popularity of the program. Lessons learned from the curriculum development and implementation will be discussed.

Meeting Name

38th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference (2008: Oct. 22-25, Saratoga Springs, NY)



Keywords and Phrases

Engineering curriculum; Engineering design

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2008 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2008