The interdisciplinary engineering program allows the student to focus his/her studies in a disciplinary area that may transcend traditional disciplines. The interdisciplinary engineering areas often encompass emerging technologies. Plans of study for such students often include coursework outside of engineering.
The interdisciplinary program maintains the educational philosophy of all B.S.E. degree programs at Grand Valley to provide the student with a broad engineering background first and then an area of specialization later in the program. This provides students with the diversity of preparation to work in the interdisciplinary environment that is prevalent today.
Integral to all four years of the program is a “design and build” educational philosophy incorporated through extensive laboratory and project activities as preparation for professional practice. Students engage in design at all levels of the curriculum. At each level they must realize their designs and proceed with testing, validation, and redesign. This approach allows students to experience many real-world constraints such as project economics, project planning and scheduling, environmental considerations, manufacturability/producibility of the designs, laboratory and product safety, and product reliability.
The interdisciplinary program provides the student with the broad foundation common to all of the engineering programs at Grand Valley, followed in the junior and senior years by required courses that can provide preparation in each of the following areas:
- Engineering design
- Engineering materials
- Systems and control
This core is then complemented by a custom program of seven elective courses selected by the student and appropriate program chair to provide focus and a cohesive experience. The proposed electives must ensure that the entire program includes:
- 32 credits of engineering science content
- 16 credits of engineering design content
Some of the electives may be taken from other units at the university. Together, the student and a faculty advisor develop a proposed plan of study meeting the requirements of the interdisciplinary engineering program. If the plan includes coursework to be taken from outside the School of Engineering, then the chair of the appropriate unit is consulted. The plan must be approved by the program chairs of the undergraduate programs in the School of Engineering.
The interdisciplinary engineering major is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org/.
Program Educational Objectives
Graduates of the interdisciplinary engineering program are expected within a few years of graduation to
- Demonstrate technical competency in their careers;
- Function effectively in an industrial or academic environment;
- Engage in professional development; and
- Shape their professions and societies.
Student Outcomes and Assessment
The graduate will demonstrate:
- an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering;
- an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;
- an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs;
- an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams;
- an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems;
- an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility;
- an ability to communicate effectively;
- the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context;
- a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning;
- a knowledge of contemporary issues; and
- an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.