ACCREDITATION BOARD FOR ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY 2000
The following material is reprinted from Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs, effective for evaluations during the 2000–2001 accreditation cycle, revised March 18, 2000. (Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore MD 21202, pages 4–6.)
I.C.3.d. While ABET favors a flexible approach to the design of curricular content, it also recognizes the need for specific coverage in each curricular area. These are:
I.C.3.d.(1) Mathematics and Basic Sciences
I.C.3.d.(1)(a) Studies in mathematics must be beyond trigonometry and must emphasize mathematical concepts and principles rather than computation. These studies must include differential and integral calculus and differential equations. Additional work is encouraged in one or more of the subjects of probability and statistics, linear algebra, numerical analysis, and advanced calculus.
I.C.3.d.(1)(b) The objective of the studies in basic sciences is to acquire fundamental knowledge about nature and its phenomena, including quantitative expression. These studies must include both general chemistry and calculus-based general physics at appropriate levels, with at least a two-semester (or equivalent) sequence of study in either area. Also, additional work in life sciences, earth sciences, and/or advanced chemistry or physics may be utilized to satisfy the basic sciences requirement, as appropriate for various engineering disciplines.
I.C.3.d.(1)(c) Course work devoted to developing skills in the use of computers or computer programming may not be used to satisfy the mathematics/basic sciences requirement.
I.C.3.d.(2) Humanities and Social Sciences
I.C.3.d.(2)(a) Studies in the humanities and social sciences serve not only to meet the objectives of a broad education but also to meet the objectives of the engineering profession. Therefore, studies in the humanities and social sciences must be planned to reflect a rationale or fulfill an objective appropriate to the engineering profession and the institution’s educational objectives. In the interests of making engineers fully aware of their social responsibilities and better able to consider related factors in the decision making process, institutions must require course work in the humanities and social sciences as an integral part of the engineering program. This philosophy cannot be overemphasized. To satisfy this requirement, the courses selected must provide both breadth and depth and not be limited to a selection of unrelated introductory courses.
I.C.3.d.(2)(b) Such course work must meet the generally accepted definitions that humanities are the branches of knowledge concerned with man and his culture, while social sciences are the studies of individual relationships in and to society. Examples of traditional subjects in these areas are philosophy, religions, history, literature, fine arts, sociology, psychology, political science, anthropology, economics, and foreign languages other than English or a student’s native language. Nontraditional subjects are exemplified by courses such as technology and human affairs, history of technology, and professional ethics and social responsibility. Courses that instill cultural values are acceptable, while routine exercises of personal draft are not. Consequently, courses that involve performance must be accompanied by theory or history of the subject.
I.C.3.d.(2)(c) Subjects such as accounting, industrial management, finance, personnel administration, engineering economy, and military training may be appropriately
included either as required or elective courses in engineering curricula to satisfy desired program objectives of the institution. However, such courses usually do not fulfill the objectives desired of the humanities and social sciences content.
I.C.3.d.(3) Engineering Topics
I.C.3.d.(3)(a) Engineering topics include subjects in the engineering sciences and engineering design.
I.C.3.d.(3)(b) The engineering sciences have their roots in mathematics and basic sciences but carry knowledge further toward creative application. These studies provide a bridge between mathematics and basic sciences on the one hand and engineering practice on the other. Such subjects include mechanics, thermodynamics, electrical and electronic circuits, materials science, transport phenomena, and computer science (other than computer programming skills), along with other subjects depending upon the discipline. While it is recognized some subject areas may be taught from the standpoint of either the basic sciences or engineering sciences, the ultimate determination of the engineering science content is based upon the extent to which there is extension of knowledge toward creative application. In order to promote breadth, the curriculum must include at least one engineering course outside the major disciplinary area.
I.C.3.d.(3)(c) Engineering design is the process of devising a system, component, or process to meet desired needs. It is a decision making process (often iterative), in which the basic sciences and mathematics and engineering sciences are applied to convert resources optimally to meet a stated objective. Among the fundamental elements of the design process are the establishment of objectives and criteria, synthesis, analysis, construction, testing, and evaluation. The engineering design component of a curriculum must include most of the following features: development of student creativity, use of open-ended problems, development and use of modern design theory and methodology, formulation of design problem statements and specifications, consideration of alternative solutions, feasibility considerations, production processes, concurrent engineering design, and detailed system descriptions. Further, it is essential to include a variety of realistic constraints, such as economic factors, safety, reliability, aesthetics, ethics, and social impact.
I.C.3.d.(3)(d) Each educational program must include a meaningful, major engineering design experience that builds upon the fundamental concepts of mathematics, basic sciences, the humanities and social sciences, engineering topics, and communication skills. The scope of the design experience within a program should match the requirements of practice within that discipline. The major design experience should be taught in section sizes that are small enough to allow interaction between teacher and student. This does not imply that all design work must be done in isolation by individual students; team efforts are encouraged where appropriate. Design cannot be taught in one course; it is an experience that must grow with the student’s development. A meaningful, major design experience means that, at some point when the student’s academic development is nearly complete, there should be a design experience that both focuses the student’s attention on professional practice and is drawn from past course work. Inevitably, this means a course, or a project, or a thesis that focuses upon design. “Meaningful” implies that the design experience is significant within the student’s major and that it draws upon previous course work, but not necessarily upon every course taken by the student.
I.C.3.d.(3)(e) The public, from catalog statements and other advising documents, and ABET, from the self-study questionnaire, should be able to discern the goals of a program and the logic of the selection of the engineering topics in the program. In particular, the institution must describe how the design experience is developed and integrated throughout the curriculum, show that it is consistent with the objectives of the program as required by section I.C.2. above, and identify the major, meaningful design experiences in the curriculum.
I.C.3.d.(3)(f) Course work devoted to developing drafting skills may not be used to satisfy the engineering design requirement.
I.C.3.e. Other courses, which are not predominantly mathematics, basic sciences, the humanities and social sciences, or engineering topics, may be considered by the institution as essential to some engineering programs. Portions of such courses may include subject matter that can be properly classified in one of the essential curricular areas, but this must be demonstrated in each case.
I.C.3.f. Appropriate laboratory experience which serves to combine elements of theory and practice must be an integral component of every engineering program. Every student in the program must develop a competence to conduct experimental work such as that expected of engineers in the discipline represented by the program. It is also necessary that each student have “hands-on” laboratory experience, particularly at the upper levels of the program. Instruction in safety procedures must be an integral component of students’ laboratory experiences. ABET expects some course work in the basic sciences to include or be complemented with laboratory work.
I.C.3.g. Appropriate computer-based experience must be included in the program of each student. Students must demonstrate knowledge of the application and use of digital computation techniques for specific engineering problems. The program should include, for example, the use of computers for technical calculations, problem solving, data acquisition and processing, process control, computer-assisted design, computer graphics, and other functions and applications appropriate to the engineering discipline. Access to computational facilities must be sufficient to permit students and faculty to integrate computer work into course work whenever appropriate throughout the academic program.
I.C.3.h. Students must demonstrate knowledge of the application of probability and statistics to engineering problems.
I.C.3.i. Competence in written communication in the English language is essential for the engineering graduate. Although specific course work requirements serve as a foundation for such competence, the development and enhancement of writing skills must be demonstrated through student work in engineering work and other courses. Oral communication skills in the English language must also be demonstrated within the curriculum by each engineering student.
I.C.3.j. An understanding of the ethical, social, economic, and safety considerations in engineering practice is essential for a successful engineering career. Course work may be provided for this purpose, but as a minimum it should be the responsibility of the engineering faculty to infuse professional concepts into all engineering course work.