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Three Departments to Offer MEng Programs Next Year

By Shang-Lin Chuang
Staff Reporter

Starting next September, three new Master of Engineering programs will be offered in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Department of Ocean Engineering.

The ocean engineering department announced its new program last month, while the Course XVI and I programs were announced recently. These departments are following the pattern set by the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, which started its MEng program last year.

These MEng programs are designed for undergraduate students looking for a one-year graduate program. Neither of the MEng programs will replace the existing Master of Science degrees which usually require two years.

The Course XVI MEng program "is a structured Masters program emphasizing multidisciplinary instruction, product design, and a design thesis," said Professor Earll M. Murman, head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

By enrolling in the MEng program, the students "are now introduced to a different educational experience than now exists at MIT, and if well-prepared, can complete their degree in one academic year," Murman said.

In the MEng program, the student will be required to take five aerospace engineering disciplinary subjects (three graduate and two H-level), a math subject, a subject on Aerospace Product Design, and a 12-unit design thesis.

"The MEng and SM offer complementary options for graduate students. The MEng is focused on design and the SM on research," Murman said.

The department expects 20 students next fall, Murman said. According to a survey distributed to about 800 potential applicants at MIT, Stanford University, and the University of Michigan, about half of the 237 students that replied said that they would prefer the MEng program over the SM. The admission requirements of the MEng program are substantially the same as the SM degree.

The students are expected to be self-supporting or will have other financial support such as fellowships, company sponsorships, or student loans.

The Civil and Environmental Engineering MEng program was developed to respond "to an identified need for a first professional degree appropriate to individuals inclined to immediately enter professional practice," said Professor Rafael L. Bras '72, who heads the department.

"We look at the MEng program as a terminal degree," said Professor Patricia A. Dixon, head of the department's personnel administration.

No restrictions are placed on the pursuit of a PhD program after the completion of the MEng program, although it is usually expected that the student will work after completion, Bras said.

About 20 students are expected to enroll next fall, Bras said. Admission requirements for the Course I MEng program will be similar to that of the SM program, with the exception that an engineering background will be required.

This is a program "designed to build on the background of engineering students for particularly, but not uniquely, our own undergraduates," Bras said.

The MEng program consists of seven conventional subjects, three project/thesis subjects, and an individual thesis. All of the students will first take "Concepts of Engineering Practice," which will "integrate the variety of skills necessary for successful practice, from business and management, to ethics, to team building, to handling uncertainty and using modeling tools," Bras said.

The MEng program emphasizes "team experiences and development of a cadre of students and faculty," Bras said. All students will be required to take part in the 15 unit project/thesis subjects which further stresses teamwork. In the spring term, the student will be required to develop an individual thesis in order to receive the MEng degree. This is the only time that the students will be able to do individual work, Bras said.

"It is expected that the majority of MEng students will bring their own support. The nature and time constraints of the program eliminates the possibility of research assistantships. In the future, some industrial fellowships may become available," Bras said.