Fairfield University now offering dual BS/MS program in software engineering and minor in engineering


In response to an increased emphasis on the need for master's degree level engineering education, the Fairfield University School of Engineering has established a five-year dual degree program in software engineering. The resulting degrees for a student will be a bachelor's of science degree and master's of science degree in software engineering.

Also new at Fairfield is the opportunity for students to now minor in engineering, a move that will likely prove popular among mathematics, physics and computer science majors, among other concentrations.

Beginning this spring, juniors in the software engineering program can elect to continue on for one more year of study to earn their M.S. in software engineering, provided they have maintained a 3.2 average in their engineering courses and have recommendations from their professors.

Ultimately, it is anticipated that this five-year B.S./M.S program will effectively reduce the time it takes to earn a master's degree by one or more years.

Dr. Evangelos Hadjimichael, dean of the School of Engineering, said that in the face of on-going economic globalization that has changed the way industry and technology work, academic institutions must identify the best way to prepare students for skillful work in this environment. "The number of universities with accredited software engineering degree programs is relatively small, while the need for software development to solve complex problems across all sectors of technology is skyrocketing. The School of Engineering has a responsibility to assist in the education of experts in this discipline. The proposed program will enable students to enter graduate studies in software engineering along a fast track in order to achieve positions of responsibility in their companies early in their professional career."
Graduate engineering education is a key to innovation and creativity in technology, and central to the national economy, social welfare, and the security and management of social institutions, Dr. Hadjimichael added.

Once accepted into the program, students complete the B.S. degree requirements in their fourth year while taking graduate-level engineering classes. The fifth year of study includes eight courses, plus one elective taken during the summer. In addition to embracing traditional educational objectives, the new program emphasizes experiential learning in the form of summer industrial internships, and includes a final capstone project.

This new program responds to changes in the Information Technology field and the constantly evolving needs for software design, development, testing and validation across all technological and economic sectors. The industrial and business environments, especially in Southern Connecticut, are very favorable to jobs for graduates and internships for students in the software engineering programs at Fairfield.

The engineering minor will provide the opportunity to non-engineering majors to sample and benefit from the mindset, technical creativity and disciplined thinking inherent in engineering, through coursework and laboratory experiences.

Dr. Hadjimichael said, "Students in the minor will ultimately be able to work more effectively in their primary field having acquired additional skills and an enhanced perspective of the capabilities and limitations of a discipline that is a powerful force in shaping our daily lives."

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 23, 2007

Vol. 39, No. 210