New Engineering Degree

In early December the Board of Trustees approved a new engineering major at USD, the BS/BA in Engineering. This new major does not carry an engineering discipline specific label (e.g. mechanical). Some people call these majors “general engineering.” USD also has three discipline specific engineering majors including the BS/BA Electrical Engineering, BS/BA Industrial and Systems Engineering, and BS/BA Mechanical Engineering.

A non-disciplinary BS/BA Engineering Major provides more curricular flexibility than the disciplinary degrees meaning that there are more options for students to explore differentiated pathways including taking engineering classes from different majors and combining them or by taking more non-engineering. The option is favorable to greater interdisciplinary choice that will also permit students to double major or to select minors inside and outside of engineering.

A non-disciplinary BS/BA degree in engineering provides a very good structure for incubation of new engineering programs. This advantage is financial. Standing up a new disciplinary engineering degree can be very expensive due to the requirement of implementing a complete disciplinary curriculum, hiring many faculty members with disciplinary expertise to teach all of the required courses, and developing labs and facilities. Using the “general engineering” model we will offer a concentration in several new engineering areas within this degree. We will begin with a concentration in embedded software engineering this fall. We also want to create concentrations in sustainability engineering (related to environmental and a subset of civil engineering) and bioengineering and are working to get these going. Stay tuned for more details.