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New engineering degrees at ASU aim to open pathways, empower engineering expertise

West Valley campus to house the degrees, boosting local community

Outdoor ASU sign reading "New schools New degrees New buildings" in front of a building.

Along with new buildings and learning facilities at Arizona State University’s West Valley campus, there are new schools, such as the School of Integrated Engineering, part of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and new degree programs, including three undergraduate degree programs that focus on engineering-related studies in computer science, business and microelectronics. Photo by Erika Gronek/ASU

March 26, 2024

It doesn’t take an extensive internet search to discover that engineering has become one of the most rapidly and broadly expanding STEM fields.

Engineering has been on an upswing in recent years, birthing new applications, pursuits and solutions from within and beyond its traditional specialties.

That progress has intertwined with related advances in technologies that impact not only major industries but many areas of modern life.

Such trends are reflected by the emergence of new concentration areas in engineering studies and research training in higher education — including in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.

For example, at ASU’s West Valley campus, the Fulton Schools is adding three new undergraduate degree programs that will prepare students to ride the wave of the engineering profession’s increasing opportunities.

The new programs include a Bachelor of Science in engineering science, with a focus on microelectronics, and a Bachelor of Science in engineering science, with a focus on business, offered by the new School of Integrated Engineering, part of the Fulton Schools.

There’s also a new Bachelor of Arts in computer science degree program, a joint venture of the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, part of the Fulton Schools, and ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

“Our hope is that this Bachelor of Arts degree in computer science will offer increased flexibility for students who are on a less technical career path and provide additional options for those who live in the West Valley,” says Ross Maciejewski, director of the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence.

Engineering business, industry and cultural enrichment

The engineering science degree programs will aim to give students more accessible pathways to mastering both the knowledge and skills essential to today’s engineering world.

The business-focused program will involve real-world engineering design projects, opportunities for internships, and a mix of engineering and business courses to prepare future managers, entrepreneurs and leaders of technology-based businesses. The program will operate in partnership with ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business.

Finally, the microelectronics-focused program prepares students to engage in the rapidly expanding domestic semiconductor design and manufacturing sectors.

Classes in each of the new degree programs start in the fall 2024 semester.

The degree programs are coming on the heels of the School of Integrated Engineering opening on the ASU West Valley campus and the announcement of the selection of Shawn Jordan as the new school’s interim director.

Jordan says he and other West Valley campus administrators and faculty members, especially those in engineering, want to see the campus help boost the region’s economy by preparing more tech-savvy professionals for roles in local microelectronics, semiconductor and other tech companies.  

Those efforts will include establishing relationships and industry partnerships with companies in the area, Jordan says. Other goals include developing interdisciplinary degree programs that also gear STEM education toward building skills that open career opportunities in an array of other fields and industries — from business management and entrepreneurship to cultural and artistic endeavors and even fashion.

Lab students gathered in a lab wearing lab coats.
Four students are pictured working in an organic chemistry laboratory at Arizona State University’s West Valley campus. Photo by Armand Saavedra/ASU

Platforms for launching into productive futures

Jordan foresees a range of aspirations combining to form a framework for energizing the further emergence of the West Valley’s communities.

Despite the growth of the area in recent years, Jordan and other West Valley campus faculty members and administrators say many residents have still had to travel significant distances across the Phoenix metro area to access career-advancing higher education and job opportunities.

Jordan and fellow faculty members say the new and expanded courses, along with research labs and related facilities being planned for the campus, promise to help make the area a thriving center of technological innovation, educational quality, job creation, economic development and community cohesion.

“The School of Integrated Engineering enables West Valley students to live and study close to home while also giving students from across the country and around the world the opportunity to earn a world-class engineering degree from the Fulton Schools,” Jordan says.

He emphasizes that the new school and new degree programs have been designed to open more accessible pathways for students from all backgrounds and with varying interests to become engineers, as well as to provide students with the skills they need to make a difference in their communities.

“Engineering empowers us to shape our own futures,” Jordan says, “providing a set of tools to design the next semiconductor chip, create a new must-have tech product, or to technologically improve the quality of life for our families.”

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