A new engineering program and degree are being offered at Elon University. The College of Arts & Sciences will be expanding its engineering options next fall, from a dual-degree program to a four-year program.

The school’s new four-year bachelor’s degree in engineering will allow students to stay at Elon and pursue their degree in engineering. 

Scott Wolter, the director of the current dual-degree engineering program, is looking forward to the
exciting development.

“We are providing this degree for our students because they basically conveyed to use their interest in staying at Elon and getting an engineering degree,” Wolter said. “It was driven by student interest.”

The current dual-degree program allows students study engineering at Elon for three years before transferring to another institution for an additional two years to complete their degree.

Wolter believes having students transfer to other institutions has not helped the program’s growth.

“Many of our students fall in love with Elon and they don’t want to leave,” Wolter said. “They like different aspects of doing their undergraduate education at Elon. They like the small class sizes, the liberal arts environment. They just like Elon because it’s a great place.”

Freshman Noah Kagan is currently undeclared but is looking forward to declaring his major next fall. Having the new four-year option at Elon has made a world of difference in the aspiring engineer’s life.

“I just want to finish the degree in four years because I don’t have the funds to do an additional year of college,” Kagan said.

The idea of leaving Elon and having to pay for an additional year of school to earn his degree worried Kagan, until the announcement of the four-year program in January. 

“I am so excited to stay here and not have to move, I hate moving,” Kagan said. “I’ve found so many friends here and I don’t want to throw all of that away if I don’t have to. By the time I would have had to transfer I would have already found my place at Elon and having to move schools would just not be the best situation.”

Another of the new program’s goals is to increase the amount of student interest in engineering. In order to have more students like Kagan, excited to continue engineering at Elon.

For the last decade, the amount of student majors in the engineering department has been in flux. According to the Registrar’s Fall Reports, in 2007 the major had 58 students, this grew to an all time high of 81 in 2012. 

But since then the numbers of students majoring within the engineering department have steadily decreased, to an all time low of 22 in fall 2017. The program suffered another decrease this spring, with now only 13 student majoring in engineering at Elon. 

But Wolter is confident these numbers will grow with the start of this new program.

“We know what we need to do, and we know what type of education our students need to succeed,” Wolter said. 

Another main goal of the program is to receive its Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation within the next four years. The ABET is a non-governmental organization that accredits education programs in applied natural sciences, engineering being one of those natural sciences. 

“The important part of this change is that the program gets ABET accreditation,” Wolter said. “We are pursuing that for the program and are in the process of getting this. The goal is that when we graduate our first students, we will be accredited.”

The new program will offer a bachelor of science degree as well as allow students to concentrate in biomedical engineering, computer engineering, or design their own concentration.

This focus on student interest is a key aspect of this new program.

“Elon is such a great place to be a student or a faculty member,” Wolter said. “We would talk to students and figure out exactly what their interests are. Whatever they are we will work with them.”