SUTD Engineering Degrees achieve Accreditation

07 Apr 2014

The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Singapore’s fourth public university, has been awarded provisional accreditation for all its three undergraduate engineering degree programmes by the Institution of Engineers Singapore (IES), through its Engineering Accreditation Board (EAB). The three programmes, which span the standard eight terms delivered over 3.5 years each, are: Engineering Product Development (EPD), Engineering Systems and Design (ESD) and Information Systems Technology and Design (ISTD)

The provisional accreditation was awarded in February based on the evaluation and recommendations of the EAB panels, which consisted of senior academics from the US and UK as well as local industry leaders. The panels conducted a two-day visit to the university that included a comprehensive review of its curriculum and teaching process, student learning outcomes, interviews of both faculty and students, assessment of facilities and more. The first two batches of students admitted in the three programmes will graduate with a Bachelor of Engineering with a major in EPD, ESD or ISTD which are provisionally accredited. SUTD will apply for full accreditation in 2016. According to EAB accreditation policy, only programmes that have produced graduates for two academic years can be considered for full accreditation. The accreditation is retrospective and when the programmes move from provisional to full accreditation in 2016, all graduates will be recognised as having the fully accredited qualification.

SUTD President, Professor Tom Magnanti, said: "This provisional accreditation is an acknowledgement of EAB’s confidence in SUTD’s rigorous programme, which is developed with the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is designed with an “outside-in” approach based on industry’s needs. Our inter-disciplinary design-centric curriculum, unique cohort-based learning approach and multi-disciplinary research are all geared toward developing technically grounded leaders to meet the world’s challenges."

"The accreditation exercise not only permits our graduates to obtain professional engineer status in their later years of career, but also assures our stakeholders (students and parents, the Ministry of Education and future employers) that rigorous quality assurance practices are put in place for our programmes to meet international as well as local professional standards," he added.

The overall lead of the EAB panels who assessed SUTD, Mr Lee Chuan Seng, Emeritus Chairman of Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner (SEA) Pte Ltd, commented that: "The EAB panels were impressed with SUTD’s innovative educational methods to educate a new breed of engineers with multidisciplinary undergraduate programmes. Its strong emphasis in design and research even at the undergraduate level to promote the spirit of risk taking and entrepreneurship throughout the entire degree programme would prepare the graduates for leadership roles in the profession in global and local companies alike."

For SUTD’s fourth degree programme, the five-year (10 terms) Master of Architecture, will be accredited by the Board of Architects of Singapore (BOA). According to BOA’s registrar: "The Board of Architects Singapore has always been very keen to see a second distinctive architectural degree programme being offered by our publicly funded universities in Singapore… BOA is working closely with SUTD to establish a good architectural programme and will officially recognise the programme after the first batch of graduates has successfully gone through the programme."

Currently, SUTD has more than 600 students for its first two intakes and will be welcoming its third batch of undergraduate students this May.


About Singapore University of Technology and Design

The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) is Singapore’s fourth publicly-funded university, and one of the first universities in the world to incorporate the art and science of design and technology into a multi-disciplinary curriculum. Established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), SUTD seeks to nurture technically-grounded leaders and innovators in engineering product development, engineering systems and design, information systems technology and design, and architecture and sustainable design, to serve societal needs.

The University, also in collaboration with Zhejiang University (ZJU) and Singapore Management University (SMU), is distinguished by its unique East and West academic programme which incorporates elements of technology, entrepreneurship, management and design thinking. It also offers an MIT-SUTD Dual Masters' Degree Programme; a full-time programme leading to a degree from MIT and another from SUTD. Graduate opportunities also include the SUTD PhD Programme. As a research-intensive university, SUTD will bring together the best minds and ideas to seek solutions to modern-day challenges and create a better future. 
 

Appendix

The IES is the Singapore signatory to the Washington Accord with effect from June 2006. The Washington Accord is an international agreement which provides a mechanism for mutual recognition of the substantial equivalence of engineering academic programmes in satisfying the academic requirements for the practice of engineering at the professional level. The processes, policies and procedures for granting accreditation to engineering academic programmes by IES is administered by the Engineering Accreditation Board (EAB) which was set up in May 2002 by IES as a body to accredit engineering programmes that are delivered and awarded in Singapore.

Signatories of the Washington Accord can be found here: http://www.ies.org.sg/pageview.php?page_id=110 

SUTD Pedagogy

Three Shared Terms (Freshmore)

While the SUTD curriculum is modern, it also respects, and indeed amplifies, the traditional emphasis on maths and science fundamentals. The first three terms at SUTD are shared by all students and builds the foundations in maths and science, including physics, chemistry and biology.

In addition, students are introduced to “Big-D” concepts in a unique subject on architectural and engineering design in Term 2.In the third term, students learn about the world through three subjects unique to SUTD – “Modelling the Systems World”, “Engineering the Physical World”, and “The Digital World” before opting for pillar specialisation. To round off the Freshmore curriculum, the inclusion of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) enable students to be cultivated and critical thinkers.

This combined approach is novel in that it provides a broad and rigorous education to students in the different disciplines. Students are thus equipped with a strong base for selecting and excelling in the pillar of choice for the remainder of their sophomore year, junior, and senior years, as well as for future employment opportunities.

Pillar Year 

After the Freshmore year, students embark on the pillar of choice, either engineering product development, engineering systems and design, information systems technology and design or architecture and sustainable design. 

Beyond the core subjects and electives, the three engineering pillars offer exposure to one or more industry-specific “tracks”, for e.g. in aviation, consultancy, financial institutions, robotics, healthcare, and more. Designed to offer students the flexibility to acquire knowledge and skills to suit their interests and future careers, some tracks are inter-disciplinary, requiring the taking of subjects from outside the pillar.Students also have the option to customise their tracks by mixing their electives with those from other engineering pillars. See http://ugadmissions.sutd.edu.sg/study/curriculum_pillars for details.

Cohort-based Learning

SUTD’s unique pedagogy is built around cohort-based active and collaborative learning. In the first three terms, students are grouped into cohort classes of 50 where classes are mostly guided by two to three faculty members. Students in a cohort take common classes in a community-learning environment and share the experience of university life together from the first moment they embark on their undergraduate studies.

Hands-on and Interactive Learning

Classes at SUTD incorporate hands-on activities, such as simulations and problem sets conducted in the format of mini-lectures, video lecturettes, small-group recitations, hands-on demos and concept quizzes. These activities repeat over a class period of 2 to 3 hours to cement the understanding of different concepts in a subject. The interactive sessions in the cohort-based environment not only better engage students and foster collaborative learning, but also allow students to enjoy and better understand and appreciate concepts, theories and lessons that are traditionally viewed as difficult. Real-life examples are demonstrated regularly. 

The time spent in the cohort classrooms serves to develop the foundation and interpersonal skills required of future technically grounded leaders.To encourage continued collaboration during their pillar years, students will be engaged in a think-tank environment where they are presented with real-world problems and challenged to devise contextual solutions.

The Curriculum

The curriculum is designed with an “outside-in” approach that starts with considering industry’s evolving needs and perspectives and delves deeply into the challenges facing the world today. Students are exposed to a wide range of technically grounded fields of design, including architectural design, product design, software design, and system design. Students learn to define problems holistically and develop creative solutions from a total design perspective.