The University of New Hampshire at Manchester has expanded its ABET-accredited engineering technology program to include four-year bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering technology and mechanical engineering technology beginning in fall 2020.
“There is a growing workforce need for engineers, as well as an increase in students wanting to pursue engineering careers,” said Mike Decelle, dean of UNH Manchester. “In response to the academic and workforce demand, we are thrilled to offer our engineering technology programs to a wider group of students.”
UNH established engineering technology (ET) at its Durham campus in 1977, eventually moving the program to Manchester in 2001. Originally a two-plus-two program, ET was designed for students to earn an associate degree at a New Hampshire community college then complete the final two years of a bachelor’s degree at UNH Manchester. In addition to its dual admission partnership with the community colleges, the program is open to freshmen and transfer students beginning this fall.
"Our campus is surrounded by industry leaders that want to hire the best, and our students graduate with the skills they’re looking for."
Incoming freshmen into the ET majors will now be considered for the college’s Millyard Scholars program, which provides scholarships and research opportunities to high-achieving engineering technology and biotechnology students.
With an intense focus on laboratory training with state-of-the-art equipment, UNH Manchester’s ET program emphasizes the practical skills that today’s employers look for. Chris LeBlanc, assistant professor of engineering technology and former engineer at IBM, says fusing academics with industry makes students more effective problem solvers.
“What students learn in the classroom and lab should reflect what they’ll be doing in real life,” LeBlanc said. “We focus on giving students a wide set of skills to prepare them for industry, which is why our graduates earn competitive salaries at high-profile organizations in the state, right out of college.”
UNH Manchester’s ET program is particularly tied to the state’s workforce needs, evidenced by a survey of UNH’s class of 2018 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Of the 96 percent of ET graduates who were employed in the field upon graduation, 87 percent work and live in New Hampshire. The survey also showed that ET grads earned an average starting salary of $70,417—40 percent higher than the national average starting salary for 2018 graduates.
Sean Tavares, assistant professor of engineering technology and former principal engineer at Southwest Research Institute, says employers hire ET graduates because of the practical skills they develop using industry-standard equipment. Students get hands-on experience in advanced electronics, mechanical prototyping, fabrication and more in multiple laboratory facilities on campus. During senior year, students work with local companies on real-world problems in design, fabrication and testing. The companies that students work with, Tavares says, are some of the top employers of our graduates.
“Our labs and machine shop are stocked with equipment that local industry use, so our graduates are ready to hit the ground running in the workforce,” Tavares said. “Our campus is surrounded by industry leaders that want to hire the best, and our students graduate with the skills they’re looking for.”
ET students graduate prepared to take the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying’s Fundamentals of Engineering exam, which is generally the first step in the process to become a professional licensed engineer.
Through the New England Board of Higher Education’s Tuition Break program, students from New England states that do not offer bachelor’s-level engineering technology programs at their public universities are eligible to enroll in UNH’s ET program at a reduced tuition rate. This is currently available for electrical engineering technology students from Connecticut and Rhode Island as well as mechanical engineering technology students from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont.
UNH Manchester’s B.S. in Electrical Engineering Technology and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology have been accredited since 1980 by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET, the recognized accreditor of college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology.