A study of engineering student attributes and time to completion of first year required courses at Texas A&M University
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For many years, colleges of engineering across the nation have required that a foundational set of courses be completed for entry into upper division coursework or into a specific engineering major. Since 1998, The Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University (TAMU) has required that incoming first-time enrolling students complete a Core Body of Knowledge (CBK) with specific cumulative grade points required for specific majors. However, considerations of the time to completion of coursework and other student characteristics and academic factors have not been taken into consideration by TAMU, like most institutions. The purpose of this study is to determine for first year engineering students at TAMU the relationship of gender, ethnicity, engineering major, unmet financial need, cumulative grade point average, and total transfer hours on time to completion of CBK courses. The results of the analysis showed that cumulative grade point average (CGPA) had the strongest relationship to completion of CBK of any independent variable in this study. Statistical significance was found for the following variables in this study: CGPA, gender, ethnicity, and unmet financial need. For the study's variable of major, statistical significance was found for Chemical, Electrical, and Computer Engineering majors. The one variable in this study that did not show statistical significance in relation to time to completion of CBK was transfer credit. Findings with implications for recruitment and retention of underrepresented in engineering is a statistical significance indicating that on average females are taking less time than males to complete CBK. The conclusion from the study is that efforts to attract more women into engineering have merit as do programs to support underrepresented students in order that they may complete CBK at a faster pace. Further study to determine profiles of those majors where statistical significance was found for students taking a greater or lesser amount of time for CBK completion than the mean is recommended, as is ongoing data collection and comparison for current cohorts of engineering majors at TAMU.
Kimball, Jorja Lay (2003). A study of engineering student attributes and time to completion of first year required courses at Texas A&M University. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from