CU-Boulder’s General Engineering Plus program grew out of the need for development of a STEM teacher education pathway through engineering – providing a straightforward path to put the “E” in STEM teacher development throughout the K-12 system (Why CU Teach Engineering?). This required an engineering degree program with fewer required engineering course units to allow students to simultaneously complete the requirements for math or science teacher licensure. Once we had created the CU Teach Engineering curriculum, we realized that the CU Teach Engineering concentration could be replaced by alternate concentrations to allow students to tailor their General Engineering degree to meet their own needs and career visions (hence, GE+). Thus, any student could design their own customizable concentration, coupled with required General Engineering courses.
The GE+ program is different from the College of Engineering and Applied Science’s other discipline-based engineering degree programs. As with all things, this involves trade-offs. Below are some common questions, which may help you decide whether you should investigate GE+ with an advisor.
Are you interested in becoming a licensed secondary (7-12 grades) science or math and engineering teacher?
YES: The General Engineering Plus CU Teach Engineering concentration is uniquely designed to prepare students to earn a secondary (grades 7-12) math or science teacher licensure in nine semesters.
NO: The General Engineering Plus degree allows students to “design your own” concentration. All concentrations are approved by a GE+ advisor to ensure your degree will allow you to pursue the dreams that matter to you.
Are you reasonably sure you would like to perform technical engineering work as a professional engineer in a specific disciplinary field?
YES: If so, a degree in that specific discipline will probably serve you better. The GE+ program trades some depth in an engineering discipline for degree flexibility and additional design courses. If you know you want to practice engineering in a specific discipline, you should pursue that specific engineering degree.
NO: GE+ might be a good option if you do not plan to practice engineering in a specific engineering discipline upon graduation. The GE+ degree is rigorous and design-focused, and will provide an excellent technical problem-solving education for the 21st century. We expect our graduates to be excellent practicing engineers if they choose to do so, but the GE+ program also prepares graduates to explore many other options. We expect GE+ graduates to be attractive for engineering jobs that require a fundamental engineering background, but don’t involve in-depth knowledge gained from a discipline-based degree.
Are you planning to attend a professional school (e.g., law, medicine, business) outside of engineering after completion of your engineering degree?
YES: The design-rich GE+ program might be a great option for you. You can use the Design Your Own concentration to begin specializing in that area, and may complete some required pre-requisite courses. Most professional school programs are eager to recruit B.S. engineering graduates for their technical expertise and problem-solving experience.
NO: If you are planning to pursue a graduate degree in engineering, particularly involving engineering research, it would probably be beneficial to enroll in the disciplinary program most closely related, as the additional coursework and depth in that discipline will serve you better.
Is there an area outside of engineering that you are also passionate about, but completion of a minor or second major in that area is not an option you want to pursue?
YES: The GE+ program might be a great option for you. You can use the Design Your Own concentration to explore your passion without extending your undergraduate degree completion time and cost. The GE+ program streamlines your engineering degree so you gain the invaluable problem-solving and analytical technical education you need, allowing you to graduate and pursue your dreams more quickly.
NO: if you have the desire to pursue a specific engineering career, a combination of discipline-based engineering major(s) and minor(s) may better provide the extra depth and specialization that you seek.