To become a professor of engineering, students typically need a doctorate degree, which takes about four to seven years to complete. In some cases, a master's degree is sufficient for teaching at a community college or trade school. Regardless of whether students pursue a master's degree or Ph.D., the same courses in engineering, math and pedagogy help them to teach at the post-secondary level.
Variety of Engineering Courses
Most engineering programs focus on a specific aspect of engineering, such as electrical, mechanical or biological engineering. Students who wish to become professors of engineering should take a variety of courses in the different engineering specialties. Students should also select their own research specialty and take more courses in that area. Professors must publish research in their field, and specialization is key to professional development. Focusing on specialty course work is the first step in establishing an area of expertise.
Advanced-level mathematics are at the core of any engineering specialty. Students who wish to become professors of engineering should take several courses in mathematics, such as applied mathematics, numerical linear algebra, mechanical mathematics, biomedical mathematics and computational mathematics. Statistics and calculus are important foundational courses in engineering, as well. Students can expect to complete many of these courses as part of their degree program, but those who wish to become professors of engineering may consider taking additional courses or completing research projects in these areas to strengthen their knowledge.
Research is at the heart of post-secondary education. Not only do professors of engineering spend much of their time completing their own research projects, but they also have to teach students about how to conduct their own research. Course work should include research methodologies, include lab and field research, different theoretical models, and how to identify and evaluate research sources. Some graduate programs include a class that is dedicated to research methodology, while others include research as a component in every class.
Though not required in most graduate programs in engineering, pedagogical training can help students who wish to become professors of engineering. Pedagogy is the study of different teaching methodologies. Students take pedagogy courses to learn what teaching style best suits their personal teaching philosophy and what style is most effective for their teaching goals. Students can combine training in pedagogy with student teaching assignments to put theory into practice and begin their training as professors.
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