Professional Competency Attainment in a Project Based Learning Curriculum: A Comparison of Project Based Learning to Traditional Engineering Education

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



An upper division undergraduate project-based learning (PBL) engineering program in the U.S. engineering educational system was started beginning January 2010. Students transfer into the program after completion of lower division coursework at community colleges and other universities. They do not take classes; instead learning activities are organized and indexed in industry projects where they are solving complex and ill-structured industry problems. Upon completion, students receive a B.S. in Engineering with an emphasis in mechanical, electrical, biomedicai, or process engineering. True to the ABET intent, graduates emerge with integrated technical/professional knowledge and competencies. The program has 50 graduates to date and has earned ABET-EAC accreditation. This, in progress, study looks specifically at the impact of this PBL curriculum on student attainment of the ABET-identified professional competencies. Trends of the initial study indicate a positive impact on student attainment of the professional competencies in comparison to students studying in a traditional curriculum.


Integrated Engineering

Publication Title

2014 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE) Proceedings