The Evolving Landscape of Engineering Management Education

01 May 2024 11:43 AM | Ali Kucukozyigit (Administrator)

The Evolving Landscape of Engineering Management Education

by Ipek Bozkurt

In the fast-paced world of engineering management, staying ahead means constantly evolving. Technology advances rapidly, industry expectations shift, and global challenges emerge. This also means that the landscape of engineering management education is changing and continuously developing. So, what does the future hold for those pursuing a degree in this dynamic and organic field?

It's a Numbers Game

Numbers do not lie, indeed. Those of us in academia have felt (and observed) the changing admission/enrollment trends for a few years now and have faced short- and long-term challenges. According to the 2022 "Engineering and Engineering Technology by the Numbers" report published by the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), there were 458 Bachelor's Degrees, 2,621 Master's Degrees, and 91 Doctoral Degrees awarded in Engineering Management. In 2021, these numbers were 375 for B.S., 2,836 for M.S., and 83 for Ph.D. In 2020, 668 B.S. degrees were awarded, with Master's at 2,044 and Doctoral at 47. Notably, while undergraduate education in Engineering Management is on an upward trajectory, graduate education (Master's, specifically) is following the nationwide downward trajectory. Council of Graduate Schools (2023) reports that domestic first-time enrollment declined by 4.7% between Fall 2021 and Fall 2022, as opposed to the international graduate first-time enrollment, which increased by 10.2% in the same time frame.

Embracing Emerging Technologies

The future of engineering management education is intertwined with emerging technologies. From artificial intelligence to business intelligence, students must be equipped with the knowledge and skills to manage these innovations. This is also evident from ASEM's latest webinar series, covering topics such as AI tools and Data Science and Analytics. But it is not just about understanding the technology itself; it's about knowing how to leverage it effectively in a management context.

Specifically, in graduate programs, students should (and often do) collaborate on projects using virtual reality simulations to solve real-world engineering management challenges. The recent adoption of topics in curricula, such as machine learning algorithms to analyze complex data sets and inform strategic decision-making, can be seen as evidence. The newly certified Master of Engineering Management and Leadership program at Rice University offers a Data Science specialization, while the University of Arkansas offers a Graduate Certificate in Engineering Management Analytics, for instance. These are just a few examples of how technology is revolutionizing how we teach and learn engineering management.

Matching Industry Demands

As industries evolve, their demands for skilled engineering managers change as well. Employers are looking for professionals who understand engineering principles and possess strong leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills.

This shift in demand is driving changes in engineering management education as well. By providing students with a well-rounded education, these programs prepare them to tackle the complex challenges of the future. McKinsey & Company suggested in their 2023 higher education report that institutions should "guide students toward high-ROI, high-employment pathways." Only by ensuring that graduates of Engineering Management are placed in appropriate jobs can we guarantee increasing enrollment.

Adapting Educational Approaches

Even before the pandemic, gone were the days of passive learning, where students sit through lectures and take notes. Engineering management education is now interactive, experiential, and hands-on. Students work on real projects with industry partners, gaining practical experience and building professional networks along the way, and most degree plans include immersive learning experiences, such as industry internships.

These experiential learning opportunities enhance students' understanding of engineering management concepts and prepare them for the realities of the workplace. They learn how to collaborate, communicate, and adapt to different situations – essential skills for success in the field.


The future of engineering management education is bright. Still, it requires us to embrace change, adapt to new technologies, and think creatively about how we prepare the next generation of leaders. By focusing on emerging technologies, evolving industry demands, and innovative educational approaches, we can ensure that engineering management graduates are equipped to tackle whatever the future holds. Academia and industry can navigate this ever-changing landscape together and build a brighter future for engineering management education.


ASEE (2023). Engineering and Engineering Technology by the Numbers, 2022 Edition

ASEE (2022). Engineering and Engineering Technology by the Numbers, 2021 Edition

ASEE (2021). Engineering and Engineering Technology by the Numbers, 2020 Edition

Council of Graduate Schools (2023). Graduate Enrollment and Degrees report.

McKinsey and Company (2023) Report.

About the Author

“Ipek Bozkurt is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Engineering Management Program at University of Houston – Clear Lake. She received her Master’s and Ph.D. in Engineering Management and Systems Engineering from Old Dominion University. Her areas of interest are Engineering Education, Negotiation Strategies, Technology Management, Quantitative Decision-Making, and Statistical Methods.”

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