A Study Of Minority Engineering Students And Time To Completion Of First Year Required Courses At Texas A&M University Conference Paper uri icon


  • For many years, colleges of engineering across the nation have required the completion of foundational courses before a student could begin coursework in a specific engineering major. Since 1998, The Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University (TAMU) has required that first-time enrolling students complete certain courses (termed the Core Body of Knowledge or CBK), with specific cumulative grade points required for specific majors. With the pressure to increase the number and diversity of US engineers, retention, especially first-year retention, and time to degree became important issues. However, the relationship between time to completion of foundational coursework and student characteristics and academic factors had not been previously examined by TAMU. Therefore, a study of first-year engineering students at TAMU was conducted to determine the relationship of ethnicity, gender, engineering major, unmet financial need, and cumulative grade point average on time to completion of CBK courses. Results of interest were those involving the variables gender, ethnicity, and unmet financial need. Statistical significance was found for the following variables in this study: cumulative grade point average (CGPA), gender, ethnicity, and unmet financial need. Analysis indicates that CGPA has the strongest relationship to completion of CBK of any independent variables in the study. For the study's variable of major, statistical significance with time to completion of CBK was found for Chemical, Electrical, and Computer Engineering majors. Findings with implications for recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority students in engineering are presented. 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 by ethnicity and gender at TAMU. American Society for Engineering Education, 2007.

name of conference

  • 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings

published proceedings

  • 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings

author list (cited authors)

  • Kimball, J., Cole, B., Hobson, M., Watson, K., & Stanley, C.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Kimball, Jorja||Cole, Bryan||Hobson, Margaret||Watson, Karan||Stanley, Christine

publication date

  • January 2007