Divergent courses: Preparing graduate students for diverse career paths

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Graduate students in engineering programs have diverse needs depending on their past experiences and future career goals. Many universities invest their limited resources in assisting non-native speakers of English in preparing scholarly papers. Such programs may ignore the needs of domestic students lacking adequate communication preparation as well as students uninterested in academic career paths. A broader approach is warranted to better assist all students to develop higher-level communication skills. This paper describes a two-course sequence in one graduate engineering program that addresses the unique needs of students interested in both industry career paths and academia, regardless of language background. One course prepares students for communicating persuasively and collaboratively in business environments, while the second course is focused on the traditional research genres of journal papers, conference presentations, and grant proposals. Both courses also include a significant emphasis on ethical decision making in business and research situations. Early indications from students are that the courses meet their needs in helping them communicate more effectively as engineers and/or scholars.

Publisher's Statement

©2019 IEEE. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1109/ProComm.2019.00027

Publication Title

2019 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference (ProComm)