''U'' Engineering degrees available in Shanghai

BY C. PRICE JONES
For the Daily
Published September 26, 2001

At the end of August, the University of Michigan became the first American college to offer its own degrees at a Chinese university. The College of Engineering"s plans to provide higher education to graduate students in China at Shanghai Jiao Tong University is scheduled to begin this January.

The partnership between the two schools is also the first agreement formed by the Chinese Education Ministry for this type of degree.

"The top universities in China have been encouraged by the Minister of Education to engage with the top universities elsewhere in the world," said Engineering Dean Stephen Director. Director was one of the delegates who traveled to China to form the agreement.

While other study-abroad programs have already been implemented in China, receiving an American or other foreign degree of this sort was impossible until now. Since Chinese universities graduate more engineering students than any other country, staying current in global innovations is essential for Chinese engineers. So a program to improve Chinese education in such a large field of engineers held great value for the institutions.

This interaction with China through higher education has been under way for over a year, but in the last weeks, measures to allow Chinese students to earn their masters of engineering in manufacturing at SJTU were passed by the Chinese Education Ministry. While students will earn an the degree while at the SJTU, it is solely issued by the University of Michigan.

Requiring two and a half years to complete, the degree is chiefly earned through distance learning and enrolling in advanced engineering, business and manufacturing classes. Up to nine credits, or three courses, may be taken from a list of University-approved classes at SJTU.

Similar joint-degree programs are already available for undergraduate, masters and doctoral studies.

The arrangements between SJTU and the University are the first of many that are still in development. Other agreements are in discussion for similar programs, notably at Xi"an Jiao Tong University in Xi"an and Tsinghua University in Beijing.