FAQ: General Engineering name change

GE Name Change FAQ

The curriculum remains the same, but the General Engineering major is changing its name to Systems Engineering and Design

Q.             Why the change?

A.              The name of “General Engineering” is not in step with modern engineering practice, and leads to confusion of what the degree is, such as confusing the degree with “Engineering Undeclared”. Our   desired peer institutions typically offer some combination of degrees in Industrial Engineering and Systems Engineering. We feel it was the right time to make this change in order to remain competitive.

The General Engineering degree was originally designed as a way for students to secure fundamental training in the principles of engineering theory in order to ally themselves with a wide range of industrial and commercial developments in the fields of management, operation, and construction. The more modern terminology of “Systems Engineering” has the added goal of formally combining the different strains of engineering into a synergetic whole, often in the face of complex interactions.

Q.             Will the curriculum change?

A.              No. The actual content of the degree will not be modified. The elective will change from a “Design” elective to a “Systems Engineering and Design” elective (which would allow students a focus on systems-related course offerings).

Q.             I’m a current student, do I have to change my degree?

A.              No. Current students will have the option of continuing under the GE name or they can switch to the SED name.  

More information will be made available describing the process for “opting in or out” of a degree denomination. If you have immediate concerns, please contact the Undergraduate Programs Office.

Q.             Does this affect my employability?

A.              This will enhance your employability. Companies (often Human Resources professionals) use the most common degree names as a way to rank or reject job candidates; a General Engineering degree does not fit within standard taxonomies. More precisely, when a student is applying for a job and has to check a box identifying whether their degree is Aerospace Engineering, Civil Engineering, etc., there is no box for General Engineering. This does a huge disservice to our students and handicaps them at the outset of their career.

Q.             Will the degree still be accredited?

A.              Yes. Systems Engineering and Design will remain accredited by ABET.

Q.             Is there a professional society for this degree?

A.              Yes. There are several societies available for students to be active in. We recommend IISE and INCOSE. There will be more information coming about how we will structure the student groups with regard to these national organizations.

Q.             I’m a current GE major, will the name change mean I have to retake classes when the acronym changes?

A.              No, however, some students will have a mix of GE and SED* courses as they work to complete their degree requirements. This is acceptable because the courses have not changed. Likewise, there are a few courses that reference General Engineering in the course titles and those courses will now reference Systems Engineering and Design rather than General Engineering.

NOTE: beginning Fall 2017, the acronym for GE courses will become SED*.
*We are still working to determine the exact rubric acronym.

Undergraduate Contact Information

Carolyn L Beck

Professor Carolyn Beck
Associate Head Undergraduate Programs


Heidi C Craddock

Heidi Craddock
Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs


Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering
Undergraduate Programs Office
104 Transportation Bldg. (MC-238)
104 S. Mathews Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801

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