On Oct. 15, the Presidents of Emporia State and Wichita State signed an agreement that allows students to attend both schools for a grand total of five years, and in that time receive two degrees.
The dual degree program, sometimes referred to as a ‘three-two’ program, will allow students studying for a mathematics or physics degree at ESU to transfer after three years to WSU, where they will then continue their education for two more years in engineering.
“I did a lot of the leg work,” said DeWayne Backhus, executive director of strategic planning in the President’s Office.
Backhus worked with ESU and WSU’s administration and mathematics and physics departments to create a strictly organized curriculum that would allow students to quickly enter and finish both degrees with little hassle.
“It has to be worked out very carefully, because in order for the student to get the degree through ESU we have to accept some of the work the student does there,” said ESU Provost, David Cordle. “And the reverse is also true. For the engineering degree there in Wichita State to be awarded, they have to count some of the work that is done here at Emporia State.”
Although the idea for the program may seem new, ESU already has a few standing dual-degree arrangements with the University of Kansas and Kansas State, as well as Cleveland Chiropractic College and a few pharmacy schools.
These programs, which were also made possible through key work from Backhus, have been in place since the 1970s,
Cordle and Backhus said this program will be useful for students interested in careers in aero-engineering, mechanical engineering, or engineering technology in renewable energy.
Cordle pointed out two advantages of a dual-degree, program. For one, he said there’s value in obtaining two degrees. He said it also gives students “the best of what two very different universities have to offer.”
Assistant Director of Media Relations Gwen Larson said the program shouldn’t cost anything extra to the student.
“Say Joe Freshman enrolled in the program. Joe would pay ESU tuition and fees for the first three years as a student at ESU,” Larson said. “For Years four and five, Joe would be a student at WSU and pay whatever the tuition and fees are there.”
The concern on ESU and WSU’s campuses is not cost, but that the program may lack publicity.
“The challenge is to continue to get the information out for the program opportunities which may not be commonly known,” Backhus said. He said this dual-degree “transcends” mere pre-engineering programs.
“Any college or university can declare that it has pre-engineering,” Bakhus said.
To get more information, students can ask their advisor about this opportunity.