CEAS Goes Global with International ACCEND

By:     Brandon Pytel
Date:  February 1, 2018

The International ACCEND program is launching this fall, giving students pursuing both a bachelor’s and master’s degree a chance to go abroad.

ACCEND student Miranda Hileman overlooks St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

ACCEND student Miranda Hileman overlooks St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. England will be one of the first destinations for International ACCEND students.

Going abroad is an exciting part of the college experience—experiencing a new culture, trying unique foods and seeing historic sites all have lasting impacts on students. But engineering students, especially engineering students pursuing both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, can sometimes find it hard to complete a semester outside of the country.

University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) has found an answer for these academically and globally driven students: the International ACCEND Program.

The ACCelrated Engineering Degree (ACCEND) program at UC lets CEAS students combine an undergraduate degree with a master’s degree in a number of engineering fields. Students can major in engineering, take master’s courses while still enrolled as an undergraduate student, and graduate with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in an accelerated timeframe.

Traditionally, the rigorous curriculum of ACCEND kept students from studying in another country. Now, with International ACCEND, students can take these same classes abroad.

“In the past, it was really hard for an engineering program to line up with an international experience,” says Eugene Rutz, CEAS Director of ACCEND Programs. “But later in the academic experience, around the fifth year, students have more freedom in their academic curriculum.

“Students who were always interested in an international experience but constrained by a vigorous academic curriculum now have a chance to go abroad,” he adds.

Students will work with their academic advisors to ensure that, wherever they go, they take classes that keep them on track to graduate with both their degrees.   

So, where will they go?

UC has international partners all around the world, but (for now) they are sending International ACCEND students to places like the University of Newcastle (U.K.), University of Bordeaux (France) and University of Lorraine (France). Since all three of these universities are English speaking or offer many courses in English, students will not have to take any language courses before taking their semester abroad.

“UC gets to continue building on its relationship with international partners who have always sent students to UC,” says Rutz. “Now UC can reciprocate that process and send engineering students abroad.”

Eventually, UC plans to expand the program to other universities. For now, though, the university is focusing on the challenges ahead. Differences in the UC and international academic calendar, coordination with student schedules and class availability all make a program like ACCEND even tougher to pull off in another country.

But all of it will be worth it in the end: The International ACCEND program will give students who never dreamed of visiting another country the chance to go abroad for an entire semester and still graduate on time.

The program also upholds the mission of the college to provide world-class education for all of its students, while advancing the university’s larger goal of developing educated and engaged citizens who enrich the global community.

“Overall,” Rutz says, “the program will distinguish UC and its students on an international scale.”