University of the Free State gets green light to offer 4-year BEng course
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The University of the Free State (UFS) management has approved the concept for the development and roll-out of a full engineering programme – a 4-year BEng programme.
According to Louis Lagrange, head of the Department of Engineering Sciences (EnSci), the full engineering programme which will focus on agricultural and biosystems engineering will launch in 2023.
This programme will run concurrently with the current three-year BSc degree majoring in physics and engineering subjects, which started in 2014.
According to Lagrange, the 3-year BSc degree is constructed to adhere to all the requirements of the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).
It will prepare graduates to apply and, if accepted, articulate to the University of the Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch University to complete a full four-year BEng degree.
They will enter that university in their third year of engineering studies, choosing any of the following discipline-specific studies: civil, mechanical, mechatronic, electrical, electronic, industrial, or aeronautical engineering (last two studies only at the University of the Witwatersrand).
“The EnSci programme provides the appropriate and solid fundamental underbuilt for engineering studies in the stated disciplines.
“The UFS has articulation agreements with the University of the Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch University; however, graduates have also articulated to the University of Pretoria and the North-West University, although no upfront formal agreement has yet been negotiated with any of the two institutions,” he says.
Lagrange says the first two years of the BEng programme will largely be based on the existing foundational degree in BSc majoring in physics and engineering subjects, which is currently presented by the Department of Engineering Sciences.
He said in years three and four, the focus shifts to learning how engineering in agriculture interacts with different bio-systems, including some elective specialisation streams, such as food processing engineering, horticultural production, animal production, or crop production.
“With the fully accredited BEng programme, the UFS will be able to supply knowledgeable and skilled graduates for a market in need.
“These graduates will find work as private consultants (designing greenhouses, irrigation systems, storage facilities); supplying private companies with agricultural equipment such as tractors, combine harvesters, irrigation systems, pumps, and fans; or working for big private companies, government, or parastatals such as the Agricultural Research Council or the Institute for Agricultural Engineering,” he said.