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U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy$
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Richard B. Freeman and Hal Salzman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226468334

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226468471.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

Career Plans of Undergraduate Engineering Students

Career Plans of Undergraduate Engineering Students

Characteristics and Contexts

(p.49) 2 Career Plans of Undergraduate Engineering Students
U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy

Shannon K. Gilmartin

anthony lising antonio

Samantha R. Brunhaver

Helen L. Chen

Sheri D. Sheppard

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines undergraduate engineering students’ career plans, and the environments and experiences that influence their intentions to enter the engineering profession. We augment survey data collected from over 2,000 engineering students with data from three national sources. Our results indicate, first, that a substantial majority of engineering students are not committed to an exclusively engineering career. Second, students with engineering focused plans have distinctive profiles compared with their peers; namely, they are more likely to major in civil/environmental engineering, report higher intrinsic motivation to study engineering, have higher levels of involvement in their coursework, and have lower levels of professional/interpersonal confidence. Third, one’s expected engineering salary modestly differentiates engineering focused students from non-engineering focused ones. Finally, institutional characteristics are associated with students’ engineering career plans, and socioeconomic background may influence plans through the types of institutions at which higher and lower SES students differentially enroll. Implications for educational research and practice are discussed.

Keywords:   engineering education, engineering student career plans, early career pathway, multi-level modeling, URM women, socioeconomic background, between-major differences, engineering labor market, institutional characteristics

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