“FROM ELECTRICIAN TO MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING” EXPERIENCES TO IMPROVE EMPLOYABILITY AND INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIVE VIABILITY
The study program “From Electrician To Master of Science in Electrical Engineering” offers experts of their trade the chance to graduate as Master of Science in Electrical Engineering without taking a bachelor degree first.
Germany expects a shortage of skilled manpower in subsequent years due to demographic change. This specifically holds true for jobs in mathematics, informatics sciences and engineering. The higher education system of Germany meets the challenge for example by encouraging professionals to lifelong learning in higher education. This encourages transitions, interlocking and permeability of professional and academic education. The Hochschule Darmstadt - University of Applied Sciences - conducts the pilot project „Meister zum Master: M. Sc. Elektrotechnik“ i.e. “From Electrician to Master of Science in Electrical Engineering” since winter term 2011/2012. It grants thus access to postgraduate professional education to employed people.
According to §16 Higher Education Act, Federal State Hessen, Germany, universities are able to accept applicants for a course of study to take a master degree. These applicants, who have not yet taken a bachelor degree have to fulfil certain requirements in addition to having completed vocational training. It is possible to take a master degree in Electrical Engineering for professionals holding a degree by the Chamber of Crafts “Meister” and people with the professional qualification of an associate engineer. The pilot project „Meister zum Master: M. Sc. Elektrotechnik“ offers this possibility for the first time in Germany.
There are 46 students enrolled in March 2016 and 6 have so far successfully taken their master degree. We present experiences from the project and give an overview on the findings we established. Starting with an outline on basic legal conditions we elaborate on the didactical concept as well as on the selection process to be accepted for a degree course of study in the pilot project. We compare performance results of students holding a bachelor degree and of students not holding a bachelor degree. With a summary on the results of qualitative research carried out in the first graduating class we close our discussion.