Mapping current curricular changes in European engineering education

S. C. Brink, F. Georgsson*, G. Thomson, M. S.A. de Hei, E. Sjoer, W. F. Admiraal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


In Europe, there is a wide variety of curriculum designs in higher engineering education. Several international networks serve the goal of supporting the inherent need of higher education institutions to continuously improve their programmes, without per se offering a formal accreditation standard. In this paper, two such networks are considered: CDIO and SEFI. The curricular landscape across Europe and across the different engineering disciplines is mapped by means of a survey amongst the members of CDIO and SEFI. The results amongst 82 respondents show that the prevailing curriculum structure defined by focus, set-up and design is a fixed curriculum with flexible elements, focused on theory with skills woven in, and with a subject-centred curriculum, followed by another big group having a flexible curriculum with fixed elements, competency-based, and focusing on skills with theory woven in. Configurations vary based on region, engineering discipline and network membership. Curricular changes in the past three years and coming two years focus mostly on assessment and examination, as well as pedagogics, interpersonal skills and curriculum flexibility. Certain engineering disciplines are more prone to curriculum change than others, such as Design Engineering and Information Engineering. Electric engineering currently shows significantly less curriculum change. When changing the curriculum design, learning goals, learning activities and learning vision are typically seen as a priority in engineering education. The most perceived barriers in the curriculum change process are staff competency and engagement for those about to make changes, and development time and costs for those having made recent changes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSEFI 47th Annual Conference
Subtitle of host publicationVarietas Delectat... Complexity is the New Normality, Proceedings
EditorsBalazs Vince Nagy, Mike Murphy, Hannu-Matti Jarvinen, Aniko Kalman
PublisherSociété Eropéenne pour la Formation des Ingénieurs
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9782873520182
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Event47th SEFI Annual Conference 2019 - Varietas Delectat: Complexity is the New Normality - Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 16 Sep 201919 Sep 2019


Conference47th SEFI Annual Conference 2019 - Varietas Delectat: Complexity is the New Normality


  • Continuous improvement
  • Curriculum change
  • Curriculum design
  • Future proof education


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