Shifting engineering education from disciplinary to transdisciplinary practice

Atila Ertas, Kellilynn M. Frias, Derrick Tate, Susan M. Back

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This paper examines current global challenges and the ways in which engineering education must adapt. In particular, the paper argues the need for a transdisciplinary approach to engineering education in which the methods, tools, concepts, and theories from multiple disciplines are integrated in a holistic manner to achieve a common understanding of complex issues, questions, or problems that incorporates both academic and non-academic knowledge. The paper contrasts interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches based on experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in the College of Engineering at Texas Tech University. Based on successes with the graduate transdisciplinary program and student feedback, an outline for extending transdisciplinary education to undergraduate engineering programs is proposed, and questions for further research are identified. Two survey results on transdisciplinary education are also reported in this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-105
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Engineering education
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Transdisciplinary


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