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Virginia Tech forges dual graduate degree program with German university


BLACKSBURG, Va., April 25, 2006 – To help prepare engineering students to work successfully in a global economy, Virginia Tech and the Technische Universität (TU) Darmstadt in Germany have established a dual master’s degree program in mechanical engineering.

Students in this program will spend one year at each university, focusing primarily on course work at one school and on thesis research at the other. The program is symmetric, so the students can choose between a Virginia Tech-TU Darmstadt sequence or a TU Darmstadt-Virginia Tech sequence.

Upon completing the program, students will receive master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from both universities.

Admission into the program is competitive and each student must qualify for admission to the graduate schools of both universities. Because students will take courses at Virginia Tech and TU Darmstadt, they must be proficient in both English and German. An industry internship that includes performing research will also be required.

This program is the most recent collaboration in a partnership between the two universities that began in 2004. The goal is to foster collaborative research and an exchange of students and faculty between Virginia Tech and TU Darmstadt. Several undergraduate students at both schools have already taken advantage of the exchange program.

Jan Helge Bøhn, a professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech and director of the Computer Aided Design Laboratory, is the university’s primary liaison in its partnership with TU Darmstadt.

“The dual degree program will prepare students to become globally competitive and succeed in the new global economy,” Bøhn said. “U.S.-German multinational corporations have shown a strong interest in engineering students who are educated in both countries and who can work equally well with colleagues on either side of the Atlantic Ocean.”

Founded in 1936, TU Darmstadt is one of Germany’s most respected universities, offering programs in engineering, natural sciences, social sciences and humanities to 19,000 students. In 2003, the university's Mechanical and Processes Engineering program was recognized as the best program in its field in Germany.

The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college’s 5,500 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a “hands-on, minds-on” approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 1,800 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study such as biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology.