Saluting our Schools

FIU is the gateway to Latin AmericaThe College of Engineering and Computing is ranked number one for awarding engineering degrees to Hispanics. The one-year professional MSEM makes you an “engineer plus”It’s not surprising that Florida International University (FIU, Miami, FL), the state’s first and only four-year public research university, has a major influence on the South Florida community. More than 60 percent of its 46,000 students are Hispanic, and Diverse: Issues in Higher Educationranks it at or close to the top in the nation in undergraduate and masters engineering degrees awarded to Hispanics.Its reach goes beyond Florida, across the Caribbean and into Latin America. A construction management program will soon be available in the Dominican Republic and Panama.”We are the gateway to Latin America,” says Amir Mirmiran, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. “Many Latin American students feel like Miami is home to them, and we treat them like they are at home.”

That welcome includes scholarship programs that allow some students from Latin American countries to qualify for in-state tuition. Connections with corporations and individuals in Latin America help graduates when they return to their home countries.

Diversity at FIU includes 13 percent African American students. “One of the advantages of being in Miami is the diverse community we serve,” says Mirmiran.

FIU offers graduate degree programs in eight engineering disciplines: biomedical, civil and environmental, electrical and computer, and mechanical and materials engineering; computer science and information technology; construction management; engineering management; and telecommunications and networking.

Grads advance careers with professional MSEM
To meet the needs of its students, the College of Engineering and Computing now offers a one-year professional masters in engineering management (MSEM). Students can earn the degree by enrolling in traditional daytime classes at the North Miami campus or during a weekend program for working professionals at the Pine Center campus in Pembroke Pines in Broward County. The program is also offered in Jamaica, on the campus of University College of the Caribbean (Kingston, Jamaica). In the planning stages is a weekday evening option at a downtown Miami location for fulltime workers.

Engineers often advance in management by excelling in their technical areas, learning management skills on the job. “Wouldn’t it be nice if the engineers we graduate also knew something about leadership and marketing!” Mirmiran exclaims.

The MSEM’s ten courses include three in engineering management, two in business and one in law. “The degree doesn’t make you a businessperson or a lawyer, but understanding a ledger sheet and the budgeting process is important to improving any organization,” Mirmiran notes. “People in management positions need to understand issues related to the laws for human resources, small businesses, corporations and patents well enough to ask questions of lawyers.”

MSEM is not just for engineers
The program gives engineers who want to move up in management an overview of management and staffing, and the skills to use available management tools. It’s not just for engineers, though. It’s also useful for people who work with engineers.

“It helps them understand what an engineer thinks,” Mirmiran says. “For those who come from the science side, it can enable them to be more effective in engineering organizations.” And the degree can help executives apply management skills to other fields, like banking, tourism, hospitality or shipping.

“It’s a way to train engineers not only to manage projects but also processes and organizations,” he explains. “Skill sets for the MBA are generic. The MSEM is a more specific approach.”

MSEM grad has her say
Two people in Mirmiran’s office have gone through the program, including his assistant Elizabeth Naranjo. She earned her BA in business management from the University of Phoenix after two years at a community college. She was in the program’s first class.

“In a competitive job market, I wanted to have something different to offer,” says Naranjo. “Everyone is going for an MBA. Engineering management is more specialized.”

The Saturday program worked with her schedule as a mother of three kids. She qualified for a $10,000 scholarship, reducing the $35,000 cost. Mirmiran encourages companies to share the cost with their employees.

“This degree makes you a more holistic and well-rounded engineer,” Mirmiran says. “With the MSEM, you are an engineer plus.”


College of Engineering and Computing

Main campus: Miami, FL
Engineering enrollment: 3,500 (2,800 undergrad and 700 graduate)
Graduate & UG tech degrees offered: BS, MS, PhD in biomedical, civil and environmental, electrical and computer, mechanical and materials engineering, computer science and information technology, construction management, engineering management, telecommunications and networking
Ways to matriculate: Full time on campus; many courses and some MS degrees offered on line

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