Skip to Main Content
This paper details how a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology identified and codified a set of goals for engineering education, which can serve as the basis for curricular improvement and outcome based assessment. The result of two years of scholarship, these goals are embodied in the CDIO Syllabus, A Statement of Goals for Undergraduate Engineering Education. The specific CDIO (conceive-design-implement-operate) Syllabus objective is to create rational, complete, universal and generalizable goals for undergraduate engineering education. The Syllabus focuses on personal, interpersonal and system building skills, and leaves a placeholder for the disciplinary fundamentals appropriate for any specific field of engineering. It complements and significantly expands on ABET's criteria. The process of adapting the Syllabus to a degree program includes a survey step to determine the desired level of proficiency in the designated skills that is, by consensus, expected of program's graduates. With rationale, detail and broad applicability, the CDIO Syllabus' principal value is that it can be generalized to serve as a model from which any university's engineering programs may derive specific learning outcomes. A work in progress, we encourage examination, comment and potential adoption. Widespread adoption of the Syllabus will facilitate sharing of the best curricular and pedagogic approaches, and it will promote the development of standardized assessment tools.