1. Why do we have to learn a bit of everything, instead of being given an option of specialising in a specific field? For example, instead of taking core modules for wastewater treatment, solid waste treatment, air pollution management and environmental microbiological principles, we could be given the option to choose 2 out of the 4 areas.
The mission of the Division of Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE) is to provide an interdisciplinary program that brings together the environmental sciences and fundamentals of engineering to produce graduates at all levels. (http://www.ese.nus.edu.sg/about_ese_mission.php)
Therefore, ESE emphasizes a multi-disciplinary approach to solving complex environmental problems. The overall objective of the program is to impart to students a sound scientific knowledge, combined with advanced engineering capabilities, so that they understand the local, regional and international environmental issues. (http://www.ese.nus.edu.sg/about_ese_overview.php)
1. Why are relevant modules such as energy, membrane, nanotechnology not offered as ESE core modules? If there were such module options, students could do something like the Year 2 structure, where they pick 3 out of 6 modules to read. Also, it would be good if a soil related module was included in the curriculum.
Currently, we have 6 ESE modules (compulsory), 4 Technical Electives (option to choose) and Final Year Project (FYP).
Each semester, the department offers a range of Technical Electives (http://www.ese.nus.edu.sg/pdf/Technical%20Electives_AY1011.pdf) for undergraduates to choose from. Technical Electives cover various many areas such as air, membranes, environmental pollution, water, solid waste and etc. However, we need to understand that the department is unable to offer all modules in one semester. Hence, only certain Technical Electives will be available in each semester.
Last semester, a new module, ESE4404 Bioenergy, was introduced due to the growing concerns of energy issues globally. Prof Bala mentioned during the dialogue session that 4 new ESE modules will be implemented. They are:
ESE 4406 Energy and Environment
ESE 4407 Environment Forensics
ESE 4408 Environment Impact Assessment
ESE 4409 Environment Applications of Adsorption
These modules will be implemented in AY2011/2012 except ESE 4408 which will be available to us in AY2010/2011 Semester 2.
2. There are various modules which are offered to us, such as CN2121, CE2155, EG1108 and Level 1000 Physics, which do not seem to have any relevance to our higher level modules. May I know the rationale behind these modules then? Regarding the additional Level 1000 Physics module that we are required to take, it could be made a core module if it is compulsory, or optional as a breadth module.
As mentioned, Environmental Science and Engineering is an interdisciplinary program. Certain modules are to broaden our knowledge, and allow us to acquire a multi-disciplinary way to solve environmental problems.
The department is constantly revising the curriculum, and they are seeking approval to make 3 changes to our curriculum.
- EG1108 to be replaced by ESE 1001 (a new module for students to get early exposure to environmental modules)
- CS1101C to be replaced by CE2409 Computer Applications in Civil Engineering
- Removal of ULR/Breadth requirement of Physics Level 1000 module.
Please note that these are still pending for approval. If they are approved, the current batches will not be affected. It only applies to the incoming batch of students.
3. Could the number of university requirement modules be reduced to accommodate more technical modules, which are more relevant for us? Also, the current recommended timetable only includes 6 ESE core modules, which seems insufficient. Could the schedule be revised to include more core modules then?
The programme structure for Engineering students is as follows:
University Level Requirements
Unrestricted Elective Modules
| || |
Total 160 MCs
The department can only change the programme requirements (Out of 120 MCs, 20 MCs are faculty requirement). However, the department needs to consider that certain foundation modules are relevant to our studies. Currently, we have 6 ESE Core, 4 Technical Electives, Design Project and Final Year Project, they should be sufficient for one to have a specialisation.
4. Is it possible to add at least 1 ESE module into the Year 1 Curriculum for more exposure to course content?
(Answered in question 2)
5. Are we able to specialise in any field since it seems we can focusing mainly on water treatment process?
Although many of the ESE modules are related to water treatment, we can still have a specialisation. Though it will not be stated on your degree, it can be reflected in your resume. The topics available for Final Year Project range from air, water and solid waste treatment. Within these main topics, we have subtopics relating to micro-organisms, renewable energy, membranes and many more. We have a choice in the area we want to specialise in. In addition, we have the option of choosing our Technical Electives to be related to the field we are interested in. Other than that, there are various Enhancement Programmes available such as UROP, IAP, VIP, IWP (http://www.eng.nus.edu.sg/undergrad/epmc/ep.html) for the students. These are ways through which students can acquire new knowledge.
Credibility and Quality of Program
1. How do our modules distinguish us from other Engineering courses, such as Chemical Engineering and Civil Engineering?
2. There had been comments from graduates that it is hard to be employed. In that case, is the current curriculum able to equip us well for the working environment to make us employable?
Both questions will be answered together.
The Engineering program in NUS adopts an interdisciplinary approach for all engineering students. While ESE students study CE modules and CN modules,
other engineering students also have modules relating to environmental issues since environmental impact is a cause for concern nowadays.
As ESE is a new degree, the industry might not know our course specialisations and the content of our curriculum. Hence, many of the companies often regard us as Safety Officer. It is our responsibility to tell the companies what environmental engineering is about, and what we can offer to them. Since ESE program is accredited by Engineering Accredited Board (EAB, http://www.ies.org.sg/eab.php), there is definitely a market for us.
According to Prof Bala, there is no degree that can guarantee that its graduates will be able to find jobs. It boils down to how we present ourselves, in resume and during interviews. We need to convince them that we can add value to the company, and the knowledge we have is our ‘selling point’.
The department is constantly in contact with related industry partners such as CH2M Hill, PUB, EAB to create awareness and job opportunities to the students. Industry players are invited to our annual symposium, and there are career fairs or talks held by the department and faculty.
On going, ESESC (Environmental Science and Engineering Students’ Club) does publicize and even take part in academic-related events like Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW), Singapore International Water Week (SIWW), and the recent Balik Kampung. These are avenues for students to get contacts, have knowledge about the market and companies and opportunities to introduce yourself and our course to those related industry players.
1. There could be more interaction with professors to find out more about their views on environmental issues.
Throughout the year, ESE department creates opportunities for interaction by organising dialogue sessions for each cohort and mentor-mentee dialogue sessions. Even during lectures, students can always initiate a discussion with the lecturer whom I believe will be delighted to share his/her opinions. If time is limited during lectures, we can always send an email to the professors to have a time for discussion. Opportunities are there, so we need to be more proactive.