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Mindsets and Skillsets

Within each engineering course, you’ll find focused, dedicated opportunities to build your professional capacity across four critical mindsets and skillsets. These focus areas are designed to prepare you to be an engineer of the future: one who can operate efficiently, work collaboratively, and navigate the growing complexities and interconnected nature of modern problems.

Making Skills

Whether you’re taking a lab course or more traditional lecture, you’ll have opportunities for hands-on makerspace activities in each class. These experiences are created via Carolina’s campuswide network of BeAM makerspaces, which are operated by the applied physical sciences department. Sometimes a makerspace will host your class for a special session or training on a focused topic. Or your coursework or projects may lead you to an open studio or workshop, where you can use emerging technologies like 3D printers or hone your skills in disciplines such as electronics, metalworking, woodworking or laser cutting. Because Carolina’s makerspaces are open to students across campus, you’ll broaden your academic horizons by connecting and collaborating with those who are studying in other STEM and liberal arts fields beyond engineering.

Closeup of project in Makerspace


Computational Skills

Data is the common language that all modern professionals are expected to speak. That’s particularly true for engineers and others who work in scientific and technology-driven fields. Whether it’s basic programming, data analysis, or reporting, your ability to work with data to help make decisions is a skill that employers will need you to demonstrate. By being introduced to these skills and having opportunities to practice them in your engineering courses, you’ll already be equipped with basic data-driven knowledge that will help you be more productive in your job and amplify your engineering abilities—while boosting your value to potential employers.


Entrepreneurial Mindset

Your coursework will continuously present you with opportunities to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. This doesn’t mean that you’ll focus on how to launch a startup company (although what you learn would be immensely valuable if you ever decide to). Instead, you’ll learn to adopt a broad set of professional skills that successful engineers bring to their work—whether creating new ventures or working as “intrapreneurs” who infuse ingenuity into larger organizations. Through a combination of individual and team-focused assignments and activities, you’ll learn to practice resiliency, adaptability, intelligent risk taking, iterative thinking, resourcefulness, and other entrepreneurial traits that will prove valuable to any engineering problem you encounter. UNC-Chapel Hill is a partner in KEEN, a network of more than 60 institutions committed to promoting an entrepreneurial mindset in their engineering students, and KEEN @ UNC describes our activities that promote an entrepreneurial mindset.

Closeup of project in Makerspace


Ethics and character-driven mindset

The world of engineering will present you with complicated issues. Not every scenario you encounter will have clear-cut answers, and you’ll be called on to discern the best decisions. Within each course, you’ll find content or case studies that will give you experience asking questions like: What are the trade-offs between choosing this material over that material? Why did a similar scenario fail or lead to unintended consequences in the past? What environmental impacts are involved? What effects might this have on health or safety?