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Engineering Majors Survey

Since 2012, the Designing Education Lab has been conducting a national, longitudinal study of how engineers make the transition from undergraduate to workplace environments, navigate the early career job market, and experience their first professional positions. At the heart of this study is the Engineering Majors Survey (EMS), a survey designed to explore engineering students’ technical, innovation, and entrepreneurial interests and experiences over time.

The longitudinal Engineering Majors Survey (EMS) project was funded under two successive grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF): National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) (DUE-1125457) (2011-2016) (Co-PIs Sheri Sheppard and Tom Byers, Stanford University) and Pathways from School to Work (PATHS): A Longitudinal Study of Undergraduate Engineering Students from College into the Workforce (1636442) (2016-2019) (PI Sheri Sheppard, Stanford University). The PATHS project has a 12-member Advisory Board composed of faculty, staff, and industry professionals with expertise in engineering workforce development.

EMS research team leads include PI Sheri Sheppard, Shannon Gilmartin, Helen Chen, and Mark Schar. Our research community members and PATHS Advisory Board members are listed below. Thematic findings from EMS and EMS-affiliated research as of September 2019 can be found HERE.


EMS Project Design and Research Community

Mary Alice Arnstein
Sara Atwood
Simon Barth
Max Beach
Eric Reynolds Brubaker
Tua Bjorklund
Emily Cao
Bethany Chaffin
Kai Jun Chew
Carolin Dungs
Michelle Grau
Angela Harris
Amy Huynh
Qu Jin
Matthias Klenk
Abisola Kusimo
Amber Levine
Sergio Licon
Sophia Pink
Gunther Rameseder
Katherine Reinders
Maximillian Reithmann
Beth Rieken
Lenard Rude
Bernhard Schadl
Christian Schnell
Patrick Simon
Adina Sterling
Tyler Su
Marissa Thompson
George Toye
Daniel Weiss
Johann Westarp
Chloe Wiggins
Vivian Xiao

PATHS Advisory Board

Richard Antoine, AOConsulting
anthony antonio, Stanford University
Mary Besterfield-Sacre, University of Pittsburgh
Samantha Brunhaver, Arizona State University
Andy Chan, Wake Forest University
Jennifer Sinclair Curtis, UC Davis
Nathalie Duval-Couetil, Purdue University
Nadya Fouad, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
Mitchell Nathan, University of Wisconsin Madison
Sarah Orwig, Ford Motor Company
Hal Salzman, Rutgers University
Adina Sterling, Stanford University

EMS Affiliates

Our Epicenter partners at Stanford University—Tom Byers, Tina Seelig
Our Epicenter partners at VentureWell – Phil Weilerstein
Our partners at the University Innovation Fellows program – Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, Humera Fasihuddin, Laurie Moore
Our external evaluators at SageFox Consulting – Alan Peterfreund, Emanuel Costache
Epicenter research advisors Mary Besterfield-Sacre, Samantha Brunhaver, Nathalie Duval-Couetil, and Sarah Zappe

EMS Research Questions

  • What are the school-to-work pathways for today's engineering students?
  • Which skills have they developed? How are they applying these skills?
  • What are their career interests and goals?
  • How do these interests and goals change over time?
  • Are they designing—and leading—technological and social innovations?
  • Which educational and workplace environments/experiences influence the development of their innovation and entrepreneurial interests, abilities, and achievements?
  • Which college experiences are associated with their confidence to innovate, their technical accomplishments, their creative breakthroughs?

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For the initial study (EMS 1.0), a 35-question survey was administered to over 30,000 engineering juniors and seniors across a nationally representative sample of 27 U.S. engineering schools in February-March 2015. Over 7,000 students responded, of whom approximately 6,100 self-identified as juniors or seniors. 

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News and Updates


  • September 2019: Our thematic findings as of the conclusion of the PATHS grant...

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