Photo courtesy UTEP
The University of Texas System Board of Regents Thursday approved two new degree proposals by The University of Texas at El Paso to establish a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering and a Doctor of Occupational Therapy.
“We are excited to provide students with more options to pursue careers in engineering and healthcare,” said UTEP President Heather Wilson.
“The new Bachelor of Science in Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering will expose students to emerging specialized jobs expected to be in high demand over the next decade. The Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree will help provide much-needed healthcare professionals with the bilingual skills and cultural sensitivity to practice professionally in the U.S.-Mexico border region.”
The Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering degree is designed to prepare students for careers in aerospace, aeronautical and defense systems engineering and related disciplines. The program will have a unique set of focuses including defense, small satellite, propulsion systems, exploration vehicles, autonomous systems and hypersonics.
The Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree will build on UTEP’s existing Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) degree and is expected to be the required degree program to enter the occupational therapy profession in the coming years. The new program will prepare service professionals to improve quality of life and reduce health disparities in the El Paso region.
The aerospace and aeronautical engineering program’s curriculum will be offered through UTEP’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, further solidifying the department’s strong emphasis in that field.
University officials say typically, 30% to 40% of UTEP mechanical engineering graduates are placed in the aerospace industry.
The proposed degree will consist of an initial two years of study identical to the current B.S. in Mechanical Engineering degree program, plus offer experiences in aerodynamics, propulsion, aerostructures, aerospace dynamics and controls, and aerospace systems engineering.
The Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree will be the third doctoral degree offered through UTEP’s College of Health Sciences. The program will include courses in foundational and clinical sciences, general occupational therapy evaluation, treatment and evidence-based practices, as well as research and occupation-based practices that incorporate cultural and contextual relevance.
UTEP’s OTD program will be the only one in The University of Texas System that will require students to complete two courses in conversational Spanish skills. These courses are directly related to the needs of the community served in El Paso County and the surrounding areas where Spanish is often the primary language.
The new degree programs will require Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approval before they are implemented.
UTEP currently offers a total of 73 bachelor’s, 71 master’s and 22 doctoral degrees.
The Regents approved the degrees during their board meeting May 6, 2021.