Computational methods have gained importance and popularity in both academic research and industrial applications in recent years. Since 2014, our team has consistently worked on reforming our Materials Science and Engineering curriculum at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign by incorporating computational modules into all mandatory undergraduate courses. Here, we investigate the impact and effectiveness of these computational modules in light of our recent graduates' feedback. We surveyed alumni who graduated between 2017-2021 and asked them about the benefits of the computational curriculum and the significance of computation for their career. “data analysis” was reported to be the most significant computational practice, followed by “programming” and “simulation tools”. Python is the most prevalent programming language, and half of the respondents have reported to use it for their work. Particle based simulation tools are rarely used by our alumni, whereas continuum methods are more relevant, especially for alumni in industry. Graduates who pursued Ph.D. or Master's degrees benefited more from the existence of computational modules and would also benefit the most from qualitative improvements of the modules. Alumni have reported limited benefits of computational modules during their job search, but note a slightly positive impact on their job performance. Overall, our Alumni think that the current amount of computational material in the curriculum is ideal, but further analysis indicates there is still room for qualitative improvements. We find the perspective provided by alumni to be a valuable tool to evaluate the computational reform of the MatSE curriculum at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and it is a useful guide on how to reshape and improve its effectiveness further.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 25 2023
Event2023 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - The Harbor of Engineering: Education for 130 Years, ASEE 2023 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2023Jun 28 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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