Institute to offer new dual degree program

In collaboration with the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Tech’s ECE department has created a unique program for students at both the Undergraduate and Graduate level to earn dual degrees from both institutions. The program, which is set to begin in Spring 2011, will allow Tech and KAIST students in their respective ECE departments to spend two years in the other university and receive two undergraduate degrees.

Dr. Sung Kyu Lim, professor in the ECE department and the Director of the program called it a, “more advanced form of two schools working together.” Students from Tech will attend their first year in Atlanta and complete their first-year courses, after which they will attend KAIST for two years. They will then return to Tech to finish their final year.

For master’s students, it will be a simple one-plus-one model, meaning that they will spend their first year at Tech and the final year at KAIST.

The reason for the undergraduate model is because Tech students are required to complete certain classes in Atlanta in order to satisfy ABET requirements. Students will be able to apply for the program while they are at Tech like they would for any other exchange program.

The program will work slightly differently for incoming KAIST students who would study for two years at KAIST before finishing their last two years at Tech.

The concept is similar to Tech students who study at community college before completing the remainder of their coursework in Atlanta.

The tuition structure is set up so that as long as there is an even number of students at both institutions, students will pay regular tuition to their respective schools. Housing and living costs will vary depending on the cost of living of the city.

“KAIST is the No. 1 university in Korea and is steadily rising in rankings in all of Asia. With tremendous growth in the Asian region, KAIST would be a great location to reach out to other Far East countries like Japan, China and Taiwan,” Kim said.

According to Kim, the of presence companies like Samsung, LG and major governmental research organizations close to KAIST will provide a simple and quick gateway to those opportunities.

Korea is ranked amongst the world’s top growing economies. Kim hopes that the experience will provide a great experience for Tech students to learn from the Korean industry, for example IT.

KAIST is located in Daejeon, Republic of Korea. All classes will be offered in English and will give students a great opportunity to learn about Korean culture.

“KAIST is a good location to reach other locations in east Asia…compared to other countries Korea is very wide open when it comes to working with other countries, especially on the educational side. They send a lot of students to the US, and in fact the largest number of [international] students area from Korea,” Kim said.

The process of creating the program began a little over two years. Kim said that it took him multiple meetings and going through different channels. This ranged from meetings with the ECE undergraduate and graduate committees to institute wide committees. There were also discussions with the Institute provost and the president. The discussions led to a trip up to Capitol Hill and a presentation with Dr. Peterson. At all stages, Kim presented the program and answered any questions and solved any issues administrators had.

Choosing Korea as a destination for such a program was also not accidental. Dr. Wayne Clough, former Institute President knew the President of KAIST well.

After a few initial talks and subsequent visits from the ECE chair and vice chair from KAIST, the ball was rolling. They found the right people, and under Dr. Kim’s guidance the program will see its first exchange student in the spring of 2011.