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Univ. of Pittsburgh and Sichuan University to establish joint engineering institute

The University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) and Sichuan University in China will establish a joint engineering program to educate undergraduate students and foster collaborative research. The Sichuan University Pittsburgh Institute, as it will be named, expects to enroll its first class in the fall of 2014.

Pitt is one of only five US universities to have entered into a large-scale partnership agreement with a Chinese university; the others are Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University, New York University, and the University of Michigan.

Sichuan University is the premier university in western China, located in Chengdu within Sichuan Province, and it is consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in China. Sichuan University will initially invest nearly $40 million to support the construction and equipping of a new 100,000-square-foot building to house the institute on its campus.

With emphases on advanced sustainable manufacturing and educational innovation, the institute will initially offer three undergraduate degree programs: industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, and materials science and engineering. Students in the institute will be recruited from the United States, China, and possibly other countries, with the first class in fall 2014 expected to comprise 100 students. Within seven years, enrollment is projected to grow to a final total of 1,600.

Students will spend the first two years of the program immersed in the Pitt curriculum in China with the option of transferring to Pitt’s main campus during their third year in the program. Students who transfer to Pitt directly after their sophomore year will earn a bachelor’s degree from both Sichuan University and Pitt, and all students will receive an institute certificate upon completion of their studies. Qualified students will also be able to continue their graduate studies at Pitt.

Faculty from around the world will be recruited to teach at the institute, with 20 in 2014 and an expected total of 80 by 2018. All Pitt-curriculum-based courses will be taught in the English language. Sichuan University will cover not only the institute’s operating costs, but also faculty start-up funds.

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