PDP Executive Director Keith Alexander with PDP students.
This fall, 30 students will start CBE’s Product Development Program, the largest class in the eight-year history of the program.
“The number of applications to the program has grown each year since its inception in 2006,” says Keith Alexander, Assistant Dean of Professional Education and the Executive Director of the Product Development Program. “Growth has been largely due to our website and strong word-of-mouth from former students and industry supporters. Our new class had drawn students from the United States, Asia and Europe. Of the 30 students, 13 are women.”
The PDP Master’s degree fills a largely underserved niche in the graduate-level education market for chemical engineers and related disciplines. Most traditional university- based product development programs are focused on the creation of physical, discrete engineered products like automobiles and consumer electronics. The PDP Master’s degree focuses on innovation around products and industries that rely on a robust level of knowledge of the chemical sciences.
According to Alexander, “A company in a product-based industry may be viewed as having a process side and a product side. Engineers often start and end their careers on the process side. The PDP provides its graduates with the option of making a more direct career transition to the product side.”
In the space of one academic calendar year (9 months), PDP graduates will gain exposure to real-world product development practices in a range of chemical process-intensive industries including biotechnology, micro-electronics, nanoscience and consumer products.
“Through industry involvement in our classrooms, special industry and company events on campus, and our field project program, PDP students have ample opportunity to meet and work with prospective employers prior to graduation,” Alexander continues. “Best of all, 90 percent of PDP students have jobs within six months of graduation.”