North-West University, Faculty of Engineering, South AfricaBy Asian Correspondent Aug 02, 2012 11:18PM UTC
One of South Africa’s leading centers of higher learning, North-West University is also a key player in Africa at large. With greater numbers of Asian students looking for educational opportunities in emerging markets, universities like NWU are stepping into the spotlight.
In developing nations, the push for development and infrastructure is creating job opportunities for engineers and advanced technical specialists. With that in mind, many of the prospective students that consider North-West University are particularly interested in earning engineering credentials that are recognized around the world.
Degrees at NWU are recognized in Australia, Canada and the United States. From an Asian student’s perspective, this presents a unique opportunity to become acquainted with the developing economies of Africa while earning a degree that holds international clout. Degree in hand, they’re prepared to launch continent-spanning, 21st-century careers.
The Faculty of Engineering is located on North-West University’s Potchefstroom Campus, where an even mix of education and research are carried out. A drive to stand among the preeminent engineering schools of Africa compels the faculty and shapes the curriculum, and students receive a great deal of one-on-one attention and mentoring as a result.
The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities lists North-West in the top 20 universities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Continent-wide, it ranks among the top 25, while standing among the top 10 percentile worldwide. With these rankings in mind, North-West is a top choice for Asian students looking to make in-roads into Africa while earning a degree at an internationally recognized school.
The university offers bachelors of engineering (B. Eng.), master’s and doctorate programs, all of which operate in compliance with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). South Africa has been a signatory of the Washington Accord since 2000, which means ECSA-accredited degrees from NWU issued after 2000 are recognized across much of the world. Original signatories to the Washington Accord include Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and US. In addition to South Africa, more recent additions to the accord include Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. A degree from NWU enjoys broad recognition in both hemispheres.
The university’s undergraduate and graduate offerings break down in the following ways:
It takes at least four and no more than six years to earn a bachelor’s degree at North-West, depending on the student’s course load. Even a six-year track is considered full-time, as the university does not make any allowances for part-time study.
Bachelor’s degrees are available in Chemical Engineering, with the possibility of specializing in minerals processing; Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, with dual Electrical Electronic and Computer Electronic tracks; and Mechanical Engineering, which can be combined with Nuclear Engineering coursework if desired.
All of the Faculty of Engineering’s courses are organized under three separate schools: the School of Chemical and Minerals Engineering; the School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering; and the School of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. All of the postgraduate programs are, in turn, organized under these schools.
North-West University also operates two Centres for Research and Continued Engineering Development (CRCED). These are operated through the two other North-West campuses, and they exist to provide post-graduate study opportunities for engineering professionals who work full time. The CRCED Pretoria facility focuses on energy management and bio-engineering fields, while CRCED Vaal performs research in the chemical sector. Both of these centers provide potential outlets for Asian professionals already working in South Africa to further their credentials and earn an internationally recognized master’s degree or Ph.D.
Engineers outside the classroom
There are several ways for engineering students to get involved outside the classroom at North-West University. Many of these are sponsored by the Faculty of Engineering and provide resume-boosting experience.
The Engineering Holiday Schools are hosted during the university’s April and July recesses and target high school students with an interest in engineering. These offer university students the opportunity to engage the local community and share their passion for engineering with the next crop of prospective students.
Seth Academy is another extracurricular program on offer. It’s a joint operation between North-West and the National Department of Education. Seth Academy goes into secondary schools in the area, where students are specially selected according their merits to join advanced learning initiatives. Participants from the university learn valuable educational concepts, and the secondary students they work with benefit from highly enriched curriculum.
Initiatives like this thrust international students into prime position to gain career experience, such they are well ahead of their peers upon graduation. And for Asian students who are intentionally piecing together a network in South Africa that they can leverage to the benefit of their post-university careers, involvement in programs like this present ideal opportunities to meet important players off campus and in professional circles.
Learn more about North-West University and connect with them on their Facebook page.