Industrial engineering receives first study abroad incentive award

March 25, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue's School of Industrial Engineering has received the first incentive award to support the design and launch of its new program in China that will help the university meet its goal of encouraging more students to study abroad.

The Study Abroad Incentive Award was announced this fall in support of Purdue Moves' aspirational goal to nearly double the number of students studying abroad by offering scholarships to make such opportunities as close to cost neutral as possible.

"One of the greatest barriers students face regarding study abroad is concern that studying off campus for a semester or year would disrupt their plan of study," said Brian Harley, associate dean of international programs and director of Programs for Study Abroad. "This $10,000 incentive is available to Purdue departments who promote semester or academic year study abroad programs by proactively ensuring years in advance that credit earned abroad will count toward a student's plan of study."

Next spring, industrial engineering students who are juniors will be able to participate in the new semester exchanges at Tsinghua University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. There is no language requirement, and students can enroll in engineering and other beneficial courses that fit their plans of study.

Research shows that optimal international knowledge and intercultural competency gains are made by students who spend 13-18 weeks studying abroad. That is why Purdue wants to increase the participation in semester- and year-long programs, Harley said.

"Our long-term goal is to enable every industrial engineering student to participate in at least one international experience before graduation," said Abhijit Deshmukh, the James J. Solberg Head and Professor of Industrial Engineering. "The International Programs office was a great resource throughout the process, giving us the opportunity to focus on the curriculum compatibility with the international partners."

Based on the success of establishing the programs in China, industrial engineering is pursuing new programs in Colombia.

"Some students are concerned that study abroad will interrupt their path to graduation, so we're educating students that is not the case and assisting them with finding the options that work best for their academic interests," said Patrick Brunese, senior academic administrator in industrial engineering. "Thanks to the teamwork between the International Programs office and our school, we now have two seamless overseas semester options for our students. We hope to announce the Colombia options very soon as well."

Undergraduate students interested in any approved study abroad programs can apply for a scholarship through the Office of Programs for Study Abroad. Students interested in semester or longer programs can qualify once for up to $3,000, and students interested in shorter durations can qualify once for up to $1,000 to $2,000, depending on the duration. More information about program options is available through the Office of Programs for Study Abroad at

During last week's spring break, 339 Purdue undergraduate students studied abroad, which is more than the 219 who participated in 2013. This spring semester is the first time the scholarships were applicable, and 528 students were awarded them for spring break and the spring semester programs.

Purdue Moves is a series of initiatives designed to broaden Purdue's global impact and enhance educational opportunities for its students. All of the moves fall into four broad categories: science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) leadership; world-changing research; transformative education; and affordability and accessibility. Additional information about Purdue Moves is available online at 

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, 

Sources: Brian Harley, (765) 494-8733, 

Abhijit Deshmukh, 

Patrick Brunese, 

Mike Brzezinski, 765-494-9399,

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